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Root Letter | 2022 | NR | – 5.5.9

content-ratingsWhy is “Root Letter” rated NR? The MPAA has not rated this film. The Kids-In-Mind.com evaluation includes a couple of implied sex scenes, a few kissing scenes, a near rape, a struggle leaving one person dead, a couple of fights with bloody results, several arguments, threats with a gun, drug use and addiction, and nearly 50 F-words and other strong language. Read our parents’ guide below for details on sexual content, violence & strong language.


Based on a the eponymous video game: A teen boy (Danny Ramirez) is determined to find out what happened to a teen girl (Keana Marie), with whom he was corresponding through a pen pal assignment in their respective high schools. Also with Lydia Hearst, Mark St. Cyr, Sam A Coleman, Breon Pugh, Kate Edmonds, Terry J. Nelson, Dodie Brown and Jonetta Kaiser. Directed by Sonja O’Hara. A few lines of dialogue are spoken in Spanish and translated. [Running Time: 1:27]

Root Letter SEX/NUDITY 5

 – A young man and a young woman kiss, they leave and we see them in a car having sex as he thrusts from behind her (her bare shoulders are seen and we hear moaning and very briefly see rhythmic movement). A teen girl stumbles (she seems very drunk) up a flight of stairs and into a bathroom, and someone follows her into the bathroom and grabs her from behind, pressing her against a sink and seemingly trying to rape her; the teen pushes her way out of the room and runs outside (please see the Violence/Gore category for more details). A teen boy and a teen girl are seen kissing and sex is implied; we see her bare shoulders and his bare upper chest and shoulders (please see the Violence/Gore category for more details). A partially clothed woman (we see cleavage, bare abdomen, and legs to the upper thighs), injects herself in the arm and falls back on a bed (we see a shirtless man lying on the bed next to her with his bare chest and abdomen visible and sex is implied).
 A teen boy and a teen girl kiss in a car. Two fully clothed teen girls lie in a bed holding each other for comfort.
 A nude woman sits in a bathtub (nearly unconscious) and her hair covers her bare breasts (we see her partial bare shoulders and legs). Two teen girls wearing swimsuits lie in a kiddie pool (we see cleavage, bare abdomens and legs to the hips).

Root Letter VIOLENCE/GORE 5

 – Teen boys break into a house to steal drugs, we hear a gunshot and one of the teens falls to the floor. Two teens struggle to reach a gun on a table and one is shot (blood splatters on the other’s face and shirt). A teen girl opens the door of a house and two teen boys and a teen girl enter and one boy steals drugs from a medicine cabinet; the owner of the house confronts the teens, and one teen boy struggles with the man briefly before the man falls down the stairs and lies motionless (presumably dead).
 A man punches a teen boy and kicks him while he is on the ground (we see blood on his head and face). A man punches a teen boy in the face and the teen falls to the ground. A young man and a young woman are seen kissing as we hear a man’s voice saying, “Get off my daughter”; we then hear the young man and the young woman pleading, we hear a slap as the scene ends, and we see the young man in a hospital with a bloody bandage around his head and eye and a bruise on his cheek. A teen girl stumbles (she seems very drunk) up a flight of stairs and into a bathroom, and someone follows her into the bathroom and grabs her from behind, pressing her against a sink and seemingly trying to rape her; the teen pushes her way out of the room and runs outside (it is implied that she passes out) and wakes up in a bed that she does not recognize, surrounded by stuffed animals. A teen boy is struck in the head with a gun and is knocked out. A woman yells at her teen daughter and slaps her in the face.
 A teen boy grabs a teen girl by the arm and threatens her. A man grabs a teen boy by the throat and threatens him. A young man searches an abandoned house and someone comes in, but then runs away. A teen boy yells and tips over a bed and throws things in a room. A man with a gun threatens a teen boy.
 A teen girl steals prescription drugs from a woman’s medicine cabinet. A teen boy finds a handgun in a closet and steals it. A man cleans a handgun and we later see several guns laid out on a bed. A woman is shown having physical therapy for a back issue. A teen boy takes a vial of pills from a hiding place in a house and when a man discovers that they are gone, he becomes enraged. Several scenes show people after a period of time and their circumstances have worsened; they seem unkempt and possibly strung out on drugs.
 A man describes a young man being shot through the chest. Two teen boys argue about selling prescription drugs that they stole from someone. A teen girl writes, “I killed him,” in a letter. A man yells at a teen boy and says, “Your momma abandoned you.” A man talks about his daughter leaving the house one day and disappearing. We hear new reports of two people being found dead. A woman talks about being on probation. A woman talks about having pain after an accident.
 A piece of raw chicken is shown on a counter. A clump of a woman’s hair is shown wrapped around a bar of soap in a bathtub.

Root Letter LANGUAGE 9

 – About 49 F-words, 8 scatological terms, 2 anatomical terms, 3 mild obscenities, name-calling (metal head, noise, freak, vampiric, weird, dude, dumb broads), 2 religious profanities (GD), 2 religious exclamations (e.g. Jesus Christ, Christ). | profanity glossary |

Root Letter SUBSTANCE USE

 – A woman is shown taking prescription pain medication in several scenes, a woman is shown injecting herself with something in several scenes and we see dark bruises on her arms and her teeth become stained, a woman receives a prescription of oxycodone for back pain, teens at a party take unidentified pills, and white powder is seen sprinkled on a counter. Teen boys and girls drink at a party causing some obvious drunkenness. Cigarette butts are shown in an ashtray, a woman smokes cigarettes in several scenes, a woman falls asleep with a lit cigarette touching a sofa cushion (nothing happens), and a man smokes cigarettes in a few scenes.

Root Letter DISCUSSION TOPICS

 – Control, addiction, feeling trapped, disappearance of a child, murder, squatting, manipulation, drug dealing, feeling as if you don’t belong, infidelity, friendship, betrayal.

Root Letter MESSAGE

 – It’s sometimes hard to know what is the right thing when faced with desperate circumstances.

CAVEATS

Be aware that while we do our best to avoid spoilers it is impossible to disguise all details and some may reveal crucial plot elements.

We've gone through several editorial changes since we started covering films in 1992 and older reviews are not as complete & accurate as recent ones; we plan to revisit and correct older reviews as resources and time permits.

Our ratings and reviews are based on the theatrically-released versions of films; on video there are often Unrated, Special, Director's Cut or Extended versions, (usually accurately labelled but sometimes mislabeled) released that contain additional content, which we did not review.


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