Prayer Focus
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MOVIE REVIEW

Proud Mary

MPAA Rating: R-Rating (MPAA) for violence.

Reviewed by: Francisco Gomez Jr.
CONTRIBUTOR

Very Offensive
Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Adults
Genre:
Action Crime Drama
Length:
1 hr. 29 min.
Year of Release:
2018
USA Release:
January 12, 2018 (wide—2,200+ theaters)
Copyright, Screen Gems, a division of Columbia TriStar Motion Picture Group, owned by Sony Pictures Entertainment click photos to ENLARGE Copyright, Screen Gems, a division of Columbia TriStar Motion Picture Group, owned by Sony Pictures Entertainment Copyright, Screen Gems, a division of Columbia TriStar Motion Picture Group, owned by Sony Pictures Entertainment
Relevant Issues
Copyright, Screen Gems, a division of Columbia TriStar Motion Picture Group, owned by Sony Pictures Entertainment

Becoming an orphan when young

What does the Bible say about ORPHANS and how they should be treated? Answer

Copyright, Screen Gems, a division of Columbia TriStar Motion Picture Group, owned by Sony Pictures Entertainment

The importance of COMPASSION

Abusive fathers

The longterm effects of abuse

What is SIN AND WICKEDNESS? Is it just “bad people” that are sinners, or are YOU a sinner? Answer

Do Not Enter

The fall of man to sin

Copyright, Screen Gems, a division of Columbia TriStar Motion Picture Group, owned by Sony Pictures Entertainment

FILM VIOLENCE—How does viewing violence in movies affect families? Answer

Murder in the Bible

The seriousness of death—and its origin

Copyright, Screen Gems, a division of Columbia TriStar Motion Picture Group, owned by Sony Pictures Entertainment

Feeling guilt and responsibility for past actions

GUILT—How can I be and feel forgiven? Answer

FORGIVEN?—If God forgives me every time I ask, why do I still feel so guilty? Answer

Copyright, Screen Gems, a division of Columbia TriStar Motion Picture Group, owned by Sony Pictures Entertainment
Issue of pain and suffering

Why does God allow innocent people to suffer? Answer

What about the issue of suffering? Doesn’t this prove that there is no God and that we are on our own? Answer

Does God feel our pain? Answer

ORIGIN OF BAD—How did bad things come about? Answer

Did God make the world the way it is now? What kind of world would you create? Answer


About despair, fear and hope

Click here to watch THE HOPE on-line!
Discover God’s promise for all people—told beautifully and clearly from the beginning. Discover The HOPE! Watch it on Christian Answers—full-length motion picture.
Featuring: Taraji P. HensonMary
Billy Brown … Tom
Jahi Di'Allo Winston … Danny—12-year old boy
Neal McDonoughWalter
Danny GloverBenny
Margaret Avery … Mina
Xander Berkeley … Uncle
Rade Serbedzija … Luka
Erik LaRay Harvey … Reggie
Adobuere Ebiama … Woman
Owen Burke … Jerome
See all »
Director: Babak Najafi—“London Has Fallen” (2016)
Producer: Paul Schiff
Andrea Ajemian
Taraji P. Henson
See all »
Distributor: Screen Gems
Screen Gems, a division of Columbia TriStar Motion Picture Group, owned by Sony Pictures Entertainment

Babak Najafi directs “Proud Mary,” featuring Taraji P. Henson (Mary) and Jahi Di’Allo Winston (Danny—a 12-year old boy). The story follows Mary, a hit woman, as she kills an important drug lord in defense of Danny. The gangs are thrust into turmoil as a gang war ensues. Mary has to deal with the situation while protecting Danny. This is as best as I can describe the plot. It is not easy. This is the film’s first problem.

The plot manages to be immensely convoluted while feeling emotionally hollow. This is problematic as the maternal relationship is central to the movie. However, I never felt as if any of the characters really care.

The move is only an hour and thirty minutes, but it feels a lot longer. This does not have to do with Henson’s and Winston’s performances, but rather the film’s inability to construct a relational scene. Viewers are not allowed to focus on the solid acting. The film struggles even with simple dialog. Cutting from close up to close up each time someone speaks. A scene in which Danny makes his bed and Mary applies cosmetics is intercut for no particular reason. This scene summarizes the filmmaking technique, as it unnecessarily jumps from storylines, shots, and locations in a jarring manner.

Dan Laustsen’s cinematography is beautiful—oozing with urban lighting and atmosphere. It must be commended, but poor editing undermines his work. The film’s technical aspects and incongruence is frustrating, as it sabotages an otherwise well intended message of compassion and love. It further undermines itself by glorifying violence in order to make Mary a femme fatale.

FILM VIOLENCE—How does viewing violence in movies affect families? Answer

Relevant Issues

Mary and Danny are both orphans. Mentally and physically hurt by abusive fathers, they stumble upon a life of crime that neither of them wanted. It is unfortunate that this happens all too often in real life. In my ministry, I have seen the brokenness that results in growing up in such an environment—an environment that squeezes the joy and life out of individuals stuck in an unending cycle of reciprocating violence. It is not glorious as sometimes portrayed in “Proud Mary.” It is a life full of literal and spiritual chains.

What does the Bible say about ORPHANS and how they should be treated? Answer

What is Christian LOVE? Answer

As Christians, we may ignore or be uninvolved with those in prisons or struggling with a life of crime. Jesus Christ did not want us in the comfort of our safe congregations, he wanted us out there—in the world.

“I am not praying that You take them out of the world but that You protect them from the evil one.” —John 17:15

Share your faith
Learn how to be more effective in evangelism
Stumped about how to share your faith in Christ with others? Our EffectiveEvangelism.com site assists Christians in effectively reaching out to others with love and truth. Learn about the worldview of the people you meet, ways to share the gospel, read stories submitted by site users, and more.

We must do our best to reach people of all walks of life and show them the way. Maybe some are wondering what is the way.

Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. —John 14:6

Jesus is the way. For those with wounds from troubled homes, Christ wants you to come to Him.

Come to Me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” —Matthew 11:28

He offers a new walk of life. He offers hope. He offers rest. Give your worries, sins, and chains to Him, and He will set you free.

Content of Concern

Violence: This is a R-rated action film. Violence is center stage. The violence is abundant, frequent, and always bloody. There are too many acts to mention explicitly, but the following are the most concerning scenes. Two men are shot in the head on separate occasions—in frame. A man is interrogated while strapped to a chair with a plastic bag over his head. The man is tortured with a nail gun that punctures his hands and feet. He screams in pain. Mary runs over two men with her car. Mary infiltrates a house in which she shoots several men. Danny is slapped unto the floor and walks away visibly hurt. Danny attempts to shoot a man. Danny removes his shirt and there are visible wounds. A wounded Mary cleans her bloody injury in frame. A character is murdered and his bloodied body is in frame for a long period of time. The rest of the violence consists of Mary shooting different people with handguns.

Profanity/Vulgar Language: Disturbingly, a large amount of the bad words come from the young boy Danny. This is referenced various times throughout the film as Danny is told to “watch his mouth.” “G*d-d*mn” (8), “oh J*sus,” “oh my G*d,” “h*ll” (9), “d*mn” (5), “motherf***er,” f-words (2), “a**h*le” (7), “a**” (3), s-words (9), do*chebag,” “t*ts,” “b*tch” (4), “p*ssed.”

Alcohol/Drug Use: Danny delivers cocaine to a henchman. Tom tells Mary that if not for his family she would’ve been nothing but a “guttersnipe” serving cabbies for smack (that is, trading sexual favors for heroin). Several characters and henchmen drink throughout. Mary has a full liquor stand in her apartment.

Sexual Content/Sensuality: Mary is shown showering (full side view), but due to steam nothing explicit is shown. Mary wears a dress that shows cleavage. Mary is hugged from behind by a man who proceeds to run his finger down her chest.

Summary and Recommendation

There is no way to sugar coat it, “Proud Mary” is not good. It may have had good intentions, but its flagrant problems cause the audience to become uninvolved and unmoved by the emotional heights the movie tries to reach. The plot and flow of the film is confusing. Lausten does create beautiful shots, but they are marred by the editing. There are solid performances from Henson and Di’Allo, but the audience is not allowed to focus on them. The film inadvertently condones criminal life and extreme violence while trying to condemn it. In my opinion, “Proud Mary” is not worthy (or suitable) entertainment for followers of Christ.

  • Violence: Very Heavy
  • Profane language: Heavy
  • Vulgar/Crude language: Very Heavy
  • Nudity: Moderate
  • Sex: Moderate

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.


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