The Roman J. Israel, Esq. Movie Will Get Kids Thinking About Ethics
If you think the director of the R-rated thriller Nightcrawler and the star of American Gangster aren’t capable of making a movie kids can watch, think again: Roman J. Israel, Esq., is rated PG-13 and will certainly appeal to tweens and teens with an interest in law, social issues, and politics.
Roman J. Israel (Denzel Washington) is an idealistic defense attorney whose life gets upended when his boss and mentor – a legendary civil rights icon – dies unexpectedly. Roman’s recruited to join a law firm led by the charismatic, slightly smarmy George Pierce (Colin Farrell), an ambitious law-dog who was one of Jackson’s former students.
But Pierce isn’t so much for civil rights as he is for the money and notoriety high-profile cases can bring. He thinks that as long as he can keep Roman in the back room as his ace-in-the-hole, he’ll be winning left and right. You see, Roman is brilliant – a savant even, when it comes to facts and figures, names and dates. But he’s also socially-awkward, on the spectrum, and a relic of more idealistic times – that’s why Pierce wants to keep him working behind the scenes. It’s when Roman decides to come to the forefront that the problems begin, especially for Roman, who is ill-equipped to deal with more money and higher stakes than he’s ever known.
Since this is a legal thriller, there is some mention of violent crime – but it’s never shown. There isn’t any sex or nudity, and no drug use (unless you count Roman’s indecent consumption of turkey-bacon maple donuts as such). There are a couple of somewhat intense scenes of confrontation in regard to race, but nothing even as bad as what can be found on YouTube or Facebook any day of the week.
Roman J. Israel, Esq. may be too heavy-handed in its message for more mature moviegoers, but youngsters who have not seen many legal dramas, especially those centered on civil rights and making the right choices, are likely to be inspired to learn more. It’s a great stepping stone to better movies (or even books) on these subjects.
Writer-director Dan Gilroy does a marvelous job of presenting Roman as a man with an internal crisis and presenting the dilemma whether it’s possible to be moral as well as financially successful.
Will you watch Roman J. Israel, Esq. with the kids? What are some of your favorite family-friendly thriller/dramas? Share with us!Tags : movies films