Encounter parents guide

Encounter Parent Guide

They're heeeere.

Overall C+

Amazon: Riz Ahmed is a Marine Corps veteran determined to protect his kids from the threat of an alien invasion. So he goes on the run.

Release date December 10, 2021

Violence C-
Sexual Content B
Profanity D
Substance Use B-

Why is Encounter rated R? The MPAA rated Encounter R for language and some violence

Run Time: 108 minutes

Parent Movie Review

Former US Marine Malik Khan (Riz Ahmed) knows something the rest of us don’t – Earth is in trouble. Extraterrestrial parasites, carried on meteoroids and spread by terrestrial insects, trigger dangerous behaviour in humans infected with the parasite. Determined to make a stand, Malik rushes to Oregon to pick up his two sons, 10-year-old Jay (Lucian-River Chauhan), and 5-year-old Bobby (Aditya Geddada), who have been living with their mother Piya (Janina Gavankar) and her boyfriend, Dylan (Misha Collins). While Piya and Dylan are already compromised, Malik is confident that he can get the boys to safety at a remote base in Nevada without exposing them to the infection. Until, that is, he gets a call from his parole officer, Hattie (Octava Spencer), asking why he missed his psych evaluation…

Alternating between a lighthearted father-son road trip and gripping psychological thriller, Encounter is a surprisingly engaging film. Ordinarily, I’d take issue with that kind of tonal flip-flopping, but it actually works in the film’s favor. I think that’s primarily because it helps the film’s pacing, keeping twists and turns coming as this strange little family makes their way down the road.

Riz Ahmed is, as usual, superb. Without his warm, determined performance, Malik would not work as a character, and likely bring the entire film down with him. The big surprise is Lucian-River Chauhan, who is one of the better child actors I’ve seen lately. Child acting is either fine or the worst part of the movie, and there’s almost no in-between. In this film, Chauhan’s performance is a mercy, because Bobby (played well by Aditya Geddada) is so annoying that any more insufferable child acting would have driven me to throw my computer into the snow.

This film isn’t perfect – apart from a few missed hits (a plot element involving some deranged militia members springs to mind), there is more profanity than family viewers will like. There’s also some violence, but it is remarkably non-fatal, all things considered. Honestly, if you’re comfortable with the cussing, then this film is fairly suitable for teenagers – if you think your teenager would be interested. But be warned, if you were planning a family road trip anytime soon, yours is going to pale in comparison to the fun and insanity of this one.

Directed by Michael Pearce. Starring Riz Ahmed, Octavia Spencer, Lucian-River Chauhan, Aditya Geddada. Running time: 108 minutes. Theatrical release December 10, 2021. Updated

Watch the trailer for Encounter

Rating & Content Info

Why is Encounter rated R? Encounter is rated R by the MPAA for language and some violence

Violence: There are several close ups of bugs eating one another. Several individuals are shot but not killed. People are severely beaten. A person is struck by a car. Some children are seen pushing and shoving one another. A man removes a bullet from his own abdomen. There are frightening scenes involving aliens.
Sexual Content: There is a brief sexual reference.
Profanity: There are 16 uses of sexual expletives, five scatological curses, and occasional uses of mild profanities and terms of deity.
Alcohol / Drug Use: Adult characters are briefly seen drinking.
Other: There are scenes involving flashing lights which might be problematic for viewers with migraines or seizure disorders.

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Encounter Parents' Guide

How have Malik’s experiences before the events of the film shaped his worldview? How have they influenced his choices in the film? What does Jay come to realize about those choices, and how does he change his own behaviour as a result? What do you think might have helped Malik in the first place?

Home Video

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Other unusual road trips can be found in films like Finch, C’mon C’mon, The Midnight Sky, Last Flag Flying, Rain Man, and Logan. Movies about PTSD include Thank You for Your Service, Cherry, Da 5 Bloods, Jacob’s Ladder, Born on the Forth of July, The Hurt Locker, Gran Torino, and The Fisher King. Riz Ahmed has also recently appeared in The Sound of Metaland Mogul Mowgli.