Sword of Trust parents guide

Sword of Trust Parent Guide

This goofy political comedy invests more time than usual in its characters and it shows.

Overall C

Netflix: A pawnshop owner is offered a sword that purportedly proves that the South really won the Civil War.

Release date July 1, 2021

Violence B
Sexual Content B
Profanity D
Substance Use A

Why is Sword of Trust rated R? The MPAA rated Sword of Trust R for language throughout

Run Time: 88 minutes

Parent Movie Review

Mel (Marc Maron) runs a tidy little pawnshop in Montgomery, buying and selling the usual assortment of guitars, boots, and useless figurines. That changes, however, when Mary (Michaela Watkins) and Cynthia (Jillian Bell) walk in with a genuine antique: a Civil War era officer’s sword with a convoluted story attached. A story which, if true, could indicate that the Union army had surrendered, and the Confederacy won the war. Of course, the documentation is less than conclusive…but with a buyer willing to pay $50,000 for relics like this, Mel, Mary, and Cynthia agree it’s worth the risk. Even if the buyer seems less than reputable – and maybe a little dangerous.

While this sounds like a goofy political comedy (and there are certainly elements of that), Sword of Trust spends a lot more time exploring its characters than most other comedies. Maron’s approach to Mel’s tragic history and the consequences he lives with give the story more heart than I had anticipated. That sincerity really helps sell the sillier aspects of the story, although it can also make the film feel a little tonally confused at times. For the most part, though, it’s an advantage.

Of course, those familiar with Marc Maron will also know what to expect for content concerns. I mean, the man runs a podcast called WTF with Marc Maron, which should be a bit of a giveaway. There’s a far bit of cussing (heading into 100 swear words), but that is easily the largest problem. I was certainly expecting a raunchier edge to the comedy, but there’s hardly any sexual language here. As comedies go, this is remarkably tame.

The nature of the humor here is obviously political, but it does limit its targets. This isn’t a hit piece on the South or even on the conservatism associated with that part of America. The butt of these jokes are the poor fools who somehow believe that, in defiance of historical fact and documented evidence, the Confederacy won the Civil War, and what’s more, that this somehow matters. In the century and a half since General Lee surrendered at Appomattox, the world has moved on. Re-fighting a war so costly to America doesn’t seem to be in anyone’s best interest. And the film certainly has no interest in rehashing the battles, either. This is about truth, lies, and how the intellectual vacuum we call the internet makes the two much harder to distinguish.

Directed by Lynn Shelton . Starring Marc Maron, Jon Bass, Michael Watkins, Jillian Bell. Running time: 88 minutes. Theatrical release July 1, 2021. Updated

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Sword of Trust
Rating & Content Info

Why is Sword of Trust rated R? Sword of Trust is rated R by the MPAA for language throughout

Violence: Individuals are threatened with guns, swords, and screwdrivers. One person is knocked out by a blow to the head.
Sexual Content: There is one brief sexual reference.
Profanity: There are 60 sexual expletives, 28 scatological terms, and occasional use of mild profanity and terms of deity.
Alcohol / Drug Use: None.

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Sword of Trust Parents' Guide

The Civil War was a catastrophe for America, and the effects linger today. What are some of the issues in modern politics that can be traced back to the war? The war was fought primarily over the issue of slavery. Where did the Union and the Confederacy stand on slavery? What were some of the smaller conflicts that led to the war? Who was John Brown? How did the war affect the lives of enslaved people, both in the North and South? What were some of the consequences for them? How did other nations react to the war? What influenced their positions?

AARP: How the Civil War Changed Your Life

History Today: What are the Enduring Legacies of the American Civil War?

National Archives: Out of War, a New Nation

Pacific Standard: Of Course the Civil War Was About Slavery

The Atlantic: What This Cruel War Was Over


Home Video

Related home video titles:

Films about the Civil War include Glory, Lincoln, The Beguiled, and The Free State of Jones. Films which happen on the periphery or in the aftermath of that war include The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly, Little Women, and News of the World.