The American Society of Magical Negroes parents guide

The American Society of Magical Negroes Parent Guide

Aimless and indecisive, this movie doesn't live up to its clever premise.

Overall C

Theaters: A young man is recruited into a secret magical organization that works to make white people feel comfortable in order to make Black people's lives safer.

Release date March 15, 2024

Violence B
Sexual Content A-
Profanity C-
Substance Use C+

Why is The American Society of Magical Negroes rated PG-13? The MPAA rated The American Society of Magical Negroes PG-13 for some strong language, suggestive material and thematic material.

Run Time: 104 minutes

Parent Movie Review

When a white man erroneously assumes that Aren (Justice Smith) is robbing a white woman, the young Black man is terrified, until Barber (Aaron Coleman) comes to his rescue. A bit of unobtrusive magic here, some genial conversation there, and the tricky situation quickly resolves. This is only the beginning of the evening’s surprises before Barber whisks Aren off to the secret headquarters of The American Society of Magical Negroes.

Aren is astonished to learn that the society exists to keep white people calm and comfortable. After all, Barber explains that “The most dangerous animal in the world is an uncomfortable white man…For some of us, the last thing we see on this earth is uncomfortable white people. The happier they are, the safer we are.” Wielding their collective magic, members of the society are assigned white “clients” with a mission to keep them happy and serene.

Aren soon finds himself shadowing Jason (Drew Tarver) a clueless white digital designer who is anxious about his career goals and attracted to his boss, Lizzie (An-Li Bogan). Aren has no difficulty boosting Jason’s career confidence, but trouble brews when he also finds himself drawn to the intelligent, charming young woman. As he becomes increasingly aware of the toll taken by casual racism and misogyny, Aren starts to question his mission…

I wish I enjoyed this movie as much as I appreciated its concept. There is room for a biting satire based on this the clever premise, but that’s not what The American Society for Magical Negroes delivers. The movie feels as aimless as its protagonist, wandering unmoored through the plot. Aren is confused and indecisive, as is the script, which can’t decide if it wants to be a satire, a drama, or a limp romantic comedy. Some of the movie’s lines deliver a real punch, such as when Aren says, “I live in a country that makes me feel like it wants me dead.” But instead of delving deeper, the script abruptly veers off into rom-com territory. Just another lost opportunity in a movie filled with them.

On the bright side, that cautious attitude extends to the script’s negative content. There are about two dozen profanities, a few scenes of social drinking, some mentions of racial violence, and a little on-screen kissing. The PG-13 rating is fair, and this is a movie that could get teenagers of all races thinking about racism, human dignity, and treating others with respect. If that happens, then The American Society of Magical Negroes will have drawn a small victory out of its lackluster release.

Directed by Kobi Libii. Starring Justice Smith, David Alan Grier, An-Li Bogan. Running time: 104 minutes. Theatrical release March 15, 2024. Updated

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The American Society of Magical Negroes
Rating & Content Info

Why is The American Society of Magical Negroes rated PG-13? The American Society of Magical Negroes is rated PG-13 by the MPAA for some strong language, suggestive material and thematic material.

Violence:   There are frequent mentions of racial violence. A Black man is almost punched when a white man erroneously believes he is committing a crime.
Sexual Content: A man and woman kiss. A man puts his hand on another man’s crotch for therapeutic purposes; not for sexual arousal.
Profanity: The script contains a single sexual expletive, fewer than a dozen scatological curses and terms of deity, and a half dozen minor profanities.
Alcohol / Drug Use: Adults drink alcohol at social events and while they are alone but no one is portrayed as being intoxicated.

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The American Society of Magical Negroes Parents' Guide

Why do members of the society want to keep white people comfortable? Do you think the script is exaggerating the issue? Why or why not? How does Aren’s life experience compare to yours? Do you have friends of other races whose experiences you have tried to understand? How does that affect the way you see your life and your society?

Home Video

Related home video titles:

Racial violence is a central issue in The Hate U Give, Selma, Till, and Mississippi Burning. Films that explore racism include American Fiction, Just Mercy, Origin, Green Book, Burden, and The Best of Enemies,