The Burial parents guide

The Burial Parent Guide

This is a riveting courtroom drama with strong lead actors and significant issues at play.

Overall B-

Amazon Prime: Based on a true story, a local funeral home owner tries to save his family business by suing a giant corporation with the help of the charismatic lawyer Willie E. Gary.

Release date October 13, 2023

Violence A
Sexual Content A
Profanity D
Substance Use B

Why is The Burial rated R? The MPAA rated The Burial R for language.

Run Time: 126 minutes

Parent Movie Review

After a handshake deal goes bad, Mississippi funeral home owner Jeremiah O’Keefe (Tommy Lee Jones) sues the Loewen Group, a Manitoba-based conglomerate expanding in the world of bereavement services. Desperate to save his family business, O’Keefe hires charismatic attorney Willie Gary (Jamie Foxx) to head his legal team. The two unlikely friends bond over their shared values while the case expands from the rarefied world of contract law into larger issues of corporate greed and racial injustice.

Courtroom dramas must walk a fine line. They can easily be mind-numbingly boring, or so unrealistically dramatic that they become frustrating to watch. Writer/director Maggie Betts manages to straddle that line expertly, creating a realistic but engrossing film helmed by two stellar performances. Dare I say this is the most exciting movie ever made about contract law? That’s a low bar, but someone has to clear it…

Foxx and Jones are both electric to watch. Neither take their characters too far into scene-chewing madness, but both deliver layered, expert performances that keep the audience captivated from the first frame. The surrounding cast are stellar as well, but there’s no denying who the two leads are. I can’t tell you how closely their performances hew to the real people involved in the 1995 O’Keefe v. Loewen case, but they provide characters who feel authentic. I would not be surprised to see this film crop up in some awards conversations in the coming months, especially in the acting categories.

I found this film to be a bit too long and it could easily have gone through another round of editing to tighten it up. However, that is a small critique for an otherwise great film. The story, though slow in some spots, manages to touch on some important issues while delving deeply into two complex characters. The film never tips into melodrama, avoiding black and white, good vs evil dichotomies that could so easily have overwhelmed it. The messages around corporate greed, family legacy, and perseverance are all clear but not overdone.

Parents can take note that the only significant negative content issue is profanity, with the script featuring 12 F-bombs and over 30 other expletives. For some families, the positive messages as well as the importance of this case and its wide-reaching implications in the American legal system may outweigh the profanity. Whether or not this movie is a fit for your family, is for you to judge.

Directed by Maggie Betts. Starring Jamie Foxx, Tommy Lee Jones, Jurnee Smollett. Running time: 126 minutes. Theatrical release October 13, 2023. Updated

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The Burial
Rating & Content Info

Why is The Burial rated R? The Burial is rated R by the MPAA for language.

Violence: None.
Sexual Content: A married couple kiss.
Profanity: Around 12 extreme expletives, over 30 mild and moderate expletives, and around 10 uses of terms of a deity. A racial slur is used twice in friendly contexts between Black characters.
Alcohol / Drug Use: Adults socially drink in some scenes.

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The Burial Parents' Guide

What is Jerry’s motivation for pursuing this case? How do he and Willie bond over their shared values and how does that affect their handling of the case?

Home Video

Related home video titles:

A tenacious lawyer pursues justice against a corporation that has polluted a watershed and sickened people in Dark Waters.

Issues of race and justice are front and center in Just Mercy, To Kill and Mockingbird, Brian Banks, and The Hate U Give.