The God Committee parents guide

The God Committee Parent Guide

This thoughtful film combines discussion of serious issues with real character development.

Overall B+

Digital on Demand: An idealistic young doctor is appointed to a committee that determines which patients receive priority for organ donations. She soon learns that the committee's decision making process is muddier than she expected.

Release date July 2, 2021

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

Why is The God Committee rated Not Rated? The MPAA rated The God Committee Not Rated

Run Time: 98 minutes

Parent Movie Review

It sounds like the beginnings of a bad joke: What do you get when you put a couple of heart doctors, a bureaucrat, the chief of nursing, a phycologist and a lawyer-turned-priest into a small room and ask them to make an important decision? But it’s not funny when you realize this group holds the power to grant life or condemn to probable death a few patients waiting for a heart transplant.

Dr. Andre Boxer (Kelsey Grammer) is a seasoned surgeon who has been part of the “God Committee” for some time, although he plans to retire shortly and conduct transplant research in the private sector. Dr. Jordan Taylor (Julia Stiles) has just been appointed and comes with great aspirations for improving the system. Dr. Valerie Gilroy (Janeane Garofalo), former medical doctor now hospital bureaucrat, has long since lost her optimism. She just hopes she can keep the floundering budget in the black. Dr. Maryanne Wilkes (Patricia R. Floyd) has collected enough information from the caregivers she supervises to have an opinion about all of the candidates. Phycologist Dr. Allen Lau (Peter Kim) judges himself too mentally fragile to participate in the vote. And Father Dunbar (Colman Domingo), who dubiously switched careers from the bar to the cloth, has been asked to monitor the proceedings by a nervous board of trustees.

The accidental death of an eighteen-year-old (Daniel Taveras) provides a heart that matches three patients in the hospital’s care. One is an older woman with a sour disposition (Georgia Buchanan). Another is an overweight man with a wife and family (Kyle Moore). The last is the son of a wealthy investor (Maurizio Di Meo). The committee is convened to choose which of the trio will receive the gift—determined by the prospective recipient’s character, support system, financial abilities and likelihood of survival.

The script, which is based on a play by Mark St. Germain, is carefully crafted to endow each of the patients with some, but not all, of the necessary criteria. Meanwhile, the members of the committee are also drawn with obvious biases and flaws. The primary purpose of the screenplay is to explore these conflicting ideologies, pitting morals against money, sentimentality against scientific reason, the commodification of human organs against the humanity of healing. Adding depth to the story, the movie follows both the characters’ hour of decision plus the repercussions they still feel seven years later. The result is a riveting watch.

While these ethical debates are great discussion starters, parents and older teens should be aware that the film contains bloody depictions of surgery, references to drug abuse, suicide and unwed pregnancies, along with unnecessary amounts of profanity and the use of a strong sexual expletive. Families may have to have their own deliberations over the appropriateness of that content verses the value that might be gleaned from this probing exploration.

Directed by Austin Stark. Starring Kelsey Grammer, Julia Stiles, Janeane Garofalo. Running time: 98 minutes. Theatrical release July 2, 2021. Updated

Watch the trailer for The God Committee

The God Committee
Rating & Content Info

Why is The God Committee rated Not Rated? The God Committee is rated Not Rated by the MPAA

Violence: Blood effects are used in the movie’s frequent portrays of surgical procedures (on humans), and infrequent depictions of injuries and laboratory tests (involving animals). Dead people are portrayed. Characters wrestle with moral issues including ethical behavior, lying, dealing with the black market and accepting bribes. A fatal, hit-and-run accident is depicted between a cyclist and a car. Suicides and self-harm are discussed.
Sexual Content:  A teenaged couple kiss. An unmarried man and woman are shown in bed together (her bare shoulders are seen): a sexual relationship is implied. Unwed pregnancies and abortions are discussed. A character is seen vomiting.
Profanity: The script includes frequent use of a sexual expletive, scatological slang and one use of a sexual finger gesture. There is also infrequent use of mild and moderate profanity, and terms of deity.
Alcohol / Drug Use: Drug overdoses and illegal drug use are discussed and investigated. A character is seen smoking on several occasions, as well as chewing nicotine gum. Characters are shown taking prescription drugs.
Other: Religion (including some specific denominations), religious leaders and God are spoken about in a derogatory manner.

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The God Committee Parents' Guide

What are some of the challenges faced by the committee when trying to decide who is the most deserving patient? What do you think about the criteria they use to make the determination? What factors seem to sway the characters depicted here? What information would you want to consider if you were in their position? After watching this movie, how do you feel about being an organ donor?

One of the doctors complains about “doing math instead of medicine”. What do you think that statement means? How does the medical business model contribute to these rare organs becoming a commodity? Are there ways to change or improve the system?

In the story, the characters face the same ethical dilemmas twice. How do they respond to the first challenge versus the second? What are the differences and similarities of their motives in each case? What factors might be influencing their reasoning? Are your feelings about the issue the same or different between the two scenarios? Why?

In the movie, research is being done with animals to create alternative sources of organ doners. Learn about some real scientific research being done in that field.


Home Video

Related home video titles:

Something the Lord Made is based the real-life story of Dr. Alfred Blalock and Vivian Thomas’s pioneering work with heart surgery. John Q takes a fictional look at the extremes some families go to in the hope of receiving an organ donation for a loved one. And Return to Metells the romantic tale of a woman who is saved by a heart transplant.Two families are connected through organ donation in 2 Hearts.