The Little Things parents guide

The Little Things Parent Guide

The film is replete with ethical dilemmas which force viewers to confront the issues.

Overall C

Digital on Demand: A serial killer is on the loose. Deke, a deputy sheriff creeping up on retirement, and Baxter, an up-and-coming detective, are given the case: But Deke's methodology doesn't line up with Baxter's training, and the murderer is still on the loose...

Release date January 29, 2021

Violence C
Sexual Content D
Profanity D
Substance Use B

Why is The Little Things rated R? The MPAA rated The Little Things R for violent/disturbing images, language and full nudity.

Run Time: 127 minutes

Parent Movie Review

It’s been a long time since Joe “Deke” Deacon (Denzel Washington) worked a case in Los Angeles. Instead, he’s taken up a post as a deputy sheriff in a small California county. Back in L.A. to transfer some evidence, Deke finds himself involved in Detective Jimmy Baxter’s (Remi Malek) hunt for a dangerous serial killer. The case reminds Deke of the last case he worked in L.A., and he’s willing to put in some overtime – but his methods don’t always line up with those familiar to Detective Baxter. The chase leads them to Albert Sparma (Jared Leto), who the police certainly suspect…but proving their suspicions is a different matter altogether. And time is running out.

While The Little Things isn’t suitable for families, it is far less unsuitable than many of the films in the genre. Brutal on-screen violence, heavy profanity, and some crude sexual dialogue are par for the course – and this production avoids most of that. The violence typically happens off-screen (with a few minor exceptions), the profanity is remarkably limited, and there aren’t a bunch of raunchy jokes. There are, however, some nude female corpses, references to strip clubs and prostitution, and a few instances of on-screen violence.

With that out of the way, let’s talk about the movie itself. First up is the star-studded cast, and both Washington and Malek are excellent. Jared Leto does creepy well – if his behavior on the set of Suicide Squad is any indication, it comes naturally to him. What I like about this movie is that it takes itself seriously. Without spoiling anything, the story is replete with ethical dilemmas. This isn’t violence and nudity for fun. The Little Things takes serious problems and, while it doesn’t necessarily provide easy solutions, it demands that you confront the issues.

For genre fans, I’m sure this will be a welcome entry. There’s tension, moral ambiguity, and tragedy – important elements for neo-noir thrillers. Added to which, you’ve got an impressive cast and reasonable dialogue, which is a pleasant surprise at this point in my career. While this isn’t exactly unrestrained family fun, it is more compelling than I expected it to be. I’ll gladly take a surprise like this, even if the contents are horrifically depressing.

Directed by John Lee Hancock. Starring Denzel Washington, Rami Malek, and Jared Leto. Running time: 127 minutes. Theatrical release January 29, 2021. Updated

Watch the trailer for The Little Things

The Little Things
Rating & Content Info

Why is The Little Things rated R? The Little Things is rated R by the MPAA for violent/disturbing images, language and full nudity.

Violence: Several bloody dead bodies are shown with gory injuries. A man is struck in the head with a shovel. An individual is shot and killed.
Sexual Content: The bodies shown are typically nude women.
Profanity: There are 8 uses of extreme profanity, 5 uses of scatological cursing, and infrequent use of mild profanity and terms of deity.
Alcohol / Drug Use: Background characters are shown intoxicated and occasionally smoking. Main characters are shown briefly drinking socially.

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The Little Things Parents' Guide

What do you think constitutes justice? Do you think the interests of justice were served in this film? Or is this another example of police misbehavior and overreach? To what extent can the ends ever justify the means?

Deke is wracked with guilt. Why? How much responsibility do you think he deserves for his part in the incident? How do you think that impacts his response to the current case with Baxter? How does that affect the advice he gives the younger officer? For better or for worse?

If Deke hadn’t been involved, what do you think the outcome of this case would have been?

Home Video

Related home video titles:

There are a lot of good crime thrillers out there, almost none of which are suitable for children. David Fincher is particularly talented with these, and his contributions to the genre include Se7en, Zodiac, and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Other films you may enjoy in the genre include The Silence of the Lambs, Psycho, and Nightcrawler.