The World We Make Parent Guide
Despite its good intentions, this film suffers from a lack of nuance or subtlety.
Parent Movie Review
Jubilee (also known as Lee and played by Rose Reid) is getting anxious about her future after high school. She’s unsure and restless, telling her brother, Casey (Richard Kohnke), “I just want to do something big…something epic, something that’ll really push me… that’s unique and significant.” Casey suggests that the two of them ride their horses across the country all the way to California. Enchanted by the idea, Lee embraces it as her own. But when tragedy strikes, Lee is going to learn how hard it can be to follow a dream.
Lee’s not alone in her struggle – she’s falling in love with Casey’s best friend, Jordan (Caleb Castille), who has a dream of his own He wants to finish his degree and become the first person in his African American family to graduate from university. He plans to build a career that will keep him light years away from his father’s factory job and the financial insecurity caused by his gambling addiction. Unfortunately, Jordan is also going to learn that dating a white girl comes with consequences…
The World We Make tries to be more than just another schmaltzy romance as it addresses the messy issue of race in America. It nods to white privilege as Lee makes assumptions about Jordan’s ability to play basketball and her incredulity at the idea that a storeowner is following him around. Lee is naïve enough to believe a country that’s had a black president is capable of accepting interracial relationships, but Jordan’s more pessimistic assessment proves to be accurate. Ranged in opposition to their romance are trollish white boys, angry over Lee’s rejection of one of their own, and a Black senior, peeved with Lee for stealing what she sees as one of the few Black guys with prospects. And then there’s Jordan’s father, who’s convinced that a rich white girl could only love a Black man for his athletic prowess. His conversation with Lee is so awkwardly written it feels like it was penned by a high school writing club trying say something significant about race and class.
This is the real weakness of the film – it lacks nuance or subtlety. This flaw is most obvious in larger issues, but it spreads across the entire production. The story is familiar, and the narrative arc is telegraphed far in advance. The writing often sounds more like quotes from self-help literature than real young people conversing and there’s a bit too much pop psychology. In addition, supporting characters are drawn in broad strokes, rendering them one note ciphers rather than real people.
If clumsy, predictable writing doesn’t bother you, this is an easy film to watch. There’s a single profanity, a few scenes of kissing, and one scene of implied social drinking. The movie contains lots of strong positive themes, particularly around taking responsibility for your own dreams and working hard to achieve them. There are also messages about resilience, kindness, and personal sacrifice. Parents will appreciate Lee’s devotion to her family and her work on their behalf. And as Lee and Jordan decide to create their own world, free from racism or prejudice, where individual dreams can flourish, they set a benchmark for all of us to work towards.Directed by Brian Baugh & George D. Escobar. Starring Caleb Castille, Rose Reid, and Kevin Sizemore. Running time: 108 minutes. Theatrical release February 10, 2021. Updated October 2, 2021
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The World We Make
Rating & Content Info
Why is The World We Make rated PG? The World We Make is rated PG by the MPAA for thematic material and brief violence.
Violence: A car accident is briefly seen; a graveside observance follows. A man is beaten by a group of men; he’s later seen in a hospital room. A main character overturns a table and throws things in a fit of anger.
Sexual Content: A young man and woman kiss on several occasions.
Profanity: A term of deity is heard.
Alcohol / Drug Use: Two young people drink an unidentified beverage that looks like alcohol; one might be underage.
Page last updated October 2, 2021
The World We Make Parents' Guide
Why do Lee and Jordan face opposition in their community? Why do you think people fear interracial relationships? How can you recognize and eliminate any prejudices you might have?
The Conversation: How do Americans really feel about interracial couples?
Very Well Mind: 7 Strategies to Help You on Your Anti-Racism Journey
National Museum of African American History & Culture: Being Antiracist
Lee struggles to understand the racist reality that Jordan faces. How can you be more sensitive to the challenges faced by friends and partners of a different race?
The Washington Post: How to navigate race while dating: 5 bits of advice from experts
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