What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Joe is an intense, often brutal indie drama starring Nicolas Cage, directed by David Gordon Green, and based on a novel by Larry Brown. Violent content includes fighting, guns, and blood, as well as very upsetting scenes of a father threatening and beating his 15-year-old son and bloody violence involving dogs. Some scenes take place inside a whorehouse, and a couple of scenes involve strong sexual imagery, as well as plenty of sex talk. Language is strong, with regular uses of "f--k" and "s--t." The main character is a regular drinker; he gets drunk and gives beer to the 15-year-old boy. The boy's father is a raging alcoholic, capable of terrible violence when drunk. The main character also regularly smokes cigarettes and is shown to be highly addicted.
  • Families can talk about Joe's violence. What impact does it have? What does it tell you about the characters? How does it compare to what you might see in a horror movie? Which is more upsetting, and why?
  • Why do you think these characters drink and smoke so much? What are the consequences? Do they seem realistic?
  • How do you feel about Gary's relationship with his abusive father? How did the other members of his family relate to him? Do you think there are any ways the situation could be improved?
  • How do you feel about Joe? Can he be forgiven his bad side in favor of all the good he does? Is he a role model for Gary?
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