22 user 30 critic

Burden (2018)

R | | Drama | 9 June 2020 (Canada)
2:20 | Trailer
When a museum celebrating the Ku Klux Klan opens in a South Carolina town, the idealistic Reverend Kennedy strives to keep the peace even as he urges the group's Grand Dragon to disavow his racist past.


Andrew Heckler


Andrew Heckler
2,518 ( 349)
2 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »





Credited cast:
Andrea Riseborough ... Judy
Garrett Hedlund ... Mike Burden
Forest Whitaker ... Reverend Kennedy
Tom Wilkinson ... Tom Griffin
Tess Harper ... Hazel
Usher Raymond ... Clarence Brooks
Crystal Fox ... Janice Kennedy (as Crystal R. Fox)
Anna Colwell ... Molly
Jason Davis ... Jameson
Austin Hébert Austin Hébert ... Clint
Jeff Pope ... Cooper
Dexter Darden ... Kelvin Kennedy
Charles Green ... Horace King
Tia Hendricks ... Toosie Brooks
Joshua Burge ... Ronny
Learn more

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When a museum celebrating the Ku Klux Klan opens in a small South Carolina town, the idealistic Reverend Kennedy resolves to do everything in his power to prevent racial tensions from boiling over. But the members of Kennedy's congregation are shocked to discover that his plan includes sheltering Mike Burden, a Klansman whose relationships with both a single-mother and a high-school friend force him to re-examine his long-held beliefs. After Kennedy helps Mike leave behind his violent past, the Baptist preacher finds himself on a collision course with manipulative KKK leader Tom Griffin. In the face of grave threats to himself and his family, the resolute Kennedy bravely pursues a path toward peace, setting aside his own misgivings in the hopes of healing his wounded community.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Only love can drive out hate. See more »



Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for disturbing violent content, and language throughout including racial epithets | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »

Did You Know?


At Sundance 2018, writer/director Andrew Heckler revealed that he had actually written the script for Burden back in 1998, and carried it for almost 20 years until it was finally produced. See more »


Mike Burden: [to Reverend Kennedy] Sir, if I call you my enemy, I'll walk through Heaven and I will punch God just to get to you. If I call you my friend, I'll walk through Hell and I'll slap the devil for you.
See more »

User Reviews

First Hit: This is a compelling true story about racial change in a small South Carolina town.
15 March 2020 | by michaeldoudSee all my reviews

First Hit: This is a compelling true story about racial change in a small South Carolina town.

The movie documents this story about how Mike Burden (Garrett Hedlund), who was part of the Ku Klux Clan, decides to change his beliefs and makes amends because of his love for a woman.

In this small town, the Klan is still alive and well. Tom Griffin (Tom Wilkinson) is the head honcho in more ways than one. He's on the verge of opening a Ku Klux Klan museum in an old movie theater, and the most impoverished people in town rent furniture and televisions from him. His repossession rate for his rentals is high. He intimidates the town with this control.

Burden works for Griffin and is his prime repossessor. Griffin treats Mike like his own son. On one repossession, he meets Judy (Andrea Riseborough), whose current boyfriend is behind in his payments, and Burden takes the television. Judy throws a temper tantrum and storms out to the car. She attempts to leave, but the car won't start and Buden, gets the car started for her. The looks they give each other show that there is going to be a connection.

Judy has a young boy whose best friend is a young black child. The relationship between the young boys is a reminder that when Burden was young, his best friend was Clarence Brooks (Usher Raymond). Clarence is black, and because he's having trouble making payments on the rented television, Mike has arrived to repossess the tv. Seeing Judy's boy playing with Clarence's son brings up memories of their past friendship, and conflicting feelings based on his current beliefs as a Klansman.

The town has a large black population that comes together at the church that is led by Reverend Kennedy (Forest Whitaker). Kennedy preaches love, forgiveness, and bringing people together non-violently. As you might expect, with the KKK museum opening in town, the black community is upset, and Kennedy leads the non-violent protest.

At one point, Judy puts it to Burden that he has to pick between her or his continuing to be part of the Klan. This choice begins Mike's transition from his being Klan oriented to seeing how it is hurting the community and people he cares about.

Hedlund was amazing as Burden. The way he talked, scattered his gaze when communicating with anyone, and how his walk embodied someone who was doing little to further himself was well done. As he found his voice, he showed subtle ways to make his character believable as he evolved. Whitaker was wonderous as the town's reverend whose goal was to create a peaceful difference. When he brings unexpected guests home, the way he tried to make it right with his family was perfectly portrayed. Riseborough was terrific as Judy. She captured a young woman who stood for her beliefs and had enough compassion to let Burden find his way to her. Wilkinson was excellent and utterly horrible as the town's Klan leader. He made me believe he was a Klansman. Andrew Heckler wrote and directed this true story. I loved seeing the real people at the end of the film as the credits rolled.

Overall: This was a wonderfully presented story about how racism tears communities apart and how love, forgiveness, and acceptance can put them back together.

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Release Date:

9 June 2020 (Canada) See more »

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Burden See more »


Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$20,160, 1 March 2020

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Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

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