5.3/10
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66 user 37 critic

The Oath (2018)

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In a politically divided America, a man struggles to make it through the Thanksgiving holiday without destroying his family.

Director:

Ike Barinholtz

Writer:

Ike Barinholtz
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Popularity
1,293 ( 358)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Ike Barinholtz ... Chris
Tiffany Haddish ... Kai
Nora Dunn ... Eleanor
Chris Ellis ... Hank
Jon Barinholtz ... Pat
Meredith Hagner ... Abbie
Carrie Brownstein ... Alice
Jay Duplass ... Clark
Billy Magnussen ... Mason
John Cho ... Peter
Priah Ferguson ... Hardy
Henry Kaufman ... Asher
Max Greenfield ... Dan
Jon Lovett ... Jon Lovett
Brian Guest ... Avery
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Storyline

In a politically divided America, a man struggles to make it through the Thanksgiving holiday without destroying his family.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Nothing is More American Than Family Drama

Genres:

Comedy | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language throughout, violence and some drug use | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official site

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

19 October 2018 (Canada) See more »

Also Known As:

The Oath See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$29,078, 14 October 2018, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$401,463, 1 November 2018
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Color:

Color
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The oath that is the basis for this movie's plot has several real precedents from U.S. history. In March 1947, President Harry S. Truman signed United States Executive Order 9835, which required U.S. government employees to swear that they were not members of any organizations that were deemed "subversive" and it authorized widespread investigations to search for "incriminating" details in government employees' pasts, including homosexuality. More commonly known as the "Truman Loyalty Order," it was largely driven by paranoia about the possibility of Soviet and other communist infiltration in government and other American institutions and is now seen as an early incident in the period known as the Red Scare. Another famous American loyalty oath was the Levering Act of 1950, a California state law that required every state employee to sign a statement attesting that they were not communists or members of any group that advocated the overthrow of the U.S. government. The University of California Board of Regents fired 31 professors (despite their tenured status) who refused to sign the oath on grounds of academic freedom and freedom of speech. The dismissals were eventually reversed by the California Supreme Court, but only after several years and lawsuits. As of 2018, several U.S. states still require their employees to sign loyalty oaths. See more »

Goofs

When Chris and Alice are smoking a joint, they both smoke it like a cigarette. Neither inhales. See more »

Quotes

Mason: If it wasn't for people like me, people like YOU would be slaves to people like me.
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Soundtracks

Time Will Come
Performed by Tol-Puddle Martyrs
Written by Peter James Rechter Apra
Courtesy of D2 Music
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User Reviews

Topical amd bloody dark humor. After all, it's Thanksgiving dinner.
21 October 2018 | by jdesandoSee all my reviews

Some films are not easily classified: Ike Barinholtz's The Oath is just such a puzzle. The prospect of seeing a comedic take on Thanksgiving with current liberal and conservative divisions in many families was tantalizing.

However, The Oath turns into a black comedy at best and bloody Straw Dogs home invasion at worst. Chris (Ike Barinholtz), a liberal, tries to understand why anyone would sign a government loyalty oath (Think Trump's National Loyalty Day, May 1) today in democratic USA. His brother, Pat (Jon Barinholtz) and most of his family, has signed, leading to Chris trying to avoid confrontations with little luck.

With two Citizens Protection Unit operatives arriving unannounced, the contentious Thanksgiving dinner turns into a bloody confrontation between these enforcers of the oath and the growingly isolated, liberal Chris.

For sure there are laughs at the extreme ends of the political spectrum, both sides evidencing ignorance and moved more by the movements themselves rather than deep-seated beliefs. Yet both sides are capable of cruelty and violence, and even Chris and his loving wife, Kai (Tiffany Haddish) are capable of turning on each other.

The animosities are made real by today's polarized politics, so that the absurdist humor can resonate in all its hyperbole. Although the ending should satisfy both sides, and for sure the liberals, nonetheless all sides should be able to fear the extremes to which the citizenry can go and embrace a humanism that doesn't force anyone to turn on family.

After all, it is Thanksgiving, and I feel confident your family will be kind and loving. It's the others you have to worry about.

This dark drama has touches of humor, but also, it's Straw Dogs for political extremists. The Oath is a surprisingly acidic commentary on our partisan culture today.


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