Chris (Ike Barinholtz) and Kai (Tiffany Haddish) agree not to sign an oath of loyalty to the United States for tax incentives. The deadline is Black Friday and a politically-charged Chris focuses on getting through the holiday with his family while he pours over the news regarding The Oath. The day after Thanksgiving, he and his family are surprised when agents show up to interrogate him. As the situation escalates, they must decide how to stay out of jail and protect their family.Written by
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 »
When Chris and Alice are smoking a joint, they both smoke it like a cigarette. Neither inhales. See more »
If it wasn't for people like me, people like YOU would be slaves to people like me.
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The Oath is an example of a relatively new genre that I suppose we can expect to see more of: the political horror movie. The thumbnail describes it cheerfully as "a man struggles to keep his politically divided family from falling apart over the Thanksgiving holiday." Nuh uh. It's actually a plausible scenario for a fascist takeover in America. Appropriately, it sneaks up on you. It starts out as a light comedy -- a good excuse to munch through a bucket of popcorn -- then seems to veer off course, becoming uncomfortably raw. And then things head south. Predictably some critics have called it out for inconsistency of tone -- missing the point. Billy Magnusson steals the show with a late appearance as an agent for the Citizens Protection Unit.
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