All I can say is wow….

This film, The Strange Thing About The Johnsons, is one of the strangest, yet riveting short films I’ve ever seen. Filmmaker Ari Aster is one hell of a director and this film completely turns what we’ve heard about incest and sexual abuse on it’s head.

Be warned: It may be disturbing to some viewers.

The Strange Thing About the Johnsons… speechless from Michael Roy on Vimeo.

  • sunday

    I saw this a couple days ago and can honestly say it’s one of very few movies I’ve found genuinely disturbing. I thought it was very good though!

    It really puts the focus on the abuse of power that accompanies abuse. Who really has the upper hand? While I was watching this I was thinking to myself I will neeeever marry a man who feels helpless in the company of our children (this includes me being mindful of that which may be emasculating, intentional or otherwise!), and not even in the same sense as this short movie. I’m too tired of seeing kids doing whatever, whenever and wherever this day and age.

    Again, good movie. My sister wonders why the family is black, I wonder what everyone else thinks. I personally am neutral about it, but before reading this article I didn’t realize the director is white. Either way I hope he goes far with his career.

  • fuchsia

    Most disturbing film I ever saw. I actually watched it last week and I’ll never watch it again… They get an A+ for shock value though.

  • Gigi Young

    Saw this yesterday. Apparently, the filmmaker says this is supposed to be a dark comedy, and honestly when I read what it was about and then watched this short film, I get why and where it’s supposed to be funny.

  •!/KMichelPress K. Michel

    Well, the production is good. The movie looks crisp. But the script and overall premise is pretty sensationalist, unfortunately. I get the nuances and I understand why it’s disturbing… and it isn’t the actions taking place in and of themselves. It’s the juxtaposition between the All-American Black family who are living that 1950′s dream of the nuclear family, yet behind closed doors lies this horrible, cringing secret.

    I didn’t see the full movie. But, I’ll say this much. The director needs to be more responsible with the shock value they create. Shock value is easy, a 6th grader could do it. However, I shouldn’t need to go to a therapist after watching a legitimate movie, especially one like this. The most ingenious films end on a note where the audience leaves in the same mood from which they entered, or better. To do otherwise isn’t artistic prowess, but incredibly irresponsible.

  • Timcampi

    Wow what a chilling and powerful video. Definitely added to my list of shorts and favorites. I wasn’t expecting such a reversal… and the dichotomy of a rapist’s mind was spot on. Just wonderfully emotional!

    We should totes have more short films posted on Clutch.

  • Cree

    I am mad my comment got deleted.

    Gist of what I was saying.

    This is the thiird film in the last six months posted by Clutch that poses black men as the abuser. Of these three films posted, two of the directors were white males.

    I ask, why is this such a popular premise for white and black directors alike? What does it mean when films with black casts have to be centered around stories of abuse? When the majority of films showing black people are crafted this way?

    I am looking at you sideways, Clutch. I don’t believe abuse should be swept under the rug. Every part of humanity, even the not so pleasant parts, has the right to and should be depicted on film. But there is a pattern in popular culture that says blackness+abuse=story. I am disgusted with this pattern. But, even moreso, I am disgusted with the glorification of these stories to the near exclusion of stories centered around, hmm, ANYTHING else.

    Where are other indie films (by BLACK WOMEN!!!!) that Clutch could be so kind as to point out to its readers?

    I’ll go back to watching this film (I am 16 min into it). And I am sorry, but this man is not “one hell of a director.”

  • shadow

    To say I was shocked would be an understatement! WTF!, “this can’t be true”, and “okay, this shit really happens?” rang through my mind countless times. We are so used to seeing the adult/parent as the abuser. I was truly not prepared to see it the other way around. Scary is a good word to describe this short film, powerful, and sadly enough, a reality, in some families are also adequate descriptions. I would like to say that even though I was taken aback and it still gives me pause as I type this, it was an excellent short film.

  • chanela


    omfg i diedddd

  • Clutch


    Thanks for you comment. But with all due respect, we share films and web series that 1) are brought to our attention and 2) we find interesting/thought-provoking. I don’t think this film glorifies black male violence, or even makes the statement that black men are violent because, as we see, the victim is also a black man. What it is doing, in my opinion, is turning the idea of a “happy family” on its head.

    By the way…we continuously highlight work by black female filmmakers. Many of our readers NEVER heard of Issa Rae or her series, “The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl” until we shared it (and have continued to support her). Just yesterday we shared a documentary by a black women about the Afro-Latino experience, and today we shared the second episode of ‘Milk + Honey’ another web series by a black female production team.

    Feel free to disagree with this film’s content, but please don’t act like we don’t highlight Black female filmmakers.

    Thank you,

  • mina

    I can never unwatch that movie. That’ll be burned in my brain for the rest of my life!

    I have to be a little critical and say the last part of the film was a little weak, and to be honest (mild spoiler alert) I have yet to hear of a child with that kind of behavior at all. Children don’t just grow up perfectly happy and healthy and display those feelings. I’m sure it happens, but I think there would be some sort of past abuse.

  • mina

    A dark comedy?! I didn’t find it to be funny at all really, I never would have thought that something could disturb me more that Human Centipede 2, but watching Human Centipede 2 was a walk in the park compared to this.

  • Mkazi


    I don’t even know where to begin, but here goes:
    If we DIDN’T live in a world where black men are constantly criminalized and hypersexualized by the media, in a world obsessed with showcasing all kinds of dysfunctional black families, a world that constantly rams these things down our throats, then the fact that this film (written and directed by a white man) focuses on a BLACK family wouldn’t matter to me.
    BUT unfortunately we do live in a world where all of these things exist. The fact that this white director chose to have this highly dysfunctional family be BLACK is no “accident”, even if he didn’t consciously make that choice (though I’m sure he did). Especially since there are so few fictional representations of black families to begin with. There is not a lot of work for black actors out there, and when there is, it’s usually sterotypical roles.

    This film is just another drop in the bucket of stereotypical representations. But what makes me mad is that it’s under the guise of being something different, something artsy. Because it presents a well-to-do, upper middle class black family it tricks people into thinking its something different. But here we have a story about a hypersexual, black male who is basically a monster. It’s just another manifestation of the SAME OLD NARRATIVE.
    (and if I hear someone say, ‘well instead of complaining we should make our own films” I’m going to lose it. We ARE. There are a lot of us who are working hard to do this. I am. I am a filmmaker actually, and my work showed at a festival with this film. But maybe we’re not making sensational, insane films that are going to get attention just for the sake of raising people’s eyebrows.)

  • Mkazi

    Thank you Cree,
    I completely agree with you in that there is a long standing pattern of portraying dysfunctional black people and particularly black men as abusers.

    To me there is nothing thought-proving or socially relevant about this film because it’s just using the age-old stereotype to simply shock the audience. It’s not like this issue: a black man sexually abusing his father, is some social ill that we all need to be aware of. No. It’s just an extreme, sensationalist story that plays with our (society’s) already pre-conceived notions of black malehood.

    And yes, it is that serious to me. It’s serious because there are SO FEW REPRESENTATIONS OF BLACK PEOPLE/BLACK FAMILIES out there. And I firmly believe that the media shapes the way we see and understand the world.
    We are not beyond race in this society, so let’s not pretend we are.

  • Deech

    It’s important to see black actors is roles that will take them out of the stereotypical box. I’m sure this movie is cringe-worthy, but I can’t wait to see it.

  • Cree

    Clutch is one of my favorite outlets because I do feel like the magazine attempts to portray and believes in the diversity of black people. I found ABG and Milk + Honey because of this site. I do, however, feel there is a difference between web series and indie films. In my comment my quote was about “where are the indie films (by Black WOMEN!!!).” Independent films are a of a different medium than that of a web series.

    My statement that black people are the preferred violators/VIOLATED still stands. A black man was still a VICTIM to another BLACK MAN’s violence. Besides, the fact that black man #2 was a victim does not make black man #1 any less violent.

    In the end, I am not trying to censor. Keep posting what you want. It sparks discussion, and hey, you have a right to show it. But an outlet that seems to get tired of the same ol’ same ol’ reality tv shows/tyler perry movies etc. should be more mindful of the diversity of indie films it is going to bring to our attention as well. Maybe devote a regular contributor who only focuses on blacks in film/media, that way the offering is wider. Right now I’m getting the idea that indie films that show abused black people must rock.

  • Cree

    Last comment in response to Britni/Clutch.

  • Cree

    That’s what I’m saying. I’m trying to find an interview where the director explains what he wanted to do with this film.

    I feel bad because I am not trying to say that everyone who wants to cast black actors has to have a thesis as to who/where/what/when/why. I also feel bad because I think my earlier comment may have sounded like an attack on Clutch, which is not what I intended.

    I came home after a long day of work, not getting to see many black films in general, and found this posted. Not what I was looking for, but hey, maybe some other readers enjoyed it.

    In any case, your comment makes me feel like my initial reaction to this video had some validity to it. I am not alone in this. What I have to do now is search for movies on my own…Clutch can not (and should not) be my only source for this sort of stuff. Did you say you are a film maker? Where can I see your work?

    I do think, however, that if the editors of Clutch see anything the way you and I do, the next indie film they decide to show should not again be centered around abuse, or should at least have substantial commentary to go alongside it.

    I am tired of abuse being our claim to fame.

  • Cree

    Short one-minute video interview where the director says it is supposed to be dark and comedic but turned out more twisted than he expected:

  • rw

    amazing!!!!! great cinematography!! great acting!!! i want more! i want a movie!!! i want 30 more manates

  • sunday

    Agreed. I had many questions swirling in my head about the racial aspect of this, then (temporarily) decided to see it through a neutral lens.

    Impossible, especially after going through a lot of the stuff released recently – big bad black men?! Hmm, not so.

    I’m sticking with Issa Rae!

  • sunday

    This says a LOT about the director. There is nothing even remotely funny about one individual imposing themselves on another. It makes me wonder what the cast and crew think of this as well. I didn’t even find the opening scene all that funny, I just thought to myself, “ohhh crap…growing up sucks”, but nothing more.

  • LesBoom

    I hated the end…

    I encourage everyone who was slightly intrigued by this film to check out a film called Happiness. Don’t worry, it’s about a WHITE dysfunctional family. Some of you can breathe easy smh…

  • Brasilia

    I saw a film clip of the first two minutes on MTO yesterday and my first thought was, “what the hell?” I finally saw the entire film and I must say though I found the father/son relationship as well as the son’s emotional/mental hold on the father a bit disturbing, I thought it was a good film. Good acting, good storyline, kept me on the edge of my seat.

  • Melissa

    This was a thought provoking film and really gave us an understanding of how the abuser/victim relationship works. While it’s not most disturbing film I’ve seen, I will never watch this again. Kudos to the director for his great short.

  • Diem

    I agree with everything Mkazi said.

    I found this film to be disturbing, unrealistic, emasculating, and divisive. What grown man of ANY race is going to suffer quietly long-term sexual abuse by his own son? Unless the father is 5’4″ 120 lbs and the son is 7′ 300 lbs, it’s not going to happen.

    Second, how is it the father was not able to fight off his son but the mother was able to lay him out? Some may say I’m reaching but I think this film was made to show a black man being emasculated and possibly . . . showcasing the black woman as angry, dominate, etc.

    The director said the film started off as a “joke”. What is funny about sexual abuse? He also made it a point to mention the race of the cast. Sexual abuse occurs everywhere race, religion, class are not a factor so why did he feel the need to mention it? I find it suspect. If he was looking for shock value he got it and offended a lot of people in the process.

  • Timcampi


    I know right? It’s like darker roles are untouchable because of ‘the way black men are commonly portrayed. Wtf. It’s insulting. Besides, just like blacks are over-represented in victim-less crimes (robbery, drugs, etc.) whites are over-represented in sexual deviancy and lunacy. In fact, this whole movie was a subversion of a subversion: That is to say the perpetrator was not white, and the perpetrator did not fit the common criteria of an abuser.

    I still don’t see how this movie could have EVER been a dark comedy (besides the ending… that made me laugh a lot D: I’m probably going to hell), but yeah.

  • JaeBee

    I found the whole thing contrived and unrealistic. The director should’ve spent more time developing the son’s (psychopathic) personality in order to make more sense of the relationship he had with his father. Seriously, unless their child has shown psychopathic tendencies (anti-social personality disorder) what parent would allow their child to sexually and psychologically abuse them for years without addressing it? We’re to assume that this boy’s obsession with his father started as a young teen—you can’t convince me that the father couldn’t have ‘nipped it in the bud’ right then and there. Why the hell didn’t the father seek some form of therapy and counseling for his son once he started displaying those behaviors. I can’t imagine any mentally stable adult would not have said something or sought outside help if their child began to act out in such a way.

    Oh, and I agree with the poster upthread who commented that it is rare for a child to display that sort of behavior and not have been victim to some form of sexual abuse before in his past. We are lead to believe that this family is the black version of the Cleavers (from ‘Leave it to Beaver’), but somehow, out of nowhere, the boy develops some weird sexual attraction to his father…wtf?

  • Cat

    All of you people complaining about race make me sick. Everyone pulls the race card lately and it’s one hundred percent unecessary. This movie had nothing to do with race. The way you describe the use of race in movies makes me think you want every movie re-made multiple times by all different races just so it wouldn’t be “racist”. You put a black guy on tv and his friend teases him and everyone goes and pulls the race card. Ridiculous.

    The actors were great in portraying what they had to. Whether you liked the movie or not, there’s no denying that. I can NOT seem to understand why anyone would ever be trying to turn this story on race. So sad.

  • Netta

    Dark, absolutely. Comedy, no. I have to wonder how the director could find anything remotely “comedic” about the subject of incest. That being said, it was very well done, short or otherwise.

  • Timcampi

    Psychopathy and Being a Rapist are two different things entirely -___- Are you kidding me? Not all rapists fit the traits of a psychopath… in fact many of them don’t. What on god’s green earth made you make that assumption? Also did it occur to you that a younger person raping an older person (especially male) could be a source of embarrassment which is WHY no one, especially the victim, would mention it? Who would believe it? You yourself called in unrealistic.

    Also there have been more a dozen fair shares of cases where children become sexually attracted to parents, siblings, and cousins. Look up Genetic Sexual Attraction and all related articles. Hell, there have been rapes as well. But I’m not going to bother linking those.

    If you watched the movie… the sexual attraction didn’t sprout from nowhere. It was made clear from the beginning of the movie. It only ADVANCED into rape. The video even makes the point of noting several times when the child’s attraction to his father was ignored in denial or embarrassment. He wrote it on the computer when comprising the Cocoon Man write-up. The son even screams it during the final scenes. “Everything I did you did it with me,” i.e. no one stopped him.

    As for your comments about nipping it in the bud: you clearly don’t know how psychopathy OR interfamilial rape works. If you noticed, this movie largely took place within doors. The family was trying to hide the SHAME of it all. Rational was not part of the equation. Emotion and hurt was.

    All in all you are welcome to your opinion, but don’t make ingenious nonsensical statements. Also I’m pretty sure most movies aren’t the slightest bit realistic. You’re going to tell me that Hollywood is realistic? Riiiigggghhhhht.

  • jamii

    He (Aster) said the film was supposed to be a dark comedy. I thought it was just dark, really dark!

  • Alicia Fiasco

    I’m not sure if this was supposed to be funny, but I laughed anyway. I mean, honestly, I don’t buy the whole idea that a child can molest a parent. That has to be the most contrived plot I’ve heard in a long while, so I could totally see this as a dark comedy. But it lacked anything funny other than the sad sack characters.

  • twitternamestudyTHISstar

    This was my first time watching this film and I can honestly say it was good. This short-film kept me on the edge of my seat and I could pin-point where the genre “dark-comedy” came from. I would love to see more though, 30 more mins perhaps? A little more details? Get a little deeper into the plot, how it all started? Why didn’t the father react like he should of? He was a married man.
    Does this author/director have any other interesting films ?
    * Great acting, BTW.
    @studyTHISstar @studyTHISstar @studyTHISstar #teamfollowback.

  • Mkazi

    @LesBoom, seen it. And have read about it at length. That’s a good example of a film that’s critiquing the stereotype of a happy, stable family because the family is already a STEREOTYPICAL representation of what is “supposed” to be a happy stable family. Black families are stereotypically supposed to be dysfunctional, so “The Strange Thing….” doesn’t quite work as a critique of THAT in my opinion.

    @Timcampi, there are plenty PLENTY of ways to make dark, subversive roles with Black characters that don’t rely on the same, tired old stereotype of a hypersexual, aggressive black man in a dysfunctional black family. Please. And in a culture where there is a serious lack of/distorted view of black men and black families I think some of us have a right to complain LOUDLY when we see the same ish recycled over and over and over again.

  • Mkazi

    If race has nothing to do with this movie, then why is it on a BLACK blog? And not just this one but several other BLACK blogs? Oh, that’s right because it features Black characters. So race does play an issue in how audiences receive it. If this was a film about white people, it would not be on here we aallll know that. So obviously we will read it as a story about not just “a family” but specifically a “BLACK” family and all that implies in the context of this society and this historical moment.

    Let’s not pretend race doesn’t exist, or that its something so trivial as a “card” that can played whenever we want to.

  • Timcampi


    Explain to me this hyper-sexuality. Because last I checked, rape was not the inability to control ones urges. It is the willingness to control another’s. The son explicitly defines what he does as an act of love shared by his father. That is a realm of dysfunction that in capsulizes a totally different set of symptoms.

    Also to me it’s still insulting to say that these actors are doing nothing more than adhering to some BS stereotype. There’s a lot more going on in the story than one realizes at first glance. It’s pretty brilliant. To me it wasn’t a black family with some kinda dysfunction. It was just A FAMILY dealing with a rather private and emotional dilemma. The madness in the son was eerie. It was way more thoughtful than any “oh the black man is always an evil creature in the eyes of white men” spiel you can give me. Did you even listen to their lines? It was chillingly on point– classic victim/abuser relationship. The roles of protector and father were completely subverted. Forgive me if I think you are over simplifying this movie based on skin tone. Are you sure you’re not the one whose ideals are racially charged? Btdub where in my comment did I say you weren’t allowed to feel the way you do. Haha. You have the right to complain but at least make sense.

    I never drag race behind me wherever I go, so forgive me if I can’t see it your way. If you can explain to me your ideas surrounding the son’s hypersexuality then I will listen. But everything you said above sounded like a fancy way of saying nothing but being offended at everything (no offense). Tell me why this movie offended you other than the fact that a black man wasn’t doing the right/good thing. You might have to get mad at Law and Order: SVU too. In this season they had a black man rape a pretty white [Read: Blonde] woman. Clearly, that makes them all racially insensitive a-holes.

  • BeautyIAM

    Wow, In-ter-esting. LOL. I’m not sure what to make of it. It was acted beautifully. The story definitely left a lot to be imagined. I think that is good because as a viewer, you can conjure up so many things that you might drive yourself crazy. I’m pretty sure this short will be deleted from my mind in a few months, but in the mean time it left me confused.

  • pretty Cute

    Please share….what IS the most disturbing movie you’ve seen??

  • ManwithnoName

    I don’t get this movie, why didn’t the father just overpower his scrawny ass son and end this bullshit?

    It makes no sense having such a weak looking son overpowering and raping his apparently beta submissive idiot father. I don’t get the hype around this movie, it really seems quite dumb and the entire time I just didn’t believe it and thought the father should stop being such a bitch and man up and put his son in line.

    Instead both parents are weak and submissive and let their son do anything he wants. Fucking stupid.

  • ruggie

    This is a diabolical film, masked as a well-shot, well-acted comedy. It is artfully made “since Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light” (2 Corinthians 11:14). A film like this is made to de-sensitize and normalize this type of thing in people’s minds and get folks to laugh at, intellectualize – and eventually accept as OK – the behaviors depicted.

    If you want to see a film that deals with these issues in a way that can help people overcome abuse, check out the Danish film “Festen.”

  • JanetDoe

    This was an extremely unsettling film. By ALL means. I agree with what a previous commenter said on it being well made but with no plans to watch it again. I am appalled that this film was set as a “dark comedy” I’m not convinced. I think of a film like “Welcome to the dollhouse” or The director/writer made it so it would leave a wide eyed perversion watching this.
    I will say it was well made and the cinematography was on point. I have a question to the commenters out of curiosity: would your view on the film be slightly altered had the director been black?

  • mina

    @Timcampi: Aren’t you being overly critical of JaeBee’s valid points? I think you can strongly disagree with someone’s post and not be so rude as you came across in your response. I’m glad that something has come out that has made so many of us talking but we can be respectful of others opinions.

    A few posters have commented on the problematic nature of the film given that black men are often portrayed as hyper-sexual and criminal in many fictional and real-life media outlets. I think these posters and opinions are valid as we are very cautious of how we are being presented given the history of how the majority of the creators of media and pop culture have a very low regard for us.

    I will say what I really enjoyed about this film was that the way the family was portrayed. They could have been ANY family: Asian, Black, White, Latino, and the shock would have been the same. The family’s race is not a highlight of the film, they are seen as a otherwise normal family, a middle class black family is seen as a default and not something special, which is what I hope to see one day in regards to big Hollywood productions.

    You’re right in that many films that portray sexual crimes are presented with a white family, so for many this film is pretty shocking.

    You mentioned genetic sexual attraction, but this usually occurs when members of the same family don’t live together at a very young age or mostly lived apart from one another. The effect I was talking about is called The Westermarck Effect, which would have not increased one’s attraction but decrease it. This is why the character’s attraction is so shocking to me. If anything the film has interested me in what cause incestuous desires.

  • mina


  • Miriam

    This is totally Satanic to me… This disgusting behavior… God help us all…

  • Esme

    hmmm……so now the pedophiles have a film to support their cause.

  • Trina Roach

    Thank you so much for mentioning “Festen”! I accidently tuned into it one night on TV and was absolutely bowled away by the sheer force of the story. So poignant, extremely good acting and wonderful direction.

    Although I’m all for artistic freedom in most cases, children are being so sexualized in today’s society, I’m sorry that I have to agree with your assessment that projects like this (in other words, not necessarily this film, but the bulk of material that’s now out there) may work towards normalizing not only incest, but also pedophilia.

  • Shaddae

    I literary discussed the film with my friends for the entire afternoon. It was beautifully made and extremely thought provoking.

    I can’t make a morality judgement on the race issue because I don’t know the dynamics of the cast/crew. I would like to think that they got the best actors for the role. I thought they were so believable, specially the mother/wife. Her pain was evident in every scene after the wedding.

    I would love a full length feature, maybe a back story. I wanted to see how Isaiah interacted with his father prior to the abuse. I wanted to meet Isaiah’s wife. I wanted to see how his dominant personality served him outside of the destructive relationship he was engaged in with Sydney.

    The only suggestion I would have is that Ari Aster work on his interview skills. I think chalking it up to “a joke” is very disappointing and takes away from the work. You have made something here. Something that makes people feel. Own it.


  • lala

    Well I actually laughed not because it was funny but because it was so shocking and absurd. People often laugh when they dont know how to react. So I can understand why its actually labeld dark comedy.

    Also I think a lot of people dont get the story line of course a son whould not molest his father in real life. The thing about it was if there was a role reversal it would be even a 1000X more harder to watch for most people.

    In this short movie they are showing you how abuse works: The anxiety, the fear, the power, people in the family who look away and dont want to aknowledge what is exactly happening, The victim speaking up and getting ignored. These are all reallife things that happen. And I think this video was put out there to make people more aware and also adress those people right now who are watching and they know that something like this happend in there family. Its a wake-up call to those to stop keeping a blind eye.

    And the best way to tell this story was to use this charaters. So no I doesnt have to do with any weak -minded father if that the only thing you got from this video then you missed or didnt understand the message.

  • Beautiful Mic

    I was slow ‘getting it’. When I discovered the filmmaker was white, at first, I had no appreciation for how he depicted, not just black males and the black family, but the black male child as demonic – as if he was born that way (or would evolve that way with no negative influence).

    But, then, I saw the satire involved. It’s still not funny to me, but it’s well done. And I can appreciate the fact that this filmmaker made such a daring, and unique, move – this made people think. I also appreciated seeing ‘other’ black actors (who are stellar in their ability, by the way) besides who we always tend to see in black cast films.

    What I also find interesting is that this film clip was actually released a year ago, last fall, and has already made it’s film festival run. It’s only 29 minutes long, but it was like watching a full feature film.

    This Aster guy is pretty incredible.

  • Tina

    I know this is a movie/drama–but let me say, art imitates life. Furthermore, a few of you all’s comments are disturbing because I now see the problem with this society and why abuse is allowed to be so complacent in its many forms.

    Most of the people on here talking about this is ‘unrealistic’ are making me sick and are also silently being complacent and an accomplice in the face of abuse of any kind. The fact of the matter is THIS type of abuse does exist. Yea, you may not have heard of it, but that doesn’t mean it’s not out there.

    The fact that you deny it or find it unrealistic INFURIATES me because this is the exact type of response many victims of abuse expect to hear or encounter if they ever were to expose or tell about what happened to them. The fact that one denies their traumatic experience is dis-empowering and depressing in itself. It further encourages them to never speak out. Even morso for people in ‘unconventional’ abuse cases– such as parent (sexual) abuse.

    Something is seriously wrong with the people talking about ” oh why didn’t the father fight back….this film is emasculating…. the dad was physically bigger than the son/wtf is wrong with him?”—- Really?

    1. The father didn’t fight back? Do most rape victims fight back like you would ‘expect’ them to? For repeated rape victims–it’s not about the physical, it’s about the power and MENTAL power at that. It’s a process that is thoroughly complex and should not be simplified.
    2. Emasculating? The very notion of the way we construct gender in this society DISCOURAGES male abuse victims from ever reporting anything EXACTLY because of that claim. They believe it’s a stain on their masculinity, someone will accuse them of being gay or that because they are a man/boy they CLEARLY wanted it because if not they would have fought them off and etc.

    It’s sad, and you few commenter are only reinforcing the roadblocks that prevent victims from speaking up.

    It’s sad that the ONLY thing a few of the ppl on here can get from this film is the fact that the family was black and “OMG OMG OMG what will this short little film do the face and reputation of the black community” and OMG OMG OMG, another film ‘negatively’ depicting a Black person. Despite the fact, the victim is black. BTW, *newsflash: there are some bad black people out there.

    Get over it. There’s a bigger message.

    I actually applaud Clutch for featuring this. Continue to post more things that push people’s awareness or comfort levels and forces them to critically think. It seems like many on here need that type of practice. By all means, air all dirty laundry too because we certainly can’t move forward if we don’t acknowledge most of our jacked up shit.

  • lala

    Preach ! I was also shocked by the comments showing that a great deal of the viewers didnt really understand the message of the video. Probably also the people who need to hear this stuff the most.

  • damidwif

    “2. Emasculating? The very notion of the way we construct gender in this society DISCOURAGES male abuse victims from ever reporting anything EXACTLY because of that claim. They believe it’s a stain on their masculinity, someone will accuse them of being gay or that because they are a man/boy they CLEARLY wanted it because if not they would have fought them off and etc.”

    good stuff

    emasculating is thrown around waaay too much and unnecessarily

  • Ms.A

    Try watching the whole movie first

  • AllisonMG

    Thank you for this comment Tina! I completely agree! I can’t believe some of the comments on here, you think we’d be more open-minded. Anyone can be a victim.

    Very interesting film and very well made.

  • really

    its not funny but i did laugh when i actually looked back and thought about the movie after watching it because the movie is so far-fetched.

  • Grant

    I’m very mad that this story about a queer Black family was written by a White man. This was just fun for him not real!

  • Trini


    Your comment deserves a standing ovation! Thank you for that!

  • Whatever

    I agree with Cree and i don’t understand why it’s even being boasted as great or thought provoking. It’s dark, yes, that true. And that’s about it other than the fact that it has shock value. I also never understood the hype around “Precious” either. People were acting like it was a true story or something.

  • Bisous

    @Les Boom I saw Happiness. I was going to recommend that in comparison until i saw your comment. I actually enjoyed Hapiness, but I tend to go for movies with dark wry humor. I like most of Todd Solondz films. I believe both movies attempt to discuss the difference between what a happy family looks like on the surface, but what dark things they harbor just beneath the surface. Something about dark comedy just feels a little more natural to me than slapstick. that being said. I prefer Happiness over this and it was ALOT more risque. Dealing with suicide, extortion, pedophilia, infidelity (that’s the short list) and still managing to be funny. Some people won’t get it MOST people won’t like it. I found the strange thing about the johnson’s to be a bit heavyhanded and over acted in parts, but as far as outrage it PALES in comparison to Happiness, Palindromes or many other dark comedies. The fact that the family is black didn’t even cross my mind…

  • Whatever

    I have seen “Happiness” as well as “Welcome to the Dollhouse” by the same director. What I am waiting to see is the portrayal of a dysfunctional Jewish family written and directed by a black man….

  • apple

    lets do a short film on something from the bible
    with no editing out events

    lets see how that disturbs people

  • Whatever

    This film was made solely for shock value so all i have to do is not support it and move on. However, for everyone that thinks race is not a big issue here, what you will NEVER see in hollywood is a film portraying a dysfunctional Jewish family written and directed by a black man/woman.

    Of course the family could have been any race and maybe there was a specific reason Ari (the Jewish writer/director) chose to use a middle class black family. Whatever. But please let’s not play the naive role when it comes to race. We are underrepresented and misrepresented in the media all the time so I don’t see anything wrong with being over critical about the way we are portrayed on film.

    As a major supporter and kickstarter backer for ABG, all over the internet black women (and men) are hollering “YES” and “FINALLY” at projects like this because it sheds light on a part of us that we rarely see in the media. Why? because it’s refreshing to see positive images. The director himself said it was a “JOKE” so don’t get all deep with the “thought provoking” interpretations.

  • JaeBee

    TimCampi, it is clear that you are a troll and have some serious issues that you probably need to work through with medication and counseling. I’m not gonna waste my time trying to explain myself to you when it’s clear that you’re only here (on this website) to try to incite flame wars.

  • LemonNLime

    I was afraid to watch this after reading the comments but I think Tina stated it beautifully. While I’m sure that many people feel that this could never happen but this doesn’t mean it doesn’t. I found myself not even noticing that they were black, I couldn’t focus on race when I literally felt pain in my heart for the poor man who had to endure this. I was not only disgusted by the son but also by the mother who turned a blind eye to the abuse her husband endure. She is as much of a monster as her son.

    Personally I don’t get all of the race comments. I would expect s%$# like this to happen in a white family somewhere I would not expect it in a black family even a dysfunctional one. Maybe that is why a black family was chosen, it is not what the audience would find typical. Yes, there are evil people out there and some of them are black so to imply that black people can’t/shouldn’t be in complex and disturbing roles, not just crap like RHOA, Madea, or a VH1 reality TV show, is ridiculous and belittling to these actors who are more than just a black face. It is not their job to represent ALL black people because they are playing a character! Anyone who is so dense that they can’t understand that probably shouldn’t be watching TV anyway. These were very intense roles for actors to take and it pushes the envelope on ideas like traditional masculinity (possibly another reason black people were chosen), abuse, who victims tend to be stereotyped as.

    The acting and filming was great (if literally felt anxious the entire time) but anyone, director included, who intended for a film about abuse to be funny is sick and twisted.

  • Bisous

    @Whatever I don’t know about Jewish, but the black director Steve McQueen has a movie called shame about a man battling sex addiction and trying to reconnect with his overbearing sister whom he hasn’t seen in many years. It recieved a NC-17 rating and is supposed to be very risque incluing the unclear relationship between the brother and sister. I heard it’s very well acted and deals head on with very salacious subject matter.
    If you not familiar with Steve McQueen see his film Hunger which talks about the grim fate of a Hunger strike lead by imprisoned protestors. It’s VERY violent, but the dialogue and cinematography are AMAZING. He won several high profile awards and a couple BAFTA noms for it. It’s his debut film.
    He’s an INCREDIBLE director one of my favorites in addition to being black. One to keep an eye on.

  • TfmNJ

    This gives the people over at NAMBLA a leg to stand on…..but it was still a well done film

  • ladyb23

    I’m just glad the mother beat the crap outta her son. He needed it!!!!!

  • LemonNLime

    She is just bad as her son! She called him a monster but I didn’t see her doing anything to help the husband she supposedly loved, crap she even turned the TV up so she wouldn’t have to hear the screams of him being raped!

  • Cree

    Well, I think it’s sad that people have to focus solely on the message and throw “everything else” aside.. There is a lot to be said outside of any plot of a movie. The setting, the cast, the characters, the time period the film was made in, the intentions of the people who made the movie…..Plot/message is not the end all, be all.

    It’s sad that you want to control the conversation. Let things organically flow. If I want to talk about the black male casting, let me talk about, and I’ll let you do the same.

    The reason I didn’t talk about this If this movie affected me in the manner that it affected you, as in you found it interesting, perhaps I would have found that worthy of discussing. What was I supposed to learn from this film that I don’t already know? What did this film teach me? I think abuse is often times depicted in a cliche manner, and I think this film was cliche. Ooh, the abuser was a son. Maybe he was the original victim and then ended up turning tables on the initial abuser. Then the man couldn’t handle what he did, tragically (and very conveniently) died, and the son got his ass beat. Whoo, I’m sure glad he got what he deserved!!!! The mother turned a blind eye in the beginning, but now she stabbed him!!!


    Artistically speaking, this was not thought provoking to me at all. Now if you’re just hung up on the “what if” and incest/abuse is not something that you usually are confronted with, or haven’t seen depicted in a work of literature, by all means, be amazed. But we all don’t have to zero in on the same things.

    I am an advocate for great stories being told, and especially abuse victims having their stories told. I think it is a disservice to the population of abused people to want to give kudos to a film that falls flat from having a message. Do not be blinded. Abuse is in the story. It is the plot. Is this really a touching story about abuse, or is it a weird story that has abuse in it? I would think the latter.

    Where are the arcs of the characters? The fact that the dad dies is just something to neatly tie up the pandora’s box by being the first one to start that relationship with his son. The son grows up and is an asshole who really doesn’t do much to show how an abused victim might grow to love the person who inflicted the pain, and then reverse it? What was the real message in this movie? Someone please explain. Or does the fact that there is abuse negate the fact for any real message?

  • http://@clnmike Clnmike

    Well… was……..very…….creative and well produced…….damn that was just weird in a cool way……but definitely weird. I think people should be careful about over analyzing this, its just a story where the cast is black, change the color and the effect would be the same.

  • Laina

    That is the weirdest piece of I have ever seen. I am stil searching for a brown paper bag to puke in. Talk about giving me the creeps. Why did that movie have to be made with Black folks. Just plain yuck. Yeah I watched the whole thing after I said I wasn’t going to watch it at all. That stuff might happen, but in what percent of the population. I don’t understand the point other than to show us in a negative light again.

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  • Cynthia

    I’m very appalled at all those comments that are more concerned with the race of the cast than the fact that incest and abuse are widespread in our community and we can no longer hide behind the mask of race when it comes to these issues. Seriously, did any of you who were so preoccupied with race get anything out of the film? These diseases are ruining Black America and other ethnic minority groups and until we face the issue and call it for what it is we are only going to self-destruct.

  • CocoPuffs

    You know what, maybe it’s just the way I am and the fact that I’m just not easily shocked by things, but it didn’t mess me up as much as I thought I would be. It is a disturbing incest story but at the same time, it’s not like I’ve never heard of this stuff happening before. I guess for super Christians it “fucks you up” or whatever but I just found it to be a typical disturbing story about a sexually abused boy. It’s well put together, but I’m just trying to understand everyone else’s shock value of it.

  • CocoPuffs

    I personally don’t feel that the film was THAT disturbing….people were telling me that it would “mess me up” and whatever so I watched it, and I’m just sitting here like….it’s a typical incest story about a father and a son….i didn’t get “messed up”….I do feel like the story line was very good & thought out and they deserved that award, but at the same time I didn’t understand the “shock factor” that everyone else saw while watching the movie….yes it was typically disturbing but at the same time, It’s not like no one else could’ve thought of it…

  • Simone L

    Disturbing so far, yet the family was racially ambiguous…nothing stereotypical. I’m sorry. I’m not gonna get my titties all rolled up because the family was black. We hear about young men raping their grandmothers and so on and so forth…do we thing about race then, or the crime? I mean get off it. We can’t make everything a color thing.

  • Simone L

    I see a bigger issue with the fact that the son’s wife was wearing white sandals with black stockings and a purple dress. THAT is an issue.

  • entro

    Lol !! you are crazy
    I couldnt watch the whole thing it just made me sick

  • Bunyn

    Yeah um…this is too much for me. And I don’t mean the incest part, I got desensitized after halfway through (no, I’m not saying it’s not bad/wrong/gross/scary–it is!) but I’m more concerned for the son’s acting. He was just…doing too much for me? Or something.

  • @me

    People need to realize that our stories need to be told, not just the uplifting and inspiring ones but also the tragic and unfortunate stories. I enjoyed watching the movie, not in the sense that it was funny or easy to watch but that it opened my eyes to something that we rarely see; an upper-middle class AA family dealing with with the family dynamics of incest being perpetrated by the son onto the father. Some of the acting was a bit overdone, especially the son reacting as his father was lying on the ground (i.e. prancing around like he had to pee) but overall it was suspenseful and well done.

  • African Mami


    This was more than disturbing! Was the son abusing the father?! How can a grown man let his son do that…I am confused! Can somebody break it down because that was not incest, that was the DEVIL….I WENT TO HELL and back on earth after watching that!

  • WhatIThink

    LOL! I see why the director may have called the film a joke. It is over the top and extreme to the point of being unbelievable…..

  • tony r

    You have to acknowledge this is a strange situation and probably a bit unrealistic. But, I feel the message is that you have to be careful what and when you tell your kids “it’s perfectly normal”.

  • Etania

    I do not understand why this was made and why Clutch put it up. Movie was not riveting, but a hot mess and disturbing. I understand that all stories need to be told but I still do not understand how the father could have let his son sexually and mentally abuse him.

  • sli

    I should have turned that sh*t off when they showed the boy jerking off on his father’s picture, but D*MN, D*MN, D*MN, I just had to keep watching. I was initially disturbed, woke up the next morning with the father’s face in my head. He looks weird. I have since had time to think about the movie, and it really is a nonracial story, as a few people have already alluded to. Isn’t this what we wanted, to see black actors in non-stereotypical roles? Why all the complaints? Are we ever going to be satisfied? The acting, however, and a couple of the scenes were a little over the top–like when the son kicks in the door and gets in the tub, with his shoes and ALL his clothes on, but I suppose that is the purpose of dark comedy, to go over the top for shock value. This happens in families all over the world, so being a little extra in order to get a message across if fine with me. The truth is sometimes uncomfortable to face, especially if it hits close to home.

  • Nadine W

    That was one crazy movie. All I can say is ‘damn’. But the people who complained because it was a Black family should really get over themselves. Sexual abuse within families occurs in ALL races, just like it does in all income levels. It’s not something that only happens to ‘other’ people. For many people (Blacks included), this IS their reality.

  • MommieDearest

    OMG! I thought it was just me. LOL!!!!

    BTW that wig she was wearing was HORRID.

  • MommieDearest

    OMG! I thought it was just me. LOL!!!

    BTW that wig she was wearing was HORRID.

  • July

    I was traumatized after watching the first scene y’all!

  • Lawrence

    That is right. When I watched the movie, I didn’t read the description or anything. My friend just told me to check it out. While watching it, I noticed how the roles weren’t racially based. It is as if the story was written, and the race of the actors was decided later. This could have been a white family and they wouldn’t have had to change one thing in the script. I don’t know why the cast is black, but it doesn’t matter to me. That’s not the point.
    These types of things do happen. Since we can barely talk about homosexuality in the black community, an issue like this would certainly be ultra-taboo.
    Movies like these that are different and disturbing usually feature white actors so I like to see that we can have different roles in movies. What’s wrong with seeing a black mad scientist or ghost in a horror movie. We shouldn’t limit ourselves from certain stories and roles simply because we are afraid of promoting stereotypes.

  • TheBlackBelle

    Wow! This has been one of the most thought provoking films I have ever seen.It truly sheds light on the not so common role reversal incest. The entire family always kept silent about the situation, which was shocking. I was most surprised by the father’s reaction because I mistaked him to be an alpha-male. I directly went back to the stereotypical thoughts of the black family dynamic, which was so misleading! I loved how this got my thought process to work and wold love to see more films from this director.

  • bosslady

    LMAO, you’re crazy!!

  • African Mami


    I disagree with you wholeheartedly. The director was not trying to send you to the psych ward, not at all. Shock value-YES! But it was not the premise of it.When I saw the boy holding the picture of his dad….I done died and went to heaven. Could this be a reality in some people’s lives….quite possibly. It definitely does not fit the NORM of crazy, this one takes it to the next level. I think you dismissed it prematurely. Give it another try! If you faint, I’ll be here to hold you. If your faculties upstairs render you unstable…DIVORCE!

  • meKk

    the most disturbing movie i’ve personally watched is ken park….this one is almost as disturbing though and I didn’t even watch the whole thing

  • meKk

    this…as long as it’s artistic…anything goes…

  • Oh bother

    This was a very thought provoking story. Very disturbing. I would not be able to watch it again but it was well done. Art forms are supposed to make you feel. And the thing about sexual assault is that it is not about the person’s size. It’s psychological. This film didn’t make me think “well how did he let his son do that to him”. It made me think “how can anyone abuse another human being and think it’s ok”. Wow.

  • Diva

    OOOOOOH….WoooooW! This film unfortunately, is not strange or rare enough in our world today.. This is a frighting look at the lack of communication within a family that knows nothing about true Love and Respect. The Mother was truly aware of the Sick relationship between her Husband and Son from the beginning, and put it on “ICE”…. Melt Down at it’s Worse!!!

  • Isis

    Wow!! Quite disturbing

  • Guulo

    I’m 10 minutes into watching this…….*cringe* sickening, i refuse to believe this happens! I want to belief this shit doesn’t happen! Uffff! God!

    *exhales and inhales*

  • Guyana

    I appreciate the fact that some people have pointed out that abuse is much more than physical dominance and control. However, the power dynamics in a parent/child relationship are generally such that a kid can’t abuse an adult. The child is physically and emotionally dependent on the adult, so the adult sets the boundaries, rules, and expectations. The movie suggests that the abuse started when the son was pretty young, so it seems that the father really did have the power to nip it in the bud.

    And no, I prolly wouldn’t use the words “stop being such a bitch,” or “man up,” but the father was capable of putting an end to the sexual nature of their relationship. As a father, it was his responsibility to protect his son from the pain, shame and confusion of an incestuous relationship. Perhaps I would think differently if this were a story of an isolated, elderly man being abused by his adult son, but it wasn’t.

    As for the concern that some of the comments here will be disempowering to actual abuse victims, I hope that’s not the case. To me, it seems just as risky to sympathize with the grown man who didn’t seem to resist the son’s sexual advances. I’m no psychologist, but I’m willing to bet there are a lot more victims of child sexual abuse than victims of the type of abuse portrayed in this film. This film portrays a scenario in which the kid is supposedly the perpetrator of the abuse. In real life, that is almost never the case. And even if it were, it is an adult’s responsibility to end it and get the kid some help. The whole idea that sexual abuse can be a child’s fault in a parent-child relationship is a detestable lie.

    All that being said, this film was really engaging. I was pretty invested in the story and its characters, but I think I lean more toward viewing the parents as antagonists/bad parents. I don’t see how anyone could view it as a joke.

  • Lola

    Thank you Clutch for letting me know about this movie. I just watched it on YouTube and I thought it was great. It was as disturbing and funny as it was supposed to be. I honestly think people are making this movie about race. This is a subject that’s uncommon in popular media no matter what race the actors are. If it were Chinese, Mexican, and yes White I would feel the same way about the movie. Honestly I think that the director using an all Black cast made it even more ridiculous and helps to make it that more of a comedy. Let’s face it, if it were a White cast not only would more than half of the people complaining about it wouldnt have even heard about the movie (including myself), but they probably would assume that its based on someone’s true story.

    This movie is hilarious. The guy who played the father nailed the character completely. I,ve seen the mother and the wife in other movies. Would love to see the father and son in others as well.

    I thank everyone for causing unnecessary controversy. Couldn’t have heard about this movie otherwise.

  • Jonston

    I don’t know. I thought it was kinda funny. Also, the young bride was super cute. Not nearly enough screen time for her.

  • B

    Co-sign. You are exactly right.

  • B

    I’m sorry, but only a white person can try to make something as sick, evil, and traumatic as incest/rape into a comedy. I didn’t laugh once, though I noticed all the moments where I was supposed to laugh. Yes, the film was well shot and fairly well acted, but I agree with another commenter who suggested that “dark-comedy” films like this are insidious in that they subtly de-sensitize us to horrors like incest/rape. But hey, maybe they get us talking about stuff like that as well. So, job well done?

    I wish I could unwatch this film. And, no I don’t care that the family is black. This could have easily been a white family, or an Asian family, etc. (Check out the early 2000s indie film HAPPINESS). As far as I’m concerned this family’s race is irrelevant and the real focus of discussion should be incest/rape.

    And, no, I don’t believe for a second that the boy just woke up one day and started sexually desiring his father. That kind of sh*t only happens once the father has initiated the sexual relationship. Period. (But I don’t know if we were supposed to believe that….)

  • Anon

    I didn’t laugh at all. I don’t see why you think rape and sexual abuse is funny in the first place.

  • Melissa

    I think it was called Good Bye Uncle Tom. It was a foreign film about a film crew doing a documentary on slavery. It was worse than a B movie but the graphic scenes showing how Africans were treated during the slave trade sickened me. I NEVER want to see it again.

  • http:// Deborah

    The reason the father didn’t nip it in the bud is because he wanted it in the beginning also. That’s what he was saying in the few sentences that were showing on the computer before he deleted the document.

  • BeautyIAM

    Yeah….because we all know white people are the only race that can commit evil sexual crimes. Why don’t you open a book or search the internet for sexual crimes committed by many people of different races and genders. And people say black people cannot be racist……

  • Hiphopmommie

    Wow… this was disturbing and interesting at the same time. I had to watch the end, but I had trouble watching the middle. The son was evil!!!

    It’s a film people!!!…. a short story, it’s someone showing their creativity and they are telling another kind of story whether it is believable to you or not.

  • Slaker

    You don’t get to open with “only a white person can try to make something as sick, etc…” and then say race is irrelevant to this discussion and the focus should be on the abuse.

    I happen to agree that the focus of discussion should be on abuse, but you are the one making it about race.

  • B

    @Slaker: “You don’t get to open with “only a white person can try to make something as sick, etc…” and then say race is irrelevant to this discussion and the focus should be on the abuse.” Touche. You are right. I can admit when I’ve been rightfully and justifiably called out. Although I will qualify that I was not trying to make my comment about race, but I clearly did. My bad.
    @BeautyIam: reading is fundamental. I said they are the only ones who could turn such a thing into comedy. Only an idiot would think or suggest that sexual abuse is specific to one race of people. And nowhere in my comment do I make such an idiotic suggestion.

  • Kelly

    This is a sick and idiotic movie. This is not how incest manifests itself. I resent that I white man wrote and directed this about a black family, and don’t know why black actors would participate, besides needing work. If the director want to take the issue of incest and sensationalize it into an unlikely sick scenario to titilate viewers in way that leads to abosolutely no further understanding what so ever about the reality of incest he should have used actor from his own ethnic group… we don’t need any more gratuitously twisted portrayals of African Americans in this racist culture.

  • Teddy

    race doesn’t mean anything in this story people. Focus on the message/story. ps. The son was a bit dramatic at parts right?

  • PattyBee

    Very Disturbing…I Cant watch it again, please dont show this to your kids. even though its a short film real or fake story about a family. If I was the father I would of put a stop to it on the first assault. The son character is ridicilus. I dont approve for this short film to be in no media. My head is hurting, this film sad, disturbing, and any bad description anyone can name..

  • desertvoice

    Thought-provoking and turns everything around. Having seen weird stuff growing up related to sexual abuse and incest, I know anything is possible. I was fortunate it never touched me. This could have been stopped long ago if the mother had dealt with it when she first became aware of it.

    That’s the takeaway message for me: when you first discover a problem, deal with it right away before it festers and goes out of control.

  • Bre

    This movie sucked just like the boy did his father at his wedding. This was a waist of my time and energy.

  • Kyaira

    Instead of “Be warned: It may be disturbing to some viewers.” It should say “Be Warned: Not safe of life.”

  • JXL

    From a cinematic standpoint this film is great. The visualization, the story line… From a moralistic standpoint however, it’s rather disturbing. I like it!

  • joeclyde

    I agree somewhat with you. It does seem interesting. That anything to displays black men in a negative light. It is “ground breaking, and though provoking” Especially, if a white man is behind it.

  • Alex

    Great film. a new aspect as to how incest can be portrayed through a much different view than one thinks. great directing and originality. actors had some flaws throughout the film but all in all it pulled together to make what i can possible consider the most intriguing short film i have seen this year.

  • madame dinero

    Well DAYUM!!!!!

    It wasnt as bad as i thought it was going to be considering all of the hype that has surrounded this movie.. BRAVO =)

  • Q

    There are a couple big flaws or holes with your line of thinking.

    1) “kid can’t abuse an adult”
    You see this EVERYWHERE. How many times have you been at a grocery store and some spoiled brat is yelling at their parents for not buying them candy? And their parents just sit there and take it? How many times have you seen a person yelling at their parents on the phone for whatever reason? Even a child throwing a temper tantrum in a public place (which I KNOW you’ve seen) is a shining example of how a child can have power over an adult. Child to parent abuse happens A LOT. We’re all humans, even parents. Parents are subject to abuse by their children very easily. It generally stems from the parent wanting to “do what’s best” for their child or “do what makes them happy.” In the beginning, you can see how much the dad cares for his kid, you can see how apologetic the dad is. It shouldn’t be hard to see how this could grow into an abusive relationship once the child learns that he can take advantage of his father’s love.

    2) You keep saying things like “In real life, that is almost never the case.”
    I would agree here, but just because it isn’t common, does not mean it doesn’t exist. It is obvious that this is probably a very rare case but that is exactly what makes it intriguing.

    3) The dad may have also wanted it (be it for sexual pleasure, or to please his son, etc) but soon realized how it had transformed his son and their relationship. He may have succumbed to his own desires and realized too late what the consequences were. But once you’re in an abusive relationship, how do you get out? It’s easy to see how a woman can be controlled by an abusive man. Why can’t the same be done here? Especially if the dad does not have it in him to fight back with a son he obviously loves. His unwillingness to fight back along with the emotional blackmail the son had over the dad in this situation would be a powerful thing.

    I do agree with you that the parents could have kept this entire situation from ever happening but then this wouldn’t be a very interesting story now, would it?

  • fuchsia

    Someone mentioned the film Precious earlier and I remember my mother and I going to see the movie because we wanted to see a film with black characters and our only other option at the time was The Princess and the Frog. Anyway we both left the movie feeling absolutely wretched and joked that we would have been better off seeing The Princess Frog. I have nothing against thought provoking movies but movies that make you feel bad for long time after aren’t worth the time and money to me anymore. Generally the only good thing about this film was the ending, which was as tragic as the rest of it.

  • Bebela

    The wife sickened me, her delusion and obvious notice of her husbands regret made her absolutely revolting. She gets a lot of blame here too.

    I think the fact that the family was black made it so much more interesting in my opinion. I always thought of men, and especially black men, as macho and overpowering. It blew my mind and broke any barriers in my head about stereotypes.

    Abuse happens. Everywhere. To Anyone.

  • Bebela

    Tell me you haven’t met people as verbally abusing and controlling as the son in the move. My whole family is like that.

  • Ava

    Unfortunately, many more parents are abused by their children than anyone will ever know. There is no justification for anyone abusing anyone else. Sad story, that is more true than we can imagine.

  • Anonymous

    This entire movie was a complete mess. The father enjoyed being abused. No reason for a grown ass man to let his own teenage (when it started) son, have sex with him and him do nothing about it. Especially since he was not physically disabled.

  • Judith

    In watching the “Strange Thing About the Johnsons”, I reflected on the historical experiences of Blacks in America. How did we come to acquire these aberate behaviors. So much abuse of our women and men during slavery; breaking up of our families; and, daily humiliation, denegration and sexual exploitation by slave masters and their households. Have we learned to seek love from “within” our family units because we could not have it “outside” during those times? Are we imitating our oppressors ancestral behaviors? It was not a norm for people of Africa. The family unit was protected and created the foundation for a community.
    Does this happen in America today? Is the “arrived’ mentality of Blacks to behave as their oppressors behave?
    There is a decline in morality and standards. Some even say an attack on the traditional family unit. Is this progress, or are we on the road to destroying our society from within?
    This short film may be an “artistic” view of life in one Black family. Yet, the media seems to thrive off of aberate, negative images of Blacks in the box office or on TV/Cable. unfortunately, our young people see these images and like the son intimated to the father… his (the father’s) participation in the incest and led the son to believe that there was something “normal” about their behaviors. It was a “normal’ expression of love.

  • http://lutch Don John

    I am reading these comments and I can not believe that people do not believe this can happen.
    Children can become sexually aggressive. We have this 18 century Big bad wolf /little Red Riding Hood mentality. All children are innocent and men are predators .
    We also do this with our perception of women. Men are strong bad beast.( The rapist ) Women are victims with big dresses and handkerchiefs with bows in the back of their heads
    Women can be predators. Men can be victims
    Children have their own minds.
    The movie also shows Aggressive and Abusive Spirits come in many packages ( young and old)
    Some children have very aggressive spirits. Some parents are sheep like and can not emotional manage their children
    This movie was well done. There are more children abusing there parents then you could ever imagine. !!!!!!!
    I heard of a father ( Black Nigerian ) whose grown son became sexually aggressive toward him
    He busted in his room while he was masturbating and wanted to perform an act on his father.
    Sexual aggression at the hands of a child is nothing new.
    Many boys secretly admire and are infatuated by their fathers ,older brothers strengths ,looks and want that love from them or want to be like them
    The love can be misplaced. It is up to the father to put it in perspective if such situation arises.
    It does happen…a lot.
    Black people get so narrow minded when it comes to this stuff. The movie is deeper than sex . The movie has to do with love misplaced on both ends .
    I WANT YOU TO MYSELF .!!!!! ALL OF YOU !!!!!!!!!!!!!! .
    Little girls do this with their fathers all the time !!!!!!!!!! Watch how little girls behave with their fathers. They are quite aggressive but because they do not have a penis we see them as harmless
    The father loved his son ( without sex)It also has to do with the sons selfishness and misplaced love WITH HIS FATHER. It also has to do with the fathers ego of having a son that loves him so much he wants him in all ways. Every father has a selfish ego of wanting to be a star in his childs world but when left unchecked monstrous things can happen
    The son loved his Dad but the sons love and admiring was unchecked and extremely misplaced
    Blacks need to open their eyes > Incest Reversal is centuries old
    KUDOS to the film maker!!!!

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  • Smartlady

    I am extremely impressed by the quality of filming-making in this short. I am sad that so many people choose to focus on race and not the powerful acting by the cast…the father was particularly compelling despite the few lines he actually delivered. The ending did somewhat spoil it, but I think this was the director’s way toe alleviate some of the darkness in the film. This is very different take on the Oedipus complex but instead of posing the question do all little boys sexuality their mothers and later find women who are similar to them, and instead says what if…a little boy so idolized his father thAt he developed sexual urges toward them. What’s more, so many people are upset Bout the graphic nature of the film, which is ironic being there is no nudity in the film and only two scenes of profanity. How is this any more disturbing than your typical lifetime movie? I think the acting is obviously way more superb.

  • Deirdre E Brown

    In being a black female and into psychology, I do agree that it has nothing to do with race but the inability to check one’s child. I also question if the father was ever sexual with his son when he was younger. Children if not guided through life appropriately can become abusive and aggressive with their parents. Abuse can be hard no matter who is doing what.

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