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They Call Us Monsters

HD   NR Closed Captioning

Ben Lear

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About the Movie

Juan, Jarad and Antonio, all between 14 and 16, face decades in prison. To pass the time, they sign up for a screenwriting class and collaborate on a short film about their lives, including Juan’s unrequited love for his childhood friend, Abigail. Halfway through the class, Antonio returns to juvenile court and gets released with time served. Back home, he struggles to avoid the same patterns that first got him locked up. Meanwhile, the realities of Jarad and Juan’s crimes set in. One of Jarad’s victims is only 17 herself and will be confined to a wheelchair for life. Juan faces deportation once eventually released, separating him from his family, including his baby son. While the gravity of their crimes haunts every frame, these young men are still simply teenagers. Do they deserve a second chance? The question is a societal conundrum beyond legislation and data. To their advocates, they're kids. To their critics, they’re monsters.

Rotten Tomatoes Movie Reviews


  • Reviews Counted: 21
  • Fresh: 17
  • Rotten: 4
  • Average Rating: 6.3/10

Top Critics' Reviews

Fresh: The movie benefits from an added layer: A screenwriting teacher who gets to know three teenagers awaiting trial. – Ben Kenigsberg, New York Times, Jan 19, 2017

Rotten: While Ben Lear's documentary is reasonably clear about its own position on the issue, the film's material is so thin that it provides few reasons to believe the conclusion it's selling. – Nick Schager, Variety, Jan 20, 2017

Fresh: There's little doubt prison reform needs to address the severe effects of locking up kids for life, but "They Call Us Monsters" feels like a well-meaning skim rather than an impassioned, expertly reasoned plea for mercy. – Robert Abele, Los Angeles Times, Jan 26, 2017

Fresh: Powerful and eye-opening. – Stephen Farber, Hollywood Reporter, Jan 13, 2017

Read More About This Movie On Rotten Tomatoes

Customer Reviews

Touches my heart

This had me crying and praying for them, I'm so happy the new law passed and they get a chance to be free, you guys stay In my prayers




See all sides of the story and come to your own conclusions. If your a youth who needs a reality check, an officer who needs to learn compassion, or just a regular person who wants to help. This film lets you see the whole picture!

They Call Us Monsters
View in iTunes
  • $12.99
  • Genre: Documentary
  • Released: 2017

Customer Ratings