DEFENDING JACOB PARENT REVIEW
Is Defending Jacob safe for kids? This parent review will let you know what to consider as far as kid-friendliness before letting your teens watch the Chris Evans family drama series. Parents, you’ll also want to check out some of the best Defending Jacob quotes by Chris Evans.
We’re all consuming a lot of TV and movies via our favorite streaming services right now.
And like most families, ours is hungry for new content.
So hungry, that we signed up for yet another service (Apple TV+) in order to watch the slow-burn thriller Defending Jacob as soon as it dropped.
But is Defending Jacob kid-friendly? Should you allow your teens to watch this one?
In this parent review, I’ll run down the answers to the question, “is Defending Jacob safe for kids?”
About Defending Jacob
A family’s lives are irreparably disrupted when the son is accused of murdering a fellow classmate in this dramatic legal thriller. Chris Evans, Michelle Dockery, and Jaeden Martel star in this series streaming on Apple TV+.
Runtime: 8 episodes; the first three are out now with a new episode coming out every Friday through May 29.
Defending Jacob Review
While I’m primarily writing this Defending Jacob as a parent review so you can decide if your kids can watch, early on in this series I realized that maybe the parents need a heads up as well.
Parents and their emotions.
Moms and Dads of teens: you will feel this one.
You know that moment where you find something your kid said on social media that rocks your world? When you realize that those little kids are growing up and making some very grown-up decisions or comments and that they have crossed into a different maturity bracket.
Evans has that moment- and it rings true. This was where I started paying attention to the relationship between the parents and teen taking place on the screen and it pays off.
So that’s your trigger warning, fellow parents of teens. What Evans and Dockery go through is pretty much our worst nightmare.
Chris Evans Is Not Just Captain America
I’ve said it for years but I think now that we are seeing Chris Evans in his post-Captain America glory, his true acting abilities will shine through.
He’s talented, he’s nuanced, and he’s compelling in Defending Jacob. There have been comments that he’s too young for the part, but this is a performance that you should see for yourself.
You see the fierce way he defends and loves his family while battling his own tortured past. From the small moments like kicking a reluctant kid out of bed to the low-key cringe of waiting out a possibly dirty joke coming from his teen’s mouth, all the right emotions are conveyed by Evans.
He’s not a perfect parent- hey, who is? But he’s a relatable one.
Evans’s best work to date is in this series. Emmy voters: please take note.
The Music and Color Make Defending Jacob Worth Watching
I’m not even a huge music connoisseur, but I recognize the importance of music in a show like this.
And from the opening scenes, I felt it.
Composer Atli Örvarsson wove together an intense score that also managed to play tender when the family needed it.
And this show is gorgeous.
The lighting and the color direction – lots of blues and greys- create a tension-filled work of art cinematically. Even if you don’t typically note these kinds of things in your entertainment, I challenge you to pay attention to it in Defending Jacob.
Defending Jacob: Is It the Defining Show For Apple TV+?
Ahhhh… unfortunately, no.
It’s close but doesn’t quite come together to hit all the notes making this a must-binge series.
As noted, the acting is fine, the music will touch you, but even with cliff-hanger endings for each episode, it isn’t quite a can’t walk away show.
The slow-burn thriller is definitely taking the slow-burn seriously.
I’ve only watched the first 3 episodes (dang it, Apple Tv+!), so maybe the pacing and intensity will ramp up a bit more as the conclusion is reached.
It may not be THE show that gets you to invest in yet another streaming service, but if you do, I think it’s well worth the $4.99 a month price to see how this one plays out.
Parent Review: Is Defending Jacob Safe For Kids?
With stars like Chris Evans (Marvel) and Michelle Dockery (Lady Mary from Downton Abbey), there’s a good chance your teens and kids are interested in watching this one.
Is Defending Jacob kid-friendly and safe for teens?
I’ll give you some information to help you decide if this one is something your older teens can watch safely.
Adult Content and Violence in Defending Jacob
The entire plot is based around a teen who possibly killed a classmate in a horrific fashion.
That alone might be reason enough for you to decide that Defending Jacob is not safe for your teens.
The gore and blood shown in the first 3 episodes aren’t particularly graphic, but you do see a dead child on screen for an extended time.
A school lockdown scene could also prove to be triggering for kids.
Language in Defending Jacob
Welp, there’s a lot of it, which I think is expected as a TV-MA show. But we’re not talking on the level of these Knives Out quotes (a movie also starring Evans and Martel).
Should language be a deal breaker for your family, you may want to hold off on this one.
When writing for lawyers and cops around the topic of murder, there tends to be a bit of salty language thrown around. F-word, shit, damn, and curses like G-ddammit and JC are used frequently.
Is Defending Jacob Ok For Teens?
In my household, there was nothing seen in the first 3 episodes that would be a deal-breaker for my kids (ages 13, 15, and 17).
It’s a mature show, it’s not funny or light, but it’s also not incredibly problematic here.
What could be something to consider for your family is the mental health struggles this prolonged lock-down might be having on your teens.
If they are having dark days, I’d skip this one and head over to Community on Netflix instead.
More Parent Reviews
Patty Holliday is a movie critic, writer, and podcaster living in the Washington, DC area. Her goal is to bridge the gap between casual fandom and picky critic with parent movie and television reviews.