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When Chris, a high-strung 24-hour progressive news junkie, and his more levelheaded wife Kai learn that citizens are being asked to sign a loyalty oath to the President, their reaction is disbelief, followed by idealistic refusal.
Roger EbertFull Review Average The opening half of "The Oath” succeeds as an amusing dinner-table comedy of angry frustration... The script has a lot to say, but it's too busy at war with its messages to make a lasting statement. ...tries to darken its humor by resorting to gory mayhem and brutality...
Rolling StoneFull Review Average In trying to show what a heartless heap our partisan world has become — and could be heading towards — The Oath suddenly just turns into a mess of its own. This is not what we signed up for.
Slant MagazineFull Review Below Average The Oath wears itself thin fighting on both fronts, faltering as it takes extreme measures to drive home its sense of relevance. The film's ending belies a nihilism that sours its well-meaning front.
Note: The rating
above is our interpretation of what the critic would give this movie based on
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In their comfortable suburban home, liberal-minded couple Chris (Ike Barinholtz)
and Kai (Tiffany
Haddish) are stunned by the news that the White House is asking all Americans to
sign the Patriot's Oath, a
pledge of loyalty to the President. According to a government spokeswoman,
nothing will happen to people
who don't sign, but those who do may receive tax benefits. The deadline for
signing is the day after
Thanksgiving, approximately 10 months from the date of the announcement. Shocked
at the brazen
governmental overreach, and worried about the world their young daughter is
growing up in, Chris and Kai
vow never to sign the oath.
As the deadline approaches, however, the stress begins to take a visible toll on
Chris. Reports of
angry protests around the country grow, and rumors swirl that a mysterious
division of Homeland Security
called the CPU (Citizens Protection Unit) is secretly arresting oath critics,
including progressive celebrities like
With the tension mounting, Chris's distracted mother and father (Nora Dunn and
Chris Ellis), well meaning
sister Alice (Carrie Brownstein), and annoying younger brother Pat (Jon
Barinholtz) arrive for the
family's annual Thanksgiving feast. Complicating matters is Pat's outspoken
far-right girlfriend Abbie
(Meredith Hagner), whose political comments send Chris into fits of frustrated
Unable to tear himself away from the constant barrage of hyperbolic oath
coverage on cable news
and social media, Chris's obsessive wokeness eventually proves too much for Kai,
who explodes with a
shocking revelation that upends the Thanksgiving feast. But it's the unexpected
arrival of two CPU agents -
soft-spoken Peter (John Cho) and menacing Mason (Billy Magnussen) - that sends
an already tense holiday
gathering completely off the rails.