The Watsons Go To Birmingham

DVD Release: September 24, 2013
The Watsons Go To Birmingham


The Watsons are an African-American family that live in Flint, Michigan where they’re raising three children in the 1960’s. The oldest son, Byron, is hanging with the wrong crowd and his parents want to change his environment. The whole family piles into their old car for a trip to Birmingham, Alabama, where Byron’s strict grandmother lives. While traveling in the South, they encounter overt racism and segregation, and a tragic event that will shake their world. They realize that the love of family gives them the strength to endure almost anything.

Dove Review

This is a stirring and touching movie. It is about a black family living in Flint, Michigan in 1963 and a trip they take to Birmingham, Alabama during the segregation and violence of the day. The story is told by young Kenny, who lives with his mother and father and older brother Byron and sister Joetta.

The older brother has been getting into trouble and has an attitude but when the family makes the trip to see their grandmother in Alabama a few emotional events occur which cause Byron to begin to grow up. This includes a close call for Kenny and Joetta when Byron realizes just how important his family is to him. The movie contains humor and suspense, including the true historical moment when a bomb goes off in a local Baptist church and soon the family panics as Joetta was in church at the time. How will the story end?

We don’t want to give it away but this inspirational story is Dove approved and we award it five Doves, our highest rating. The superb cast includes Bryce Clyde Jenkins as Kenny, Harrison Knight as Byron, Skai Jackson as Joetta and as the parents: Anika Noni Rose as Wilona and Wood Harris as Daniel. We recommend the movie for ages twelve plus but families should consult the content listing as some parents will be fine with their kids a bit under twelve watching the movie. This one offers hope to look forward by looking back. It features themes of forgiveness, family loyalty, and the fact that all men are created equal.

Content Description

Sex: None
Language: Some name calling such as punk and old bag and square; "Shut up" is said a few times by kids; Butt-1
Violence: A black boy is shoved and another boy is seen shoved in archived footage; a black person is struck in archived footage; archived footage shows blacks hit and hosed down and it is said that dogs were loosed on them; on the radio a bombing is mentioned; a church is bombed and we see smoke and people lying on the ground along with people grieving.
Drugs: None
Nudity: Shirtless boy; a boy goes swimming and is seen in his underwear; shirtless young man.
Other: A boy sticks his tongue on a frozen car window and his mom has to pry him away and a little blood is seen on his mouth; boys skip school but are caught; a boy is picked on; blacks turned away from diner; a black family has to enter a theater through a "Colored Only" door; footage of Alabama Governor speaking in favor of segregation; a boy talks about throwing a rock through a diner window but his father corrects him; more as a joke than anything a black man throws popcorn down on white people from a theater balcony; a boy cries after seeing a girl's feet and shoes lying under rubble in bombed church.


Company: ARC Entertainment
Writer: Caliope Brattlestreet & Stephen Glantz
Director: Kenny Leon
Genre: Drama
Runtime: 88 min.
Industry Rating: Not Rated
Reviewer: Edwin L. Carpenter