“The Oath”, a Disastrous Thanksgiving Driven by Politics



Thanksgiving a day for family, food and for, Chris and his family, politics, but this is only the beginning of a wild adventure.

This film is rated “R” for language and violence throughout.

Never discuss politics and religion during Thanksgiving dinner. A commonly known, unwritten, rule amongst American families to avoid disastrous arguments. However, in a time when our nation is more divided than ever, and politics seem to be the driving factor of every conversation, will this be achievable?
In Ike Barinholtz’s, 2018 film, “The Oath” we see an over-exaggerated yet alarming glimpse into the future of the American family’s Thanksgiving dinner. This humorous but daunting film presents a reality I hope we never come to.
Scenes throughout the movie are almost indistinguishable from what I have been hearing from friends, seeing on the news and reading about all over the internet in the real world. It is incredible how much pop culture can reflect what’s happening all around me, but it is also scary to think that this division could widen. It made me wonder, were there signs that we were slowly turning into the scenes you only saw in movies? Do these trends and films, like “The Oath”, predict a possible future?
For the main characters, Chris and his wife Kai, things start going bad the moment Chris’s family walks in the door. They each have varying political views which creates small arguments that set the tone of the movie early on.
In the beginning, we are introduced to the idea that there is an oath that pledges allegiance to the American President. It is expected that every citizen completes the form before the Thanksgiving deadline. Chris believes signing this oath is unpatriotic so when his whole family comes over to dinner and has signed the oath, Chris is disappointed, to say the least. Thanksgiving dinner turns into a fit of accusations and anger after family members take varying views on what’s happening in the world.
Then, after going their separate ways, unexpected guests arrive at the house and soon everyone finds themselves in a heap of trouble. From concussions to tasers and absolutely insane situations the movie has a resolution I definitely wasn’t expecting.
For me, this film drew horrifying parallels to the political divide we are seeing in the world today. Between the election, police brutality and Black Lives Matter protests, there is a fine line for what’s right and what’s wrong in every citizen’s eye. This doesn’t leave much room for negotiation or finding a common ground.
The relationship between the present and this film is striking. Besides the obvious parts made for comedy, there are valuable lessons we, as Americans, could take away from this film. I would recommend it to the average viewer and especially anyone involved in or wanting to get involved in staying current. I think that is why I found it so fascinating while also nerve-racking because as a student journalist there are many connections I was able to make between the movie and reality.
Films like Barinholtz’s are not only entertainment but they also provide food for thought. Maybe before things get so out of hand we can start making a change so we don’t end up like Chris and his family. Remember this, the next time you sit down to Thanksgiving dinner, don’t bring up politics, for the sake of our world. There is already enough conflict, help do your part to prevent discord during the holidays.