In the new satirical thriller The Oath, a family with conflicting political views gathers for Thanksgiving only to squabble over the U.S. government’s issuing of a patriotic pledge that every citizen is ordered to sign. What starts with your run-of-the-mill partisan bickering eventually escalates into high-stakes drama and even violence, with one person (we won’t spoil who) getting shot in the leg.
While it’s obviously a heightened scenario for storytelling purposes, the struggle portrayed is very real for millions of Americans living in sharply divided times.
With that in mind, we asked The Oath‘s cast how they recommend we approach politics with family members we disagree with as the holidays approach IRL.
“I think you have a drink before you go in,” said Ike Barinholtz (Blockers, The Mindy Project), who wrote and directed the film and stars as the liberal-minded Chris. “We all have our crutches. And let’s say your crutch is alcohol, or food, or legal marijuana — or whatever it is, TV — give yourself permission to enjoy a little bit on that so that you’re not gonna be so wound up and ready to scream at your uncle when he talks about Alex Jones.”
Jon Barinholtz and Meredith Hagner play Pat and Abbie, Chris’s conservative brother and Chris’s new girlfriend, respectively. “Maybe you can both agree that the mashed potatoes are incredible,” Jon Barinholtz said, to which Hagner added: “Yeah, if you can’t agree on politics, agree on the food.”
Tiffany Haddish (Girls Trip), who co-stars as Chris’s wife, Kai, recommends avoiding those types of discussions altogether. “If they don’t agree with your politics and you know it’s gonna get heated, don’t talk to them about politics.”
Haddish would know. She’s experienced a family get-together that got so heated the police were called. “Nobody got shot in the leg,” she said. “But somebody got stabbed. My cousin got stabbed.”
So yeah, maybe leave politics off the table this Thanksgiving.
The Oath opens Friday. Watch an exclusive clip from the film:
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