I really like this site. I want to know how I can know if a movie is appropriate for my 9 year old son without having to see it. I try to be an involved parent but I don't want to make a 2 hour time investment everytime he wants to see something. He has plenty of spare time to watch movies. I don't.

I know what to expect with a PG movie, but a PG-13 movie today can be very violent as long as it doesn't swear and an R can be anything from mild swearing to over the top gore and/or sex. I really like the little blurbs that are on ratings these days, for example: "Rated PG for mild sci-fi action and some suggestive humor", but I wish I could know more. Does anyone know of somewhere that reviews movies from a parent's perspective?



asked 18 Nov '09, 15:07

Theresa's gravatar image

accept rate: 0%


+1 Nice question!

(18 Nov '09, 15:13) Emi

I might have just the thing for you: http://www.kids-in-mind.com. They break down movies into a 3 number system for sex/nudity, violence/gore, and profanity with each number being 0-10. They also exhaustively explain each instance of sex/violence/language and include a brief section for other points of interest like "substance use". If you ever do want to see the movie yourself, don't read all of the breakdowns of instances, they give too much away.

We use this site all the time before we see movies -- "we" as in the grown-ups, not the kids. We've learned that if kids in mind gives a movie a 6 or less with violence, we can both watch it, if 7 it's a maybe, and if higher then we shouldn't see it. We're also both ok with hearing profanity in films but it's unnecessarily jarring when you hear lots when you didn't to. That site has been very helpful for expectation setting before we see movies.


answered 18 Nov '09, 15:09

Dinah's gravatar image

accept rate: 15%

One resource that we use is IMDB. For every movie I've needed it, there's a "Parents Guide" link in the "Additional Details" section. It's generally pretty thorough: here's the one for Up, for example.


answered 18 Nov '09, 15:58

bbrown's gravatar image

accept rate: 21%

The biggest benefit I've found for using IMDB is that it is the movie site on the Web so it's got a huge community that's generating these advisories.

(18 Nov '09, 15:59) bbrown

+1 IMDB is truly brilliant!

(18 Nov '09, 16:07) Emi

Here are some web sites that specialize in movie (and other media) reviews with respect to what's appropriate for kids:

But now I want to put in a plug for actual common sense rather than leaning on web sites or other people to tell you if it's appropriate. I'm always amazed how often I hear people complain about a movie whose objectionable bits are exactly what you would expect from that genre, director/writer, MPAA rating, or even title of the film, and in those cases I wonder if the complainer has experience watching any movies themselves.

You don't need to see the whole film first to know if it's appropriate. How about:

  • Watch the trailer online -- this 2 minute investment can give you a pretty good idea if it will be scary, violent, or sexy (because those movies WANT to make it very clear from the trailers that it contains such things, to get people to see it).
  • Use IMDB to look up the film and see what other work the director and writers have done -- maybe they are things you've seen and liked (or not), and you can read the comments and reviews about those previous movies from the same creators.
  • Look in a newspaper (or its web site) -- major papers almost always have reviews when a movie opens that not only discuss the film in detail, but also generally point out which bits might be an issue for kids.
  • You may disagree with MPAA ratings (I think they are too permissive with violence and gore, too restrictive with fairly tame nudity and sexuality), but they are relatively consistent. Considering a PG-13 movie? It'll probably have a bunch of people die and more swear words than you expect from a kid's movie. Don't be surprised, it's meant for teenagers.

Finally, resist the temptation to see things the weekend they open. By the second week, the "buzz" will be well established about what the films really are (not just the pre-release messaging the marketers wanted you to hear) and you can make a better judgment. Maybe even somebody else you know has seen it and can tell you about it.


answered 18 Nov '09, 18:00

lgritz's gravatar image

accept rate: 14%

Like the research tips.

(18 Nov '09, 18:14) mkcoehoorn

No idea on your religious background, but CAP Alerts reviews movies from a (fundamentalist) Christian perspective. They're over-the-top for me, but the detailed lists of issues may give you something to work off - if you're comfortable with "Oh my God!" being said, you can skip over those issues in the listing.


answered 18 Nov '09, 15:26

ceejayoz's gravatar image

accept rate: 0%

You don't need to agree with their assessment of whether or not to see a movie, but sometimes the outrageously over-the-top sites give a good play-by-play on anything anybody might find objectionable.

(18 Nov '09, 17:38) lgritz

Yep. Too much information rather than too little information is a good thing in this case.

(18 Nov '09, 18:10) ceejayoz

Plugged In Online also has detailed movie reviews. They are run by Focus on the Family so they tend to be very conservative, but I've found their information useful for determining whether something is safe for my family, and even whether I would enjoy it.


answered 18 Nov '09, 16:00

mkcoehoorn's gravatar image

accept rate: 8%

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Asked: 18 Nov '09, 15:07

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Last updated: 18 Nov '09, 18:00