Poignant father-son drama deals with heavy themes.
“Goodbye Christopher Robin” is a biographical drama about how English author-poet-playwright Alan Alexander (A.A.) Milne went from being a shellshocked World War I veteran to the creator of Winnie-the-Pooh. Starring Domhnall Gleeson and Margot Robbie as the Milnes, the movie may appeal to Pooh-loving parents with young children. But the film deals with themes and subject matter that are too mature for little ones: post-traumatic stress, war and peace, wartime death, marital strain, tension between parents and full-time caregivers, etc. You’ll also see flashbacks to Milne’s time in WWI (including scenes of men dead, injured and dying in trenches, shots whizzing by, etc.), and he shuts down or becomes aggressive during moments when he’s triggered and remembers the war. He even lashes out physically (though unintentionally) at his young son. A young boy is bullied by classmates, and kids may be upset by scenes of a young child missing a beloved caretaker. There’s also some kissing, drinking, smoking (accurate for the era) and mild language. With a strong sense of melancholy underlining much of what happens, the movie is occasionally heartbreaking and is likely to make sensitive moviegoers cry. (101 minutes)
Beautiful coming-of-age drama tackles tough topics.
“So B. It” is a touching coming-of-age drama about a 12-year-old girl named Heidi (Talitha Bateman) who’s growing up in isolation because she lives with her intellectually disabled mother and a family friend who has agoraphobia and can’t leave the house. These characters’ limitations are treated with respect, and they’re loved and given dignity and understanding, with their needs considered. Heidi goes on a long journey alone, essentially running away in the middle of the night, but she’s never in any real danger and meets people who treat her with kindness. A tragic death late in the movie may upset young or sensitive viewers; Heidi’s plight may also be disturbing to some viewers. But tweens and teens will relate to the character and may be inspired by her strength, perseverance and courage. The movie is based on the same-named novel by Sarah Weeks. (98 minutes)
Inspirational, entertaining biopic of a very human hero.
“Marshall” is a biopic about Thurgood Marshall (Chadwick Boseman). He eventually became the first African American U.S. Supreme Court justice, but this movie focuses on one of his earlier court cases. Despite some iffy material, its excellent role models and strong messages about courage, teamwork and tolerance make it a great movie for families with teens. Expect to see fistfights and beatings, with bloody wounds and bruises. There’s also a flashback to a suggested rape, with violent acts against a woman. A fairly mild sex scene includes kissing but no nudity; the main character also kisses his wife and is shown lying with her in bed. Language includes several uses of the n-word as well as the slur “kike,” a use of “f---,” uses of “s---” and more. Characters drink alcohol in a social context (sometimes to excess), and there’s background smoking. (118 minutes)
Playful tone lightens time-bending slasher movie’s violence.
“Happy Death Day” is a slasher movie with fantasy and comedy overtones. The main character (Jessica Rothe) is stuck in a time loop, a la “Groundhog Day,” suffering a violent death over and over again until she figures out how to break the cycle. Considering the movie’s premise and genre, the violence is actually on the milder side. Stabbings happen off-screen, but blood is shown on knife blades, and there’s a brief spatter when a character falls from a high window. Characters are also hit with blunt objects and run over by a car. There’s also some racy content. Sex among college students is spoken of, although not shown. But a male college student is shown preparing to masturbate to porn (there’s a computer image of two men kissing), and a young woman walks naked through the quad (nothing graphic shown). Characters also kiss, and the main character has a short-lived affair with a teacher. Language includes a use of “f---,” plus “s---,” “p----,” “a--hole” and more. Teens talk about drinking and being drunk, but no one is shown drinking. The movie is gleefully aware of its silliness and could be a strong draw for teens. Luckily, there’s an underlying message about thinking about others instead of just yourself. (96 minutes)
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