Parental Guidance

Parental Guidance: Into the Woods, Big Eyes, and More

We give you what you need to know about the family-friendliness of this week's new releases.

by | December 24, 2014 | Comments

In Theaters This Week:

Into the Woods


Rating: PG, for thematic elements, fantasy action and peril, and some suggestive material.

This is a Disneyfied, film version of the popular Stephen Sondheim musical which twists and combines several beloved fairy tales. Cinderella shares the screen with Little Red Riding Hood, Rapunzel and Jack of beanstalk fame, with Meryl Streep playing the witch who ties all their stories together. The forest where their paths cross is dark, gnarled and ominous — although, as the song goes, “The woods are just trees. The trees are just wood.” A lot of the heavier themes that exist in the stage production involving the younger characters and their sexual awakening have been softened here to reach a wider audience with a PG rating. The Big Bad Wolf’s big badness is implied, slightly. Overall, though, Sondheim is a lot for young viewers to take in; his melodies are complicated and his lyrics are dense. And the playfulness of the first half gives way to heavier themes of sacrifice and death in the second half. I brought my 5-year-old son to the screening with me and the main thing that scared him was the giant that appears toward the end. The witch has some frightening moments, too. This is probably best for kids around age 8 and up.

Big Eyes


Rating: PG-13, for thematic elements and brief strong language.

Amy Adams stars as the artist Margaret Keane, whose kitschy paintings of waifs with enormous, sad eyes earned a large following in the 1960s. Tim Burton’s film follows the deception she agreed to as her husband, Walter (Christoph Waltz), took credit for her work and became a megalomaniacal celebrity. There is some language here and a tiny bit of violence: a bar brawl that’s played for laughs. Walter’s drinking increases throughout the course of the film until he becomes erratic and menacing, and at one point, he places Margaret and her teenage daughter in fiery peril in her studio. This is probably fine for kids around age 10 and up, especially those with an interest in art.



Rating: PG-13, for disturbing thematic material including violence, a suggestive moment, and brief strong language.

This is a beautifully made, powerfully acted film which provides a useful lesson about the civil rights movement. But the cruelty and closed-mindedness it shows is extremely difficult to watch, and will be way too disturbing for most young viewers. David Oyelowo stars as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. as he was leading the fight for equal voting rights in the segregated South in 1965. Director Ava DuVernay vividly depicts the violent backlash these peaceful protesters endured, especially during their first attempt to march from Selma to Montgomery, Ala. The beatings many of them suffered were brutal and bloody. This is probably suitable for older tweens and up, but eventually, it’s a must-see movie for all young people.



Rating: PG-13, for war violence including intense sequences of brutality, and for brief language.

Director Angelina Jolie’s film is based on the true story of Louis Zamperini, an Olympic runner and World War II hero who lasted 47 days on a life raft after a plane crash, only to wind up in a Japanese prisoner-of-war camp. The hardship he suffers on the life raft with two other men is lengthy and brutal: the starvation, dehydration and hallucinations, with the constant, lingering threat of death. But once he and his fellow soldiers arrive at the POW camp, they are subjected to repeated and merciless beatings. I’m actually sort of amazed this movie received a PG-13 rating. It’s an inspirational story of courage and perseverance but one that’s probably best suited only for mature tweens and older.

Tag Cloud

Epix USA Network TCA 2017 video Tomatazos biography adaptation Mystery zero dark thirty psycho Red Carpet police drama DC streaming service Amazon Mary Poppins Returns Music Binge Guide The Witch Captain marvel rotten movies we love Creative Arts Emmys dragons Fox News Masterpiece Comics on TV natural history tv talk halloween Apple TV Plus Star Trek Sneak Peek foreign VH1 theme song Reality Competition Syfy Comedy crime drama Elton John DGA Trailer Classic Film Election X-Men 2015 television Comic Book cats cinemax Countdown Pride Month Arrowverse Marvel TBS Schedule Lucasfilm WGN 2019 latino SDCC Song of Ice and Fire FOX RT History CNN USA Warner Bros. First Look Adult Swim Disney werewolf mockumentary TNT Martial Arts Valentine's Day MSNBC Comedy Central CBS hispanic crime Awards Tour mutant Horror DC Universe Columbia Pictures El Rey what to watch Mary Tyler Moore 2020 CBS All Access The CW Crackle Box Office Mudbound LGBT Sundance Summer romantic comedy Freeform 20th Century Fox spinoff ITV Nickelodeon politics true crime screenings Chilling Adventures of Sabrina FX quibi Cartoon Network indie Hulu spy thriller Tarantino Polls and Games Disney Channel Biopics MCU supernatural 007 BET LGBTQ ratings historical drama Pirates Marvel Television anime A&E richard e. Grant Cosplay VICE zombie science fiction Interview cooking NYCC renewed TV shows TV joker technology Superheroes comics casting robots Lionsgate DC Comics social media Opinion Sundance Now Holiday Rom-Com Super Bowl Pet Sematary Film Lifetime canceled TV shows Shondaland Extras adventure WarnerMedia 21st Century Fox Video Games Photos Amazon Prime Video ghosts blaxploitation crossover Winter TV Ovation Walt Disney Pictures aliens Trophy Talk zombies Grammys Pop Anna Paquin Calendar cancelled television Film Festival OWN Superheroe YA Paramount Network teaser hist IFC Films First Reviews harry potter Chernobyl BBC America Oscars disaster Disney streaming service Turner Classic Movies Toys game show TCM strong female leads Nat Geo 24 frames transformers blockbuster Heroines SXSW DirecTV canceled streaming Shudder Sci-Fi Brie Larson The Purge Character Guide discovery sequel Television Academy facebook Star Wars CW Seed sitcom Christmas Apple TV+ Podcast miniseries movies award winner Nominations children's TV New York Comic Con spider-man A24 Disney+ Disney Plus E! Hallmark Christmas movies game of thrones Sony Pictures Netflix Christmas movies cars Reality Bravo 2017 FXX San Diego Comic-Con ABC Family travel Hallmark TV renewals talk show finale Lifetime Christmas movies dc docudrama Premiere Dates war See It Skip It The Walking Dead Family dceu 71st Emmy Awards Thanksgiving period drama vampires Universal psychological thriller HBO Max serial killer Netflix Fantasy jamie lee curtis Mindy Kaling Emmy Nominations festivals cancelled TV shows BBC Food Network ABC book versus Paramount Rock spain TruTV ESPN christmas movies Quiz Pixar 45 stand-up comedy Ellie Kemper Showtime Fall TV Country nature YouTube witnail Spring TV Writers Guild of America Marathons Action singing competition Marvel Studios Disney Plus Spike Year in Review Mary poppins Acorn TV crime thriller justice league GIFs Rocky The Arrangement revenge Ghostbusters Teen cartoon HBO thriller President cults spanish language breaking bad toy story animated Dark Horse Comics Certified Fresh Starz Holidays Tumblr Animation Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt series Stephen King TIFF Winners E3 Esquire Western cancelled TV series Emmys Rocketman Turner Black Mirror American Society of Cinematographers Peacock Watching Series elevated horror Musicals romance kids Apple YouTube Premium IFC 2016 SundanceTV Cannes CMT cancelled golden globes Trivia Vudu YouTube Red independent unscripted Kids & Family sports green book free movies Britbox Crunchyroll composers PBS Amazon Prime MTV TV Land TLC anthology dramedy Logo History 2018 National Geographic comic doctor who boxoffice based on movie Set visit Spectrum Originals comiccon diversity Drama Best and Worst AMC binge space south america slashers Musical Awards Women's History Month Infographic PaleyFest cops RT21 batman APB political drama medical drama TCA GoT NBC GLAAD