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

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