Parental Guidance

Parental Guidance: Lee Daniels' The Butler, Paranoia and Jobs

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

by | August 15, 2013 | Comments

In Theaters This Week:

Lee Daniels’ The Butler


Rating: PG-13, for some violence and disturbing images, language, sexual material, thematic elements and smoking.

This inspiring, well-made drama is probably a great fit for older kids who are interested in American history. Forest Whitaker stars as a fictionalized version of a real-life butler who served every United States president in the White House from Eisenhower to Reagan. We see the tumult of those decades through his eyes and through the experiences of his son (David Oyelowo), who was present for key moments of the civil rights movement. There’s a quite a bit of racial violence and slurs that are uncomfortable to see and hear, but perhaps they can be used as a teaching opportunity. We don’t see the Kennedy assassination but we catch glimpses of its aftermath, including the sight of First Lady Jackie Kennedy dressed in that famously blood-splattered pink suit.



Rating: PG-13, for some sexuality, violence and language.

A riotously miscast Liam Hemsworth stars as a tech genius who’s used as a pawn in a viciously competitive and potentially deadly game of smartphone development. His employer, a nattily dressed, Cockney imp played by Gary Oldman, sends him to work for his former mentor/current rival, a bald and bespectacled Harrison Ford, to sniff out secrets on his latest product. Frantic chases, intentional car accidents, heavy surveillance and firepower abound, but the strongest weapon of all in this ludicrous techno-thriller is the sight of a frequently shirtless Hemsworth. There’s also quite a bit of language and one tasteful sex scene between Hemsworth and Amber Heard.



Rating: PG-13, for some drug content and brief strong language.

A cursory, paint-by-numbers biopic starring Ashton Kutcher as Steve Jobs, the pioneering co-founder of Apple Computers. It’s ironic that, in telling the story of a man who was so innovative and so focused on creating sleek and stylish products, the film itself is so bloated and bland. As to what’s potentially inappropriate for young viewers: not much. In a flashback to his college days, Jobs drops acid and has some sort of inspirational epiphany in a meadow. Profanity is peppered throughout the script. Jobs questions whether he’s the father of his girlfriend’s baby, a point that’s brought up and then eventually dropped. And people smoke indoors a lot. It was the ’70s and ’80s.

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