Parental Guidance

Parental Guidance: The Great Gatsby, Jack Reacher, and Safe Haven

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

by | May 9, 2013 | Comments


This week, Baz Luhrmann’s jazzy, stylized adaptation of The Great Gatsby hits theaters, giving families a golden opportunity to compare and contrast the differences between the film and the book. Plus, the action-packed Tom Cruise vehicle Jack Reacher and the romantic drama Safe Haven head to DVD shelves. Read on to find out what’s appropriate for family viewing.

In Theaters This Week:

The Great Gatsby


What’s it about? Yale grad and World War I vet Nick Carraway (Tobey Maguire) is drawn into the orbit of Jay Gatsby (Leonardo DiCaprio), a mysterious millionaire who throws lavish parties and flaunts the trappings of affluence in an effort to win the heart of Daisy Buchanan (Carey Mulligan), who’s married to a rich jerk.

Who’s it for? It’s rated PG-13 “for some violent images, sexual content, smoking, partying and brief language.” It’s certainly safe for young teens, particularly those who would like a visual companion to their English homework.

Is it any good? Critics say Baz Luhrmann’s take on The Great Gatsby is visually stylish, and features a strong performance from DiCaprio, but overall it misses the spirit and the emotional weight of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic novel.

New On DVD:

Jack Reacher


What’s it about? Tom Cruise stars as the title character, a former Army M.P. who is called upon to investigate a mass shooting and uncovers a web of intrigue.

Who’s it for? It’s rated PG-13 for “for violence, language and some drug material.” Given that it’s a story about a sniper, Jack Reacher might be a tough sell to some parents after the recent shooting in Newtown, but it’s probably safe for teens.

Is it any good? Critics say that while Jack Reacher doesn’t reinvent the wheel, it’s an above-average crime thriller with a charismatic performance from Cruise.

Safe Haven


What’s it about? Katie (Julianne Hough) arrives in town haunted by a dark secret from her past. Eventually, she falls for widowed single dad Alex (Josh Duhamel). But will the aforementioned dark secret intrude on her new life?

Who’s it for? It’s rated PG-13 for “for thematic material involving threatening behavior, and for violence and sexuality.” Safe Haven is based on a novel by Nicholas Sparks, so expect it to get all kissy-kissy.

Is it any good? Critics say Safe Haven is schmaltzy, conventional, and fluffily romatic. In other words, it’s like most other movies based on Nicholas Sparks novels.

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