Parental Guidance

How Family-Friendly Are Thor: Ragnarok and Lady Bird?

by | November 3, 2017 | Comments

Of course, if your kids have grown up watching Marvel movies, they’re going to want to see the latest installment of the Thor franchise, especially since it’s so colorful and zany. Christy lets you know what to look out for in that film, and she goes out of her way to recommend a couple of others for older kids and teens. Read on for details.



Thor: Ragnarok (2017) 93%

Rating: PG-13, for intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action, and brief suggestive material.

The latest installment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe is a complete blast from start to finish: cheeky, snappy and self-referential. The threat of cataclysmic mayhem hovers over the proceedings at all times, but director Taika Waititi (What We Do in the Shadows, Eagle vs. Shark) somehow manages to keep things brisk, light, and frequently zany. And he’s got an excellent cast to work with here. This time, Thor (Chris Hemsworth) must team up with his old friend and fellow Avenger, Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), and an alcoholic bounty hunter (a charismatic Tessa Thompson) to stop the villainous goddess of death, Hela (Cate Blanchett), from triggering the predicted destruction known as Ragnarok. As is so often the case in these comic-book blockbusters, there are massive battle sequences in which entire armies of men perish, but their deaths are quick and bloodless. At the film’s start, Thor must take on a huge, fiery monster, which might seem scary for younger viewers. Thor and Hulk also brutally battle each other in a coliseum setting. While Blanchett is clearly having a blast camping and vamping it up as Hela, she also might be frightening to littler kids. And there’s a scattering of profanity throughout. I brought my 8-year-old son to a screening and he loved it, but there was one image involving Thor’s eye that he found disturbing. But if your kids are familiar with these characters and this world, they’ll have a great time. Fine for viewers around 9 or 10 and older.

Lady Bird (2017) 99%

Rating: R, for language, sexual content, brief graphic nudity, and teen partying.

It’s rated R, but Lady Bird is so beautifully written and acted – so achingly sweet and true – that I wanted to recommend it here. Greta Gerwig’s feature directing debut is semi-autobiographical, but even if you didn’t know that going in, you’d quickly realize how intimate and personal her film is. Saoirse Ronan stars as the title character – or, rather, that’s the name the high school senior has given herself to feel more exotic in the mundane suburbs of Sacramento, California. (Her real name is Christine.) Lady Bird is a coming-of-age movie, with all the mistakes and heartaches that would suggest. There’s frank talk about sex and eventually we see her lose her virginity; Lady Bird actually has a couple of different boyfriends during the course of the movie. There’s also teen partying – drinking and smoking – as well as language throughout. But this is such an insightful film with such a lovely performance from Ronan – perhaps a career best from the two-time Oscar nominee – that I’d highly recommend it for viewers around 13 or 14 and older as they’re enduring their own adolescent angst.

Princess Cyd (2017) 94%

Rating: Not rated, but contains drinking, some drug material, language, sexuality, nudity and mature situations.

Like Lady Bird, Princess Cyd is a refreshingly honest, realistic look at a teenager navigating a pivotal period in her life. Jessie Pinnick stars as Cyd, a 16-year-old who goes to live with her novelist aunt (Rebecca Spence) in Chicago for a few weeks during the summer. While she’s there, she learns more about her mother (who was her aunt’s sister), who died tragically 10 years earlier. She also learns about herself when she becomes involved romantically with an outgoing, confident lesbian (Malic White) who’s the barista at the neighborhood coffee bar. There’s quite a bit of kissing, some nudity and one sex scene, but it isn’t graphic. Cyd also shares a joint (and some kisses) with a handsome young man who’s a friend of her aunt’s and drinks some champagne at a party. And there’s the suggestion that a character is the victim of an attempted sexual assault. But there’s so much to recommend here. Writer-director Stephen Cone’s film unfolds naturally, with an effortless sense of place and well-drawn characters. Some of the material may be too grown-up for tweens, but this would be an excellent choice for viewers around 13 or 14 and older.

New on DVD


The Dark Tower (2017) 16%

Rating: PG-13, for thematic material including sequences of gun violence and action.

This Stephen King adaptation wasn’t exactly a giant hit when it came out this summer – it made a disappointing $51 million domestically – but if your kids are curious about catching up with it, it’s probably OK for tweens and older. The long-awaited feature-film version of the revered King series will be too much for younger viewers, yet not enough for everyone else. It’s about portals and time travel and monsters and gun battles, but while the original mythology is dense, director Nikolaj Arcel’s adaptation of it feels truncated and rushed. Idris Elba stars as the legendary Gunslinger, who’s long been searching for the devilish Man in Black (Matthew McConaughey) to keep him from destroying the Dark Tower, which stands in the middle of the universe to protect against evil forces. Only the psychically gifted Jake (Tom Taylor), a misfit Manhattan kid who’s had visions of such destruction, can save us all. While the visual effects often look muddled, the violence within them is unmistakable: vicious beasts that attack out of nowhere; fiery, hellish images of mass suffering; prolonged gun fights that result in many casualties. Children are abducted from around the world and placed in torturous devices to do the Man in Black’s bidding. Both Jake and the Gunslinger must deal with the deaths of people who are important to them. And McConaughey’s character also has psychic powers, which he usually uses to kill people. Overall, it’s not very good, but it is very intense.

Tag Cloud

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