The new big-screen adaptation of Stephen King’s It is, by most accounts, pretty great, and it features a likable cast of kids in what looks like a coming-of-age film… with a creepy clown. It may be tempting to think it’s harmless enough to take your kids to, but you may want to read Christy’s assessment of it — and the new Reese Witherspoon rom-com — before you do that.
NOW IN THEATERS
Rating: R, for violence/horror, bloody images, and for language.
Just wanted to make sure we’re all on the same page here regarding It. Because even though it’s about a bunch of kids, and it’s got a clown, It is definitely not for younger viewers. It may not be for older viewers, either, if you have trouble watching horror movies (or you have a phobia of clowns, which is totally understandable, because they’re creepy). The latest adaptation of Stephen King’s iconic novel follows a group of 11-year-old misfits as they investigate a series of child disappearances in small-town Maine. Each of them also gets unwelcome visits from Pennywise, the dancing clown (Bill Skarsgard), who uses his supernatural powers to torment them with whatever frightens them most. The images in director Andy Muschietti’s film can be harrowing and the children are in constant danger. From the very start, we see kids being attacked, often in bloody fashion. There’s also a disturbing subplot involving the girl in the group and her abusive father. The frights are powerful, but even more effective is the camaraderie between the well-chosen cast of young stars. One of the most believable elements of It is the way they talk – affectionately making fun of each other, often with profanity and sexual humor, as they try to act more mature than they really are to hide their fear. Anyway, it’s great, but it’s just not great for anyone younger than 14 or 15.
Rating: PG-13, for some sexual and thematic material.
Reese Witherspoon returns to romantic comedy, starring as a mother of two who goes back to her hometown of Los Angeles after separating from her husband (Michael Sheen). She moves back into her childhood home, and after a night of partying on her 40th birthday, invites three aspiring (and much younger) filmmakers to live in her guesthouse. They all form a makeshift family, which gets complicated with romantic entanglements. There’s a lot of kissing and discussion of sex, especially as Witherspoon’s character becomes increasingly involved with the cutest of the three young men, an overconfident director played by Pico Alexander. There’s also a ton of drinking, including the night she meets these guys and extending to long, wine-soaked evenings with her best girlfriends. There’s also a bit of violence, but it’s supposed to be comical. We see a bag of medical marijuana (briefly) and hear scattered language. And throughout the first film from writer-director Hallie Meyers-Shyer, there are adult discussions of a marriage dissolving. OK for viewers around 12 or 13 and older.