Parental Guidance

Parental Guidance: Divergent and Muppets Most Wanted, Plus Frozen and Saving Mr. Banks

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

by | March 21, 2014 | Comments

In Theaters This Week:



Rating: PG-13, for intense violence and action, thematic elements and some sensuality.

The movie version of Veronica Roth’s young adult bestseller takes place in a rigidly structured dystopian future, so naturally this means teens are going to have to battle each other for survival. It’s a crucial part of the formula. For the tweens and older who’ve read the book, the film adaptation is probably fine. They (and you) know what to expect. Shailene Woodley stars as Beatrice, or Tris, who must decide which of society’s five factions is the best for her. Once she joins the Dauntless, known for their bravery, she learns to fight, shoot, throw knives and jump from trains. But she also must defend herself from her fellow initiates, who are trying to undermine her, and face her deepest fears within elaborate simulations. A sizable body count builds up during the film’s big action sequences toward the end, but because this is PG-13, there’s very little blood.

Muppets Most Wanted


Rating: PG, for some mild action.

The Muppets are back in yet another high-energy, star-studded, song-and-dance extravaganza. This time, they’re performing in major cities throughout Europe with an internationally known jewel thief, a frog named Constantine, pretending to be Kermit at the helm. There’s nothing even remotely inappropriate here. Miss Piggy is in slight danger, briefly, and the rest of the Muppets have to put themselves in peril to save her. And much of the action takes place inside a Siberian gulag (where a hilarious Tina Fey is the warden) but even that is depicted so cartoonishly, it’s never frightening. A Monsters University short precedes the feature, which is pretty darn delightful, as well.

New On DVD:



Rating: PG, for some action and mild rude humor.

You probably already have “Let It Go” playing repeatedly in your head like a psychotic episode. Now you can own Frozen on DVD and sear the song into your brain permanently. The Oscar-winning Disney animated musical has become a pop-culture phenomenon, and understandably so. It’s extremely entertaining for the whole family, especially if you have little girls in your house. Broadway veteran Idina Menzel lends her voice to the character of Elsa, a newly crowned queen who loses control and turns her idyllic kingdom to ice. Her younger sister (Kristen Bell), Princess Anna, goes on a journey with some new friends to retrieve Elsa from her self-imposed, mountaintop exile. The only vaguely scary element here is the giant snow monster Elsa creates to protect her fortress from intruders, but it’s on screen briefly and might frighten only the youngest viewers.

Saving Mr. Banks


Rating: Rating: PG-13, for thematic elements including some unsettling images.

A shamelessly sentimental retelling of how charismatic Walt Disney (Tom Hanks) persuaded persnickety Mary Poppins author P.L. Travers (Emma Thompson) to let him turn her beloved children’s book into a movie musical. It’s not entirely accurate from a historical perspective, but it’s certainly suitable and sufficiently cheery fare, full of upbeat tunes and cathartic tears. The only reason I can imagine for the PG-13 rating is that Saving Mr. Banks includes some flashbacks to Travers’ childhood with a father (Colin Farrell) whose alcoholism destroyed him. Showing your kids the actual Mary Poppins movie might be a better call.

Tag Cloud

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