Parental Guidance

Parental Guidance: Geography Club, Plus Turbo and Man of Steel

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

by | November 15, 2013 | Comments

In Theaters This Week:

Geography Club

67%

Rating: PG-13, for thematic material involving sexuality and bullying, sexual content including references, language and teen drinking.

This high school drama is opening in limited release in a few cities this weekend but it’s also available on demand, and is very much worth seeking out – especially if you have pre-teens or teenagers in your family. An adaptation of a young adult novel of the same name, Geography Club follows the unlikely (and undercover) romance that blossoms between a shy high school student (Cameron Deane Stewart) and a closeted jock (Justin Deeley). When a fellow student catches them kissing, she invites them to join the Geography Club, a clandestine group of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered kids who meet once a week after class. There are some cringe-inducing stereotypes but for the most part the film has a sweet, light touch and an important message of self-acceptance for adolescent viewers. You may have to have a frank discussion with your kids afterward, but perhaps that’s not such a bad thing.

New On DVD:

Turbo

67%

Rating: PG, for some mild action and thematic elements.

An extremely mild PG-rated animated adventure about a pokey but plucky garden snail (voiced by Ryan Reynolds) who dreams of being fast. After being caught up in a drag race (and sucked into a car’s nitrous oxide tank) he gets his chance, and ultimately competes in the Indianapolis 500. There he finds himself in constant danger of being run over by all of the big, vrooming racecars (one of which is driven by a generically menacing, foreign bad guy), which might be vaguely stressful for young viewers. But come on! Even a 4-year-old knows nothing terrible could befall this mouthy mollusk.

Man of Steel

56%

Rating: PG-13, for intense sequences of sci-fi violence, action and destruction, and for some language.

In contrast with Turbo, this is a really hard PG-13. It’s much more serious in tone and theme than previous incarnations of the Superman legend (a shift I actually appreciated), but it also has serious superhero violence – which results in serious destruction. Henry Cavill as Superman and Michael Shannon as General Zod try their hardest to beat each other to a pulp, which results in the decimation of major city blocks in a way that uncomfortably recalls 9/11. The image of strangers grabbing each others’ hands and scurrying in fear as chunks of debris crumble all around them is especially unsettling. Sure, it’s all the work of blockbuster special effects, but it may be disturbing to some viewers. Then there’s that whole pesky conversation you may have to have with your comics-obsessed kids about some of the choices Superman makes here. This one’s probably better for older kids.

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