Parental Guidance

Parental Guidance: Furious 7, Interstellar, and More

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

by | April 3, 2015 | Comments

Furious 7


Rating: PG-13, for prolonged frenetic sequences of violence, action and mayhem, suggestive content and brief strong language.

It’s the seventh film in the blockbuster Fast and Furious franchise, so if you’ve seen any of the previous movies, you know what you’re in for here — except the gravity-defying chases, crashes and stunts are even bigger and more insane than usual. Cars drop from planes, float beneath parachutes and fly between skyscrapers. They smash into each other at alarming speeds and tumble down craggy cliffs. Explosions and gunfire abound, some of which result in characters’ deaths. In between the big set pieces, Vin Diesel and his crew engage in brutal fistfights with enemies of various ethnicities. There’s also quite a bit of language as well as scantily clad women dancing and grinding into each other in cartoonish, music-video fashion. It’s all over-the-top, silly fun, but it’s also probably best suited for mature tweens and older.

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Rating: PG-13, for some intense perilous action and brief strong language.

Christopher Nolan’s nearly-three-hour space odyssey will be too overwhelming for the vast majority of young viewers. It’s just too long and too intense, with a dense script filled with dry talk of wormholes, time-space relativity issues and what’s on the other side of the horizon line. It also presents the possibility of the end of life on Earth as we know it, and the need to repopulate the species in a galaxy far, far away. Matthew McConaughey stars as a pilot-turned-farmer who dares take a crew of brilliant scientists (including Anne Hathaway) into the vast unknown to see whether life is possible on a trio of distant planets. He’s also a widower who has made a promise to return to his daughter, played as a child by Mackenzie Foy and as an adult by Jessica Chastain. Much of the scenery is beautiful and dazzling — Nolan does not mess around when it comes to special effects, as we know — but there’s also quite a bit that’s frightening, including massive dust storms, a powerful tidal wave and various explosions and technical complications. This is probably suitable for viewers around 12 or 13 and older.

Island of Lemurs: Madagascar


Rating: G

This beautiful and intimate documentary, which follows the playful adventures of lemurs in the wild, will be totally suitable and quite enjoyable for the whole family. Morgan Freeman narrates, sharing the story of how these furry creatures floated on a raft of vegetation across the Indian Ocean from Africa to a remote, exotic island 60 million years ago. Now, many types of lemur face extinction, as well as a shortage of rainforest in Madagascar because so much land has been burned for farming. The film offers a powerful ecological message that older kids will understand; younger ones will probably just revel in the gorgeous imagery and the lemurs’ hilarious, adorable antics.

The Imitation Game


Rating: PG-13, for some sexual references, mature thematic material and historical smoking.

Benedict Cumberbatch stars in this well-made historical drama as Alan Turing, the brilliant British mathematician who devised a system to crack the Germans’ highly complicated Enigma code during World War II. But Turing also was a closeted homosexual, which was illegal at the time. Flashbacks to his childhood reveal his torment as well as the bullying he suffered from his peers. The wartime segments, meanwhile, feature references to loss of life. The whole film will be too restrained — and probably boring — for most younger viewers. But those around 12 or 13, especially ones with an interest in history, might connect with it. And Keira Knightley’s character, who functions as a rare female figure in this predominately male world, is a strong role model for her keen scientific mind.

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