Is this movie appropriate?

Kavitha ReddyFeature Films, Industry, Palace

Movie theaters are weird. We don’t have any control over the product we sell (movies). Not only do we not have any say in what gets made, we also don’t get to pick what comes to us. We are not well versed in every movie that comes through. We do not get any special treatment from the studio. They do not send us any helpful guides to explaining the movie to our customers. We have access to the same information that you do. We try to be as informed as we can, but with the lifespan of a movie, we simply cannot dedicate the time it would take to know all of the nuances.

In a perfect world, every movie would be perfect for every single person. However. We all know this is absolutely not the reality. State law prevents us from selling tickets to rated R movies to minors, but other than that, the theater does not have any say in what you see.

It can be difficult to make the decision about whether a movie is appropriate for you or your family. Fortunately, the internet has plenty of resources for you.


(1)Check the rating. This is often all you need. You know that little box that pops up on trailers? It is usually on a screen with a message that “this film is…”

The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) has a voluntary rating system that evaluates films based on their content. It is not a law so films do not have to be “rated.” Many theaters will refuse to show films that are not rated so the majority of films do go through this process. This website provides you with instructions on how to “Check the Box” for information about the movie. It will tell you why a movie is rated the way it is. It

The big thing to note is that not all movies are created equal. A movie can obtain an R rating for lots of reasons. While typically a movie will contain many “offensive” items, sometimes a movie may have an R rating because of one main theme. A horror movie may not have any drugs or sex and still get an R rating.  A PG-13 movie may still have one “F Bomb” in it while others do not have any foul language at all.  It can be a bit complicated, so if you’re unsure based on rating alone, keep reading.

(2) Research the film. IMDB is a great place to start.  IMDB provides lots of technical data and fun facts about a film (such as bloopers and cast information).  Additionally, it has a parental guide that explains specific instances that could be troubling.  For example, “Man gets crushed by giant wooden door resulting in a pool of blood.”   This guide will also protect you from spoilers by classifying those items separately.  The other useful thing about this guide is that it categorizes the “incidents” and rates that category as a whole.  “Violence  Severe, Profanity Moderate”

(3)Find a resource that you like.  The internet is flooded with websites dedicated to reviewing the content of these films.  Some of these are completely objective and not affiliated with any political party or religious organization.  Others are faith based.  The best way to approach this is to look up movies that you have felt strongly about and look at how they reviewed those.  If they share your view on that film, it’s probably a good place to start.  Think of it this way: if you love pizza more than anything, but ask for a restaurant recommendation from someone who only eats fried chicken tenders, you might not get helpful advice.  Find a “friend” with similar views when looking for good advice about movie content.

Here are a few that could be helpful.  We do not have any personal experience with any of these so it’s up to you to figure out what is the best fit for you. If these don’t work, try googling “Parental Movie Guide.”

Common Sense Media

Not just movies… all digital content is reviewed here. Also contains parenting advice for dealing with difficult topics brought up by technology. Independent and nonprofit!

Screen It

Screen It is relatively small compared to some of the others, but could be a great resource for you!

Plugged In

Plugged in has a faith based slant to it.

Movie Guide

Movie Guide reviews movies from a Christian perspective.


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