Can My Kids Watch This Movie? Family Movie Guidance...For Parents.

Our parent movie reviews let you know which new releases to take your kids to and which ones you may want to hold off on.


AliveInside ChesapeakeFamilyMovieReviewKernel Rating (out of 5): whole-popcorn-kernalwhole-popcorn-kernalwhole-popcorn-kernal

MPAA Rating: PG-13        Length: 74 minutes

Age Appropriate For: 12+. The documentary is about the impact of music on seniors suffering from dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, so there are some distressing scenes and images of older individuals in nursing homes, as well as some language.

The documentary ‘Alive Inside’ suggests that access to music can help senior citizens suffering from dementia retain some sense of personhood. It’s an interesting idea, but the film struggles to build an argument around it.

By Roxana Hadadi

“I’ve forgotten so much, I can’t remember,” says the woman being interviewed by director and producer Michael Rossato-Bennett in the first few minutes of “Alive Inside.” But then he places a set of headphones on her, cues up a Louis Armstrong song, and sits back as she breaks into a smile, identifies the song, and begins pouring out memories of her school days, of her mother, of her children—increasingly detailed reminisces that she couldn’t have brought up minutes before. “I didn’t know I could talk so much!” she says with a laugh. And that scene, in and of itself, captures the simultaneous awe and shortcoming of “Alive Inside.”


PlanesFireAndRescue ChesapeakeFamilyMovieReviewKernel Rating (out of 5): whole-popcorn-kernalhalf-popcorn-kernal

MPAA Rating: PG       Length: 83 minutes

Age Appropriate For: 6+. ‘Planes: Fire and Rescue’ is fairly in line with the content of its predecessor, but with fewer racist elements, at least. The focus is on firefighting planes this time around, so there are scary scenes with fire, danger (and the possibility of death) to these plane characters, some romantic innuendo in one plane having an unwanted crush on another, and lots and lots of bathroom humor.

‘Planes: Fire and Rescue’ improves on its predecessor, but that’s not saying much. The franchise remains a frustratingly narratively weak offering from Disney, and is clearly a continued cash-grab for merchandising dollars.

By Roxana Hadadi

Disney films don’t get much worse than “Planes,” last year’s spinoff from the “Cars” universe. Originally meant to be a direct-to-DVD release, the film somehow found its way into theaters—probably for the merchandising dollars, since Disney makes cash hand over fist from “Cars” paraphernalia. But it was a largely boring, sometimes racist, always pedestrian-looking film, and so to say its sequel, “Planes: Fire and Rescue,” is an improvement isn’t really saying much.


LouderThanWords ChesapeakeFamilyMovieReviewKernel Rating (out of 5): whole-popcorn-kernalwhole-popcorn-kernal

MPAA Rating: PG-13        Length: 95 minutes

Age Appropriate For: 12+. A child dies, there’s some cursing, lots of adults drinking lots of wine, some teenagers smoking cigarettes (but acknowledging that they should quit), and a couple of scenes in which either a married couple or a boyfriend and girlfriend are lying in bed together. The scene with the unmarried couple in bed together, however, ends in the girl being ashamed and leaving, whereas the married couple eventually reconciles (and there is some suggestion of sexual activity between the married couple, but it’s not presented as a bad thing).

Based on a true story, ‘Louder Than Words’ tells the story of the Fareri family and how they gave back to the community after their youngest daughter unexpectedly died of rabies. David Duchovny anchors the cast, but the film feels too lightweight.

By Roxana Hadadi

You can tell the purpose of “Louder Than Words,” and it’s not a bad one. After their youngest daughter dies from rabies—did you even know that could happen?—the Fareri family decides to change children’s healthcare in their community by building a specialized hospital. It’s a worthy cause, even a noble one. But “Louder Than Words” is too lightweight for its own good, with a Lifetime-movie-like feel that doesn’t fully draw us into the story.


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