K-Pax

  • Review Date: May 7, 2003
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 2001

Common Sense Media says

Terrific acting by Kevin Spacey and Jeff Bridges.
  • Review Date: May 7, 2003
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 2001

Age(i)

2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Positive messages
Not applicable
Violence

Tragic crime (mostly off screen). References to rape.

Sex

Some sexual references.

Language

Some strong language.

Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Drinking and smoking.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this movie has brief strong language, social drinking, and references to teen pregnancy, rape, and murder. There is a terrible crime, mostly offscreen, but we see bodies and blood. A child is briefly in mild peril.

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

Kevin Spacey plays Prot, who is committed to a mental hospital when he says that he is from another planet called K-Pax and that he traveled to Earth on a beam of light. He begins treatment with Dr. Mark Powell (Jeff Bridges). Prot's story is so complete -- and so enticing -- that Powell is determined to find out the truth, more for his own sake than for any therapeutic benefit to Prot. Others are enthralled by Prot's stories. Mark's astronomer brother-in-law, despite his commitment as a scientist to rational empiricism, is so intrigued by Prot's answers to his questions that all he can say is, "I don't know what I believe. I only know what I saw." Prot's fellow patients begin to clamor to go back to K-Pax with him.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

K-PAX has a couple of daunting movie cliché obstacles to overcome: the only-in-movies "land of cute crazy people" setting and the always popular "patient heals the doctor" theme. Despite all of that and an unwise decision to tie things up too neatly at the end, the film manages to make it work, thanks to outstanding work by stars Kevin Spacey and Jeff Bridges and a script that is warm, witty, and genuine.

Director Softley has a delicate touch. Sunlight splintered by a prism, a child's ruby slippers, Spacey is outstanding, as always, resisting the temptation to make Prot too adorable. The subtlety and grace of his performance are astonishing. Bridges does a fine job as the doctor, and his scenes with Spacey make the movie.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about how people react to unthinkable tragedy and how being an outsider can give someone insights that others miss. Why did everyone want to go to K-Pax? Why do we see the reflections of Prot and Mark merge before they ever speak to each other? Why did Prot say that we have within us the power to heal ourselves? What did that mean about his own need to heal? Why do both the Mark and the sheriff say that they do not want to know the truth? Some families may want to talk about Mark's unprofessional (and unrealistic) behavior in treating Prot.

Movie details

Theatrical release date:October 26, 2001
DVD release date:August 13, 2002
Cast:Jeff Bridges, Kevin Spacey, Mary McCormack
Director:Iain Softley
Studio:Universal Pictures
Genre:Drama
Run time:120 minutes
MPAA rating:PG-13
MPAA explanation:a sequence of violent images, and brief language and sensuality

This review of K-Pax was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

Find out more

Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging, good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging, good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging, okay learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

About our buy links

When you use our links to make a purchase, Common Sense Media earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes. As a nonprofit organization, these funds help us continue providing independent, ad-free services for educators, families, and kids while the price you pay remains the same. Thank you for your support.

See more about how we rate and review.

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Teen, 15 years old Written byTheSuperman765 April 16, 2011
AGE
12
QUALITY
 

i rate this title IFFY for ages 12+

What to watch out for

*
Messages:
Not an issue.
*
Violence:
Tragic crime (mostly off screen). References to rape.
*
Sex:
Some sexual references.
*
Language:
Some strong language.
*
Consumerism:
Not an issue.
*
Drinking, drugs, & smoking:
Drinking and smoking.

What other families should know
Too much swearing
Teen, 15 years old Written byLegend736 May 4, 2012
AGE
14
QUALITY
 

Very good.

Makes you think.

What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
Kid, 12 years old Written byscifikid June 12, 2013
AGE
10
QUALITY
 

A Thought Provoking Movie

The ending is really weird. It's hard to understand. The whole movie makes you think. There is a reference to rape, and some language, but nothing much else.

What other families should know
Too much sex
Too much swearing

Poll

Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?

Top Kids' Movies: An Essential Guide for Families