A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Encourages understanding, sensitivity, responsibility, and tenderness in child-parent relationships, focusing on father-child. Advocates hear both sides of the story and respect differing points of view. The film gives forceful examples of positive ways of dealing with disappointment, anger, and fear.
Positive Role Models
Follows the "adventures" of Ted Kramer as he is transformed from a self-centered, career-driven man to a loving, effective father with a clear sense of purpose and balance in his life. Each "mistake" results in a new insight. Filmmakers take care to help the audience understand what drives the woman who seemingly abandons her young son. The businessmen depicted tend toward stereotype with little awareness of family. Little ethnic diversity (some background players).
Violence & Scariness
In a suspenseful sequence, Billy, age 6, falls from a jungle gym. His face is bloody, and his father rushes through city streets to get him to an emergency room, where a doctor stitches a gash in his face. Some tension during father-son arguments; the dad carries the screaming boy to his room.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Violence & Scariness in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Sex, Romance & Nudity
A couple is shown in bed after having sex. In what is intended to be comically embarrassing, the nude woman gets up and goes into the hallway, where she unexpectedly encounters a 6-year-old boy and uses her hands to cover her genitalia, but her breasts are visible. She's also seen fully naked from behind. Some couples are seen kissing at a holiday party.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Sex, Romance & Nudity in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Multiple instances of "goddamn it." One "s--t" and one "bastard."
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Language in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Products & Purchases
Some grocery items are seen on market shelves and in the Kramer kitchen (among them are Tab, Tide, Special K and Total cereals, Schrafft's ice cream). A few liquor brands are visible on a bar counter (Seagram, Beefeater, JB). Singer sewing machine, Burberry, Miriam Rigler Bridal store.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Casual social drinking occurs in several dinner, restaurant, and party scenes. Ted Kramer pours himself a drink after a particularly difficult moment with his little boy. A few characters smoke upon occasion.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Drinking, Drugs & Smoking in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this multiple award-winning film about the wrenching truths of divorce and its effects on both parents and kids has moments of great humor as well as heartbreak. Watching the relationship between a clueless dad (as he becomes a dedicated, loving father) and his young son (as he learns to deal with the pain of losing his mother) is suspenseful, very intense, and highly moving. Made in 1979, the filmmakers made a groundbreaking effort to treat a mother, who leaves her young son behind, with dignity and understanding. Following a bedroom scene showing two adults after a sexual encounter, a naked woman comes face to face with a little boy in the hallway (breasts clearly visible as she attempts to cover her genitals); the moment is played for comic effect and embarrassment rather than sexual provocativeness. In one tense, lengthy sequence, a child falls from a jungle gym, is rushed to an emergency hospital, and undergoes stitches on camera. There is occasional swearing ("goddammit"). Adult beverages are consumed in a number of social situations, and, once, the dad uses alcohol after a particularly difficult argument with his son. A few people smoke. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
This film is a stellar example of collaborative filmmaking. For starters, it boasts extraordinary performances from Hoffman and Streep (both of whom won their first Academy Awards for the film) and probably one of the finest child performances ever from Justin Henry. In the artful, sensitive hands of Robert Benton (winner of the Academy Award for Best Director) and with the clear commitment of the performers, this movie maintains a constant focus on truth-telling and the in-depth examination of separation at a time during which divorce was becoming a primary force in the American landscape. It's true that the people portrayed are decidedly middle and upper middle class, but the humanity and honesty are universal. Older kids and teens may be inspired to talk with their families about this sensitive subject matter, and kids and parents who've been through divorce will find much that is relatable.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.
Suggest an Update
Our Editors Recommend
Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.See how we rate