Mrs. Doubtfire

  • Review Date: July 13, 2003
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Release Year: 1993

Common Sense Media says

You'll laugh, you'll cry. Best divorce movie.
  • Review Date: July 13, 2003
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Release Year: 1993

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

Implied criticism of career mom and deadbeat dad.

Positive role models

Issues of divorce and separation are dealt with carefully. As a result the characters come across as human and likable. They are trying, and that makes them commendable. They eventually learn a lot from each other in the process.

Violence
Not applicable
Sex

Frank quizzing of mother's sex life.

Language

One "F" word and some other strong language, much of it sexually-themed.

Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Drinking in a restaurant.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that as funny as this movie is, it's really about the pain of separation and divorce. Serious issues such as the perception that Daniel is a bad father because he doesn't make a lot of money, and the implied criticism of careerist mother, Miranda, are buried under a lot of padding and jokes. Kids whose families are going through divorce might find this painful in spots (particularly the separations as seen from the parental perspective). Kids who fear separation should not see this until they feel safe and secure. But some kids may find the movie helpful because it lessens feelings of being alone or unique.

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

When his wife, Miranda (Sally Field), files for a divorce and gets custody of the kids, loving-but-eccentric dad Daniel Hillard (Robin Williams) is devastated. Regular visits with his three children aren't enough, so when he hears that Miranda is looking for a nanny/housekeeper, he gets his make-up artist brother (Harvey Fierstein) to transform him into a matronly old woman. Posing as the veddy proper Mrs. Iphegenia Doubtfire, Daniel gets the position and quickly wins over the kids. But his double-life ruse gets complicated when Miranda starts dating the dashing, debonair Stu (Pierce Brosnan).

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Mrs. Doubtfire is one of those great movies that grow better over time. Director Chris Columbus uses the hilarious Robin Williams to his fullest. Williams clowns around, talks a mile a minute, drops pop culture references, and does vocal impersonations that might have little to do with the story but that leaven what would otherwise be too painful and poignant for some kids.

What raises Mrs. Doubtfire above other movies about separation is the care it takes in dealing with real human problems. Though it provides a basis for a comedy, the issue of divorce and custody is treated seriously. Irresponsible Daniel grows from the experience of looking at the world from a woman's point of view.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the impact of divorce in families.

  • Why is Daniel seen as too irresponsible to have custody?

  • Do your kids think that's fair? What about the working mom -- does the fact that she works full time and makes more money than Daniel make her a "better" parent?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:August 27, 1993
DVD release date:August 27, 2000
Cast:Pierce Brosnan, Robin Williams, Sally Field
Director:Chris Columbus
Studio:Twentieth Century Fox
Genre:Comedy
Run time:125 minutes
MPAA rating:PG-13
MPAA explanation:some sexual references

This review of Mrs. Doubtfire 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.

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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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.

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What parents and kids say

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Kid, 10 years old Written bymeme103 February 27, 2010
AGE
10
QUALITY
 

Hilarious, but FILLED with language!

Daniel has to go through a divorce,so he can't see his kids every day.He dresses up to be a woman to be a babysitter,to see his kids.

What other families should know
Too much swearing
Kid, 12 years old Written bymisher727 August 18, 2011
AGE
9
QUALITY
 

OMG!

Great movie!!! I laughed so hard that my friend and I stayed up all night laughing! A tad bit of sexual refrences but overall a great movie!!!

What other families should know
Great role models
Teen, 16 years old Written byMr581 July 27, 2009
AGE
8
QUALITY
 
What other families should know
Too much sex
Too much swearing

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