A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Themes include curiosity, empathy, integrity, and perseverance. Emphasizes the importance of following your dreams, no matter how impossible they might seem. Also underlines the necessity of hard work and creativity.
Positive Role Models
Homer works hard for his achievements, despite some rather challenging odds. His father isn't supportive and is sometimes harsh, but it's made clear that he does love his son underneath it all. Homer has a wonderful teacher in Miss Riley.
Violence & Scariness
A boy is beaten in public by his stepfather. There's a brief glimpse of a dead body, as well as a potentially scary mine cave-in. Someone shoots at a character through a window (no injuries). Some accidents with the test rockets.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Some talk of kissing and putting the moves on girls, but nothing is really shown.
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Includes a couple of uses of "s--t," as well as "damn," "hell," "ass," etc. Characters also say things like "goddamn" and "swear to God."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Some drinking; a minor character is an alcoholic. Brief glimpse of smoking.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that October Sky is a moving drama based on a true story centers on a very difficult, tense father-son relationship. Ultimately, the movie is about following your dreams, no matter how unachievable they might feel. In one scene, a drunken stepfather beats up one of the main character's friends; there's also some surprisingly strong language for a PG-rated movie (including "s--t") and a few mild sexual references. 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 true story of a boy from a small town who dreams of becoming a rocket scientist is one the best films of the past year and one of the best family movies ever made. We know from the beginning where the story is going, just as we knew with Rocky. The triumph of the underdog is one of literature's most enduring themes. As long as it is done well, audiences are happy to go along. It is never done better than it is here in October Sky. The script, the production design, and the acting are all superb.
Gyllenhaal's expressive eyes show his simultaneous longing for the stars and for his father's approval. Cooper makes a role that could have been a one-dimensional tyrant multi-layered and complex, even sympathetic. Plot twists that might seem heavy-handed or melodramatic work because we know they really happened, and because these characters make us believe. We care so deeply about them that when we see real home movie footage of the real-life Homer's experiments we feel as though they are a part of our family.
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.