A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
George argues the merits of basic decency and just being a real nice guy, even with his I.Q. soaring. His close down-home buddies are similarly depicted in rosy, salt-of-the-earth terms, though some of them grow to resent and fear George's transformation. Doctors and scholars are depicted as arrogant and untrustworthy.
Violence & Scariness
An earthquake, and some thrown glasses in a bar argument.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
A mild suggestion that George and his girlfriend have slept together.
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Some. "S--t," "hell" a few times, "goddamn," and "freakin.'"
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Social drinking, beers in the bar, talk of drunkeness (it comes across as a hallmark of being a "regular guy"). A character is slipped a sleeping drug unknowingly.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that there are a few scattered swear words in this generally gentle drama about a very average, nice American guy endowed with mental superpowers. Overall this movie is more a romantic tearjerker than the science-fiction action/mind-blower some fans -- restless kids especially -- might expect. There is an upsetting death of a main character (off screen). To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
There are times when Phenomenon teases you that it's going to go deeper into science-fiction territory. Are UFOs involved? How about future time-travelers making people smart? Will George use his spooky talents to fight bad guys for the CIA? Instead, the script (which is on the long side) keeps things focused on the small-town society and down-home values -- and the contrast with the cosmopolitan "experts" from outside, who just see George as a test-tube subject. If anyone's an "alien," they are, in the sentimentalized view of village life.
The crucial question is Will George's old friends shun him because of his awesome brain power? Or will they accept what he says? There turns out to be a fairly earthbound reason (but still a tall tale, medically speaking) to explain George's amazing transformation, and it ends the movie on a heart-tugging note. It's a tearjerker, but an optimistic one, and Travolta is very effective, atypically cast as Joe Average.
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Our Editors Recommend
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