Parents' Guide to


By Charles Cassady Jr., Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 10+

Gentle tearjerker about sudden mental superpowers.

Movie PG 1996 117 minutes
Phenomenon Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 13+

Based on 2 parent reviews

age 8+

Think it’s a good thought provoking movie although maybe too slow for some

Think it’s a good thought provoking movie although maybe too slow for some.
age 18+



Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (2 ):
Kids say (4 ):

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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