Parents' Guide to

Wonder Boys

By Nell Minow, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 16+

This grand mess of a movie has many pleasures.

Movie R 2000 111 minutes
Wonder Boys Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

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

Community Reviews

age 16+

Based on 1 parent review

age 16+

Don't be fooled by this film's poster...

I did not expect this film to be a hijinks ensue film with a layer of ridiculousness being added every 15 minutes. I did not care for the film much in general...I found it a bit stilted and not to my narrative taste. I was not very interested in finding out what happens to these self indulgent characters. However, the depiction of college life from a professorial point of view offers insight as to why being a professor can stunt your emotional growth and have you vacillate between being a student and a teacher. Good actors indulging themselves all over the place. And I agree with others that the film's poster offers no insight as to what this film is about.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say: (1 ):
Kids say: Not yet rated

This movie has a lot in common with its main character: Both are shambling and directionless, with a literary gloss and great deal of charm and intelligence. And both need all of that to be forgiven for their many failings. Tripp is in something of a stupor, not just from alcohol and drugs, but from success, and failure. He still has James' passion for writing, but he no longer has the innocence and sense of possibilities to "make the choices" necessary. When he says, "Sometimes people just need to be rescued," he is talking about himself as much as James.

This grand mess of a movie has many pleasures, including a terrific soundtrack, marvelous performances, and a beguiling but highly improbable ending. Tripp's colleague says that everyone has a story. What gets you from there to writing? He mentions faith, and Tripp mentions keeping at it. One reason is that stories like this one, highly imperfect but worthwhile, are what help us get to the ones that really make it all the way there.

Movie Details

Inclusion information powered by

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.

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