Parents' Guide to

A Boy Called Po

By Carrie R. Wheadon, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 10+

Weepy tale of widowed father's struggles with autistic son.

Movie PG 2017 95 minutes
A Boy Called Po Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

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

Community Reviews

age 9+

Based on 5 parent reviews

age 9+

Good movie. Swerves into less conservative territory.

Good depiction of what some mild/mid-spectrum autism struggles are like. 4-5 times in the movie, it’s stated that his imaginary friend ‘has two daddies’. Good family movie as long as you’re aware of the underlying agenda. The main female character talks a health worker into listing her ‘as family’ in order to gain access to the boys health records.
age 10+

Havent cried like this in a loooong time

This movie opened my eyes on the struggle many of my family and friends go through with an autistic child. These angels are so smart but also a handful. And the parents of those kids are amazing! My heart goes out to all those parents.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (5 ):
Kids say (4 ):

This tale of mourning and the difficulties of parenting a kid with autism feels more like a TV movie drama than a theatrical release in its production values and multiple weepy moments. In an overload of jumpy scenes and a maudlin soundtrack by Burt Bacharach, a lot of sadness hits the viewer at once: a funeral, a bullied boy with many challenges, a dad whose coping mechanisms are workaholism and snapping at his son's understandable behaviors. And it gets harder to watch from there, especially if you're a parent or an educator in the know. Why is David refusing to tell his son about their shared loss? He's 11 years old. Why is the school so blind to Po's bullying for so long? Most schools these days have whole programs about preventing bullying -- or at least a playground aide to keep an eye on kids like Po, who are often easy targets. And where is this kid's IEP (individual education plan) that specifies what supports the school gives him? This is not the principal's job.

But A Boy Called Po, which is from director John Asher, who's mostly known for his work on TV, does have a few successes. Po's fantasy world may be a stretch -- it's hard to imagine it's that focused on the social when he's so into reading the Wall Street Journal -- but his realities as a kid on the spectrum touch on a lot of what many real kids and their parents experience. The food preferences, the sleeplessness, the multiple therapies, and the struggles to connect with other kids are a part of the package for many autistic kids. It's a step in the right direction in depicting this world that many parents of neurotypical kids don't often see.

Movie Details

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