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Parents' Guide to

A Dangerous Son

By Mark Dolan, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 15+

Challenging doc puts human face on juvenile mental illness.

Movie NR 2018 86 minutes
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Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say: Not yet rated
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This documentary is an emotional, eye-opening documentary that will make viewers feel sad, disturbed, and frustrated. Through the personal experiences of the three families who are the subject of this documentary, the filmmakers seek the bring attention to the inadequacies of the mental health system in this country, particularly when it comes to minors who display aggressive behavior. It also wants to disabuse viewers of the idea that parents are responsible for the psychological disorders of their children. We certainly sympathize with the mothers of these boys as they reach out for professional assistance and struggle to provide some sense of normalcy and safety to the lives of their other children. Yet, it's hard to not question some of their parenting choices as we see them allow their aggressive and violent sons to play first person shooter video games or run around with realistic toy pistols. A Dangerous Son may challenge your current perceptions of the victims of mental illness and the medical establishment. It's not a comfortable viewing experience, but one that's ultimately worthwhile because of its ability to shake you up and admittedly, wake you up.

Movie Details

  • In theaters: May 7, 2018
  • On DVD or streaming: November 13, 2018
  • Director: Liz Garbus
  • Inclusion Information: Female directors
  • Studio: HBO
  • Genre: Documentary
  • Run time: 86 minutes
  • MPAA rating: NR
  • Last updated: October 8, 2022

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