A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
May provide kids with an insight into what 1950s London was like. As it's based on a book, the movie may also inspire kids to seek out the original story.
The movie focuses on the power of hope and positivity, as well as the importance of empathy and putting the needs of others first. Some mistreatment of animals.
Positive Role Models
The main character, Joe, is full of wide-eyed innocence and hope. Though he is young, he cares deeply about others, attempting to raise animals and trying to help the adults around him find happiness. Mr. Kandinsky, the tailor, is warm, generous, and supportive to Joe and his mother, and shows great empathy in encouraging them both.
Violence & Scariness
There are scenes of wrestling matches, where characters are hit and thrown to the floor, with blood shown on the face. Verbal threats are made outside of the ring. Animals are manhandled in a way that would not be acceptable today. A character pretends to strangle a goat, and dead animals and animal graves are shown.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Characters kiss on a few occasions. Characters are shown in just trunks as part of "muscle man" training.
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Products & Purchases
The market environment means some characters are preoccupied with money, and there is some manipulation and corruption associated with the local wrestling club. Scenes involve haggling at the market and shopping for bedrooms suites. Buying an expensive engagement ring is mentioned a number of times.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Alcohol is mentioned in passing. Characters smoke cigarettes and cigars on occasion.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that A Kid for Two Farthings is a 1950s British drama -- based on a popular book -- with plenty of positive messages, wrestling scenes, and some smoking. Joe (Jonathan Ashmore), a young boy, buys a goat believing it to be a unicorn that can grant the wishes of those around him. The film is generally sweet and charming with Joe choosing to use his wishes to help others. There are a few wrestling scenes that involve violence and some corruption. Characters are hit and thrown to the floor, resulting in some bloodshed. Cigarettes and cigars are smoked and characters kiss on a few occasions. With much of the movie set in and around a London market, money is mentioned frequently, with characters dreaming of moving up in the world. Made in the 1950s, the manner in which some of the animals are treated may upset some viewers. There is also the depiction of dead animals and animal graves. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
From director Carol Reed -- famous for classics like The Third Man and Oliver! -- this 1955 British drama is a surprisingly sweet, if slightly underwhelming tale of childhood innocence. In A Kid for Two Farthings lead role, Ashmore is warm, thoughtful, and spirited, though his posh English accent is out of place in London's East End markets. Adapted from a book originally set within the Jewish community, its one of a few major castings -- including Celia Johnson as Joe's mother, and Diana Dors and Joe Robinson as young sweethearts -- that step away from the original material and leave Kossoff's wonderfully wise, kind tailor verging on mystical stereotype.
The fantastical element stretches beyond Joe's hopeful imagination, the bustling market streets brought alive with bright colors (this was Reed's first color film) and night scenes imbued with a romantic glow and a magical, almost musical-style energy that is a far cry from the dingy, shadowy realism lurking beneath. Animals packed tightly in cages and the way the "unicorn" is yanked around and manhandled doesn't sit particularly well today. But for those who can look beyond its issues and the slightly slow, episodic pacing, this is a heartwarming and hopeful movie that will inspire as much magic as audiences will allow.
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.