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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Positive messages/themes include compassion, humility, and self-control. There's an overall message that anyone can overcome their demons if they have someone to love and someone to care about them. Also, you never know what's happening in another's person life or what hardships they're facing.
Positive Role Models
At first, James can't get kick his heroin habit; his situation seems hopeless until he meets Bob. James takes care of Bob and spends all of his money on the vet, even though it might mean he won't eat later. Val goes out on a limb to help James get housing, even when she has good reason to give up on him. Belle is allergic to animals but still volunteers at a veterinary hospital.
Violence & Scariness
James sleeps on the street and is berated for it. He gets in fights and is yelled at by his stepmother and father. He does drugs, passes out, and is taken to the hospital when he can't be revived. A man overdoses on heroin and dies. James loses Bob. James goes through withdrawal after he decides to come off of methadone. Belle's brother died of an overdose. Bob is chased by a dog.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
A couple kisses; another holds hands.
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Some language for drugs, and some swearing, including "bulls--t" and "d--k."
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Products & Purchases
Some stores seen in the background, but no overt consumerism/product placement.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
James is a recovering heroin addict on methadone. Heroin needles are shown, but viewers don't see anyone shooting heroin. James's friend dies from an overdose. James goes through methadone withdrawal. Smoking and drinking.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that A Street Cat Named Bob is based on the autobiography of London street performer James Bowen, a recovering heroin addict who gets one last chance to turn his life around when he finds Bob. Things get pretty heavy: The movie deals with homelessness, drug use, overdosing, and death. James (Luke Treadaway) uses the money he makes playing guitar on the street to buy and use drugs and ends up in the hospital. There's also some swearing, including "bulls--t" and "d--k," as well as a fight scene and some scenes of peril. Despite the serious themes, the movie offers a clear message about second chances -- and argues that it's possible to overcome your demons if you have someone to love. Themes also include humility and compassion. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
This is a sweet little film about serious issues. Treadway is believable as James, an addict who's trying to get clean. He picks food out of trash cans and sleeps on the street -- and even though he's an excellent guitar player on the streets of London, he's invisible. A Street Cat Named Bob brings up lots of issues that parents can talk about, including the hazards of homelessness and what can happen if you do drugs (one of James' friends overdoses, and James is hospitalized and finds out he has hepatitis).
The music is good, and Treadaway is a compelling actor and singer. There a few jarring scenes when the camera shoots from Bob's point of view and it almost feels like it's going to become a talking animal movie, but it stays focused on James' story. You end up rooting for him in the end and hoping that he'll stay clean.
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.