About Schmidt



Heartfelt Nicholson, not for kids at all.
  • Review Date: May 20, 2003
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Release Year: 2002
  • Running Time: 125 minutes

What parents need to know


A sad death of a spouse.


Nudity and explicit sexual references.


Very strong language.

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Drinking, smoking, and drug use.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that the movie includes very strong language and sexual references and situations, including adultery. Characters drink and smoke. There are tense and sad family scenes that may upset some viewers.

What's the story?

Warren Schmidt (Jack Nicholson) has coped with a life of disappointment and emptiness through rigidity. He is stingy with words, money, and emotion. He does not confide in anyone but viewers and a little boy in Africa he "adopted" by agreeing to send him $22 a month. Schmidt's daughter Jeannie (Hope Davis) is getting married to Randall, a man with a mullet who sells waterbeds (Dermot Mulroney), and this is just one more in a series of disappointments. When Schmidt's wife dies, and then when he finds out that she was keeping a secret from him, he becomes completely unstuck from his moorings. He takes the huge motor home his wife made him buy and sets off in it toward his daughter's house, intent on stopping the wedding.

Is it any good?


Nicholson is mesmerizing in ABOUT SCHMIDT. His character is funny, irritating, pitiable, and utterly heartbreaking. Kathy Bates, as Randall's mother, is magnificent in a performance that is full-bodied (in both senses of the word). The details of middle American ceremonies -- the retirement party, the funeral, the wedding -- are all just right, sharply observed but affectionate.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about why Schmidt confided in a little boy he had never met instead of any of his friends or family. What do you think he will do next? What should he do? What should he have done that would have made him happier?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:December 13, 2002
DVD release date:June 3, 2003
Cast:Hope Davis, Jack Nicholson, Kathy Bates
Director:Alexander Payne
Studio:New Line
Run time:125 minutes
MPAA rating:R
MPAA explanation:some language and brief nudity.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Teen, 13 years old Written byasecoolish February 3, 2011
there isn't even strong language that i recall but this movie is immensely enjoyable, there's brief nudity that doesn't look realistic but that's about it or should i say that's about Schmidt ha.
What other families should know
Too much swearing
Great messages
Great role models
Adult Written bygavin m. jackson April 9, 2008

hilarious and touching

Jack Nicholson strikes the right line between humor and pity. His best performance in a long time.
Kid, 11 years old April 9, 2008

A nice dramedy

This movie is a good story but there are some very nasty bits, like bad language. I saw it when I was 7.


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