A.I.: Artificial Intelligence

Movie review by
Nell Minow, Common Sense Media
A.I.: Artificial Intelligence Movie Poster Image
Parents recommend
Provocative sci-fi film has some mature themes.
  • PG-13
  • 2001
  • 146 minutes

Parents say

age 15+
Based on 9 reviews

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 15 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Movie explores themes of the confluence of humanity and technology, especially as technology becomes more advanced, and the ramifications of robots capable of having human emotions and satisfying sexual and romantic needs. Explores the nature of love and of family. Provides a glimpse into what the world might be like in the aftermath of climate change, resulting in rising ocean levels. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

The characters are essentially archetypal and don't emerge as positive role models. 


While technically a robot, young David seems all-too-human as he's bullied by his "brother" and his brother's friends. In another scene, David jumps off a building in a way that would be suicide for humans. David attacks and destroys an android who looks just like him. In a violent carnival-esque spectacle, humanoid robots are shown getting destroyed as humans cheer. 


One of the lead characters is a robot gigolo; he brags of his prowess with women and, in one instance, heightens the bragging by making orgasm noises. 


"Damned," "hell," "goddammit." 

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that A.I.: Artificial Intelligence is a 2001 science fiction movie directed by Steven Spielberg about a young android named David who is the first of his kind to express and feel human emotion. There is some mild profanity. This movie is rated PG-13 for some sexual references (Joe is a robot gigolo created to have sex with women), and some violence (robots are destroyed, and there's a critically ill child and characters in peril). Kids may find the theme and some of the situations disturbing, and they may also be unsettled by the open-ended nature of the story, as well as the raw emotion expressed. It will be most suitable for teens, who may enjoy debating some of the issues of love, vulnerability, the nature of humanity, the future of the human race, and even the meaning of life. There is some bullying when David's "brother" and his friends don't accept him into their clique; this, and David's seemingly suicidal fall from a skyscraper, could seem all too human for many viewers.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byRarityfan July 25, 2019

For intelligent movie goers

Can be too long and sad for some. Good movie education and debate at school about thions like AI, global warming and fairytale meanings. Also a good different H... Continue reading
Adult Written byaferreras September 12, 2018

Is that the real love?

I think almost people need to see this movie because, I can saw and felt, who the real love can make anything only for want to has a success.

This movie make... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written by2jayz May 17, 2015

Ridiculous and drawn out!

The first hour of this movie was good and entertaining. After that, things got ridiculous and it was way, way, way too drawn out. Violence- 5/10. Robots are dis... Continue reading
Kid, 12 years old September 8, 2020

Sad and thought provoking

AI: Artificial Intelligence is an incredibly sad, slow and thought provoking film about a realistic robot boy who just wants to become “real” so his “mommy” wil... Continue reading

What's the story?

In A.I.: ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE, David looks like a 12-year-old boy but is really a "mecha," a highly developed robot. He's the creation of Dr. Hobby (William Hurt), who decided to take robots a step further and develop the first robot that can feel love. One of his employees, Henry (Sam Robards), is chosen to be the beta tester. Henry and his wife, Monica (Frances O'Connor), have a son, Martin, who is critically ill. At first, Monica is horrified by the idea of "adopting" a mechanical boy, but her need for love is so overpowering that she initiates the sequence that will bind David irrevocably to her forever. He immediately changes from a pleasant if emotionless toy into a child whose mother is his whole world. He loves, which means that he is needy, jealous, and thinks like a 3-year-old, calling for his mommy and wanting her all to himself. When Martin gets better and returns home, he and David are jealous of one another. When Monica believes that David may be a threat to Martin, she sets him loose in the woods. David is determined to find the Blue Fairy, who can turn him into a real boy, as she did with Pinocchio, because he thinks that will make it possible for Monica to love him.

Is it any good?

Cross 2001 with E.T. and Blade Runner and throw in some Pinocchio, some Wizard of Oz, some Velveteen Rabbit, and a touch of Our Town, and you might have some sense of what to expect from this movie. It's an ambitious, complex, provocative movie that is likely to lead to more late-night college dorm debates than anything since the ones about 2001's monolith and the ape throwing the bone.

Developed by Stanley Kubrick and completed by Steven Spielberg, A.I.: Artificial Intelligence is a two-part invention of a movie that owes both its strengths and its weaknesses to the collaboration between two men of such prodigious talents and such different, even opposing sensibilities. Kubrick is the master of the cool image, Spielberg the master of the warm feeling. The juxtaposition of their influence is particularly apt for this story of the struggle between heart and brain, not only on the part of the mecha but on the part of the orga (humans) as well.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about whether or not the android David in can feel love and Dr. Hobby's real reason for creating him. Is there any way to make a robot "real?" If the movie is about making a machine that can feel, why is the title A.I.: Artificial Intelligence?

  • While set in the future, how does this movie address contemporary concerns such as bullying, climate change, and the evolving relationship of humanity with technology? 

  • In science fiction films set in the future, societies tend to be either utopian, technocratic, and seemingly perfect or dystopian, barbaric, and seemingly on the verge of extinction. Where does this movie fit on this spectrum? What are some examples of science fiction movies that correspond with these conflicting visions of the future?

  • How do science fiction movies tend to mirror the cultural mood and spirit of the era in which they were made, and how does A.I.: Artificial Intelligence mirror the concerns of the turn of the century, when computers and the internet were beginning to become a dominant factor in our lives? 

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love sci-fi

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