Preteen girl looking at a cell phone with her parents

Family movie night? There's an app for that

Download our new mobile app on iOS and Android.

Parents' Guide to


By Michael Ordona, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 12+

Boy, wolf face intense peril in epic prehistoric adventure.

Movie PG-13 2018 96 minutes
Alpha Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 10+

Based on 36 parent reviews

age 10+
age 10+

Very Good

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (36 ):
Kids say (19 ):

This is a ripping good adventure yarn with memorable visuals and an original premise and feel. Alpha presents a plausible take on the origins of the human-canine bond -- but more importantly, it's an absorbing survival tale with an appealing main character and a wolf that everyone will root for. Albert Hughes, directing without his brother Allen for the first time, uses extensive CGI to create a prehistoric setting that's simultaneously familiar and unfamiliar, primal and fantastic. And McPhee is a remarkably sympathetic actor. As Keda, his courage and drive are entirely believable. Perhaps more importantly, so is his empathy -- you sees how this particular Cro-Magnon teen might have mercy on a wounded predator, then be receptive to allying with it. His performance is simple and grounded. You completely buy him speaking the film's invented language and enduring all the trials he faces with his wolf friend.

That said, authenticity isn't the key here. It's not a documentary; it's a boy-and-his-dog survival adventure, and it's plenty involving on that score. Jóhannesson, as the father, is also quite good. So are all the other humans, really. But Alpha is ultimately all about Keda and Alpha. Dog lovers will be all over this movie, and as long as younger viewers can handle the intensity of the peril, families will enjoy it too.

Movie Details

Inclusion information powered by

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.

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate