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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
To gain your own freedom, you have to give it to others. Memories shouldn't hold you back from living life and experiencing happiness. The only pain you carry into the afterlife is from the love you held back. Mild sexism in referring to Dorinda as a girl, a brief "you know how women are" comment, and from Pete saying he won't allow Dorinda to pursue further certification as a firefighting pilot. Pete and Al inhale helium from balloons; a brief disclaimer after the credits warns of associated dangers.
Positive Role Models
Dorinda is a great role model as a woman in a male-dominated, risky profession. The entire cast are brave, loyal firefighters who make sacrifices and risk their lives to save others. There are no villains, and the worst character flaws are stubbornness and recklessness.
Violence & Scariness
Peril from forest fires, dangerous firefighting flight maneuvers, and airplane malfunctions and fires. A plane explodes, killing the pilot; no blood or gore is shown.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
A few kisses. Adults in bed wearing pajamas. Dorinda wears a white, clingy dress a few times; no sensitive parts are visible but her breasts are clearly outlined.
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"D--khead," "d--king around," "hell," "son of a bitch," "bulls--t," "damn," and "Goddammit." Additional name calling like "fathead" and "dunce." Middle-finger gesture.
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Products & Purchases
Incidental household and food products visible. Budweiser mentioned at a party.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Adults drink beer at a party and in a bar. Al smokes cigars several times. A comedy bit about lighting a cigar. Al and Pete inhale helium from a balloon; a disclaimer after the credits warns of the dangers.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Always (1989) is a romance/adventure story directed by Steven Spielberg with occasional profanity, the strongest being "d--khead," "d--king around," and "bulls--t." Other content is mild, with a few kisses, suspense and tension, and for most of the movie the main character is a spirit from the afterlife. Peril from forest fires, dangerous firefighting flight maneuvers, and airplane malfunctions and fires. A plane explodes, killing the pilot; no blood or gore is shown. Dated sexism includes referring to Dorinda as a girl, and Pete trying to forbid her from getting certified to fly more dangerous missions. Dorinda's a great role model for young women, though, and otherwise Pete and the supporting characters are all positive role models. It's a good starting point for talking about what happens after we die, what the spirit is, and how or whether spirits of the past influence us. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Steven Spielberg's afterlife romance is mildly entertaining, best appreciated by those who like a healthy serving of sappiness alongside. And knowing that Always is a remake of a 1943 Spencer Tracy/Irene Dunne movie may help those in the eyeroll camp forgive the scenes where the music starts to swell, and swell some more. The action sequences are few and far between, but Spielberg's knack for creating and maintaining tension and suspense is well on display.
Dreyfuss and Hunter are most effective in the in-between moments, when their natural talents and finely-honed acting establish relatable characters we care about. Big-emotion scenes, which both actors also handle well, unfortunately feel too set up, as though the movie's pausing so they can get an "Oscar-worthy" moment out of it. Adults with high expectations of the strong cast and crew (Audrey Hepburn's last movie!) may feel disappointment that it doesn't live up to all that potential, but teen romance fans who can handle the themes of grief, the afterlife, and the occasional strong language will enjoy this solid love story.
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.