Parents' Guide to

And the Children Shall Lead

By S. K. List, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 9+

A sensitive, powerful drama on race issues.

Movie NR 1988 58 minutes
And the Children Shall Lead Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

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

Community Reviews

age 11+

Based on 1 parent review

age 11+

Unclear storyline

The storyline wasn’t great especially for younger kids. My 10 & 11 year olds had a hard time following without a clear communication between characters. Tween/young teen girls talk about an adult writing them a secret admirer letter. It turns out to actually be from an older teen boy to a girl that appears to be 10. In another scene a boy tells a joke about beating a cat, putting it in the freezer, and then putting gasoline in its mouth. The movie ends abruptly with no real ending.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say: (1):
Kids say: Not yet rated

What makes this movie so special is its careful selection of day-to-day incidents in the lives of a handful of Southerners, both black and white. Combine that with a convincing script, unaffected child actors, and a supporting ensemble of skilled stars, and the result is an excellent film. The shocking era of "Whites Only" restrooms and drinking fountains becomes immediate as characters face real dilemmas. Rachel and her sister Paulette, in pressing need, find an "Out of Order" sign blocking their use of a "Colored" restroom. This simple scene may rattle youngsters today, but will register sharply with their sense of justice. The effect multiplies when the twins Lloyd and Floyd turn on their black friend.

Direct and sensitive, And the Children Shall Lead lets us know the people of Catesville and helps us understand what each feels as the stable structure of their world, however inequitable, begins to change. If the mild ending is a bit of a letdown, it nevertheless rings true, as does so much of this picture, by personalizing a portrait of America's arduous struggles to break free of racism.

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