A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Angel in the House is a movie about a grieving couple who are trying to conceive after the loss of their young son in a car accident. The boy's death is shown in flashback without the moment of impact, but there are some emotionally intense scenes of grieving, looking back over his pictures, going into his room, and visiting his grave site. There is one muffled "s--t" that some viewers might miss. There are a few remarks about adoption that could be off-putting to adopted kids, such as the suggestion that a man wouldn't want a child that isn't his or an instant family, but the character's biases fade with understanding. Overall the movie is a positive look at healing and the power of religion-free faith, but the intensity and grieving make it better for older kids.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
Zooey (Toni Colette) and Alec (Ioan Gruffudd) are unable to conceive after a horrible accident that killed their young son. But after visiting an adoption agency, they are visited by an unusual 7-year-old boy named Eli who begins to help them see their way out of grief and back to each other and be more engaged and connected in their lives.
Is it any good?
This affecting drama has some positive messages about adoption, healing, faith, and compassion. Veteran Toni Colette adds weight to what is an otherwise iffy premise: A mysterious boy shows up at the home of a grieving couple to help them find their way back to happiness and living. Some of the scenes concerning the loss of their young son in a car accident are extremely difficult to watch, and some involve very intense feelings at his grave site. There's a kind of tidiness to the film that resolves everything a little too easily -- the boy comes into their lives and fixes all their problems by sheer virtue of his plucky wisdom, and no one seems to question any of it. But that may be just the message some kids and parents are here for: the idea that if you just open your mind and heart to unexpected transformation and healing, it will come. Beware the intensity, though, and the feeling that this is Toni Colette doing a bit of a second, hokier Sixth Sense.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about angels. Do you believe in angels? Why, or why not?
What is the film's attitude about adoption? How does each parent react differently to the idea of adoption?
What do the parents learn at the end of the film? How did faith play into the positive messages they learned?
- On DVD or streaming: March 26, 2013
- Cast: Toni Collette, Richard E. Grant, Ioan Gruffudd, Hayley Mills
- Director: Jonathan Newman
- Studio: Screen Media
- Genre: Drama
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy
- Run time: 90 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG
- MPAA explanation: Rated PG for some thematic elements
- Last updated: September 20, 2019
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