As Good as It Gets

Movie review by
Kelly Kessler, Common Sense Media
As Good as It Gets Movie Poster Image
Popular with kidsParents recommend
Funny, but not a light comedy for youngsters.
  • PG-13
  • 1997
  • 139 minutes

Parents say

age 14+
Based on 6 reviews

Kids say

age 14+
Based on 12 reviews

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

One main character exhibits hostile and obsessive compulsive behavior toward others. The same character also deals with his homophobia and a fear of intimacy. Other main characters include a gay man struggling to rebuild his life after an attack and a working-class single mom trying to get by while caring for herself and her chronically ill child.


One very graphic homophobic assault and the horrific wounds left as a result.


Slurs about gay sex, female sexual frustration, male prostitution. Nudity is portrayed in artwork.


One character uses a large amount of profane, sexually and culturally insensitive language. However, it is used to illustrate both the intolerance of the main character and the pain and frustration of the other two leads.


Includes Nick-at-Nite advertising.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Various moments of social drinking. A character takes anti-depressants.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this film deals candidly with homophobia, violence, mortality, and mental disorders. It includes a very violent and disturbing attack on one of the main characters, which leaves the man hospitalized and disfigured. A character verbally abuses others as a means of coping with his own extreme self-centered and (clinically) obsessive-compulsive behavior.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byyuri13 October 14, 2014

CSM,are you serious?

CSM said that the most graphic thing it's sex,but there's no sex scenes,just some nudity BUT nothing is shown and it's not a nudity for sexual co... Continue reading
Adult Written bySpencer H. July 9, 2019

One of my favorites, but very profane violent, and has sexual content/ nudity albeit positive messages

This is one of my top ten favorite films but it definitely has some strong content to be aware of. There is quite a bit of swearing 3 f words and other uses of... Continue reading
Teen, 17 years old Written byBestPicture1996 July 31, 2013

A trio of wonderful performances!

Kinnear really blew me away in this film, as a sensitive gay man without all the cliches that come attatched to that, but Nicholson and Hunt were fantastic. Nic... Continue reading

What's the story?

In AS GOOD AS IT GETS, Jack Nicholson plays Melvin, a hostile, reclusive, obsessive-compulsive romance writer who lives his life eating with plastic flatware, avoiding stepping on cracks, and steering clear of dirt, human contact, or disorder. The film follows the intersecting lives of Melvin, his gay artist neighbor Simon (Greg Kinnear), and a local waitress, Carol (Helen Hunt), the mother of a chronically ill child. After a brutal attack on Simon, Melvin is forced to disrupt his orderly life to care for his neighbor's dog (and in the process Simon). Ultimately, the film examines the trio's initial disdain for each other and the ways in which their circumstances can assist them in achieving physical and mental well-being.

Is it any good?

Helen Hunt and Jack Nicholson garnered Academy Awards, and Kinnear a nomination, for their true-to-life performances -- and all three were well-deserved. Often pitched as a romantic comedy, As Good as it Gets eschews the saccharine aftertaste of many such films. Instead, it provides sometimes-painful moments of self-discovery and the possibility for a pleasant (though less than "normal") tomorrow for its trio characters.

Parents might want to consider their child's level of maturity before allowing them to watch this movie.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about issues such as tolerance, mental illness, and personal strength. What is at the bottom of Melvin's homophobic remarks toward Simon? What helps him overcome these feelings? The film illustrates the struggles of a single mother attempting to care for her chronically ill child and live a life of her own. Parents may want to use this opportunity to discuss a topic seldom considered by adolescents: the lives of parents beyond the needs of their children.

Movie details

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