As Good as It Gets Movie Poster Image

As Good as It Gets



Funny, but not a light comedy for youngsters.
Popular with kids
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Release Year: 1997
  • Running Time: 139 minutes

What parents need to know

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.

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.

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.

Families can talk 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

Theatrical release date:December 25, 1997
DVD/Streaming release date:May 19, 1998
Cast:Cuba Gooding Jr., Helen Hunt, Jack Nicholson
Director:James L. Brooks
Studio:Columbia Tristar
Run time:139 minutes
MPAA rating:PG-13
MPAA explanation:appeal for strong language, thematic elements, nudity and a beating

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Kid, 12 years old April 9, 2008

One of my faves

This is one of my favorite films, for many reasons. First off, it has tremendous acting (most notably by masterful Jack Nicholson) and a wonderful plot, that's a bit "Little Miss Sunshine"-esque. It has many redeeming qualities, although Nicholson's character is a grouchy old racist. It tells us to accept others although Nicholson's character shows strong homophobia toward Kinnear's character. It tells us that violence hurts more than just the body, although Kinnear's character is brutally beaten in a nearly glorified manner. And finally, it tells us that anyone can fall in love, even though the three leads have immense romantic troubles. So, please, see this film. You WILL NOT be sorry.
Kid, 11 years old April 9, 2008


Wonderful film!!!!
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 content. And they not mention the positive messages of the movie.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much consumerism
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking