As Good as It Gets

  • Review Date: September 20, 2005
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Release Year: 1997
  • Running Time: 139 minutes

Common Sense Media says

Funny, but not a light comedy for youngsters.
  • Review Date: September 20, 2005
  • 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.

Parents say

Kids say

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 (Mad About You) and Jack Nicholson (One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest) garnered well-deserved Academy Awards and a nomination for Kinnear (Talk Soup)for their true-to-life performances. 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 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

This review of As Good as It Gets was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging, good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging, good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging, okay learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Kid, 12 years old April 9, 2008
AGENot rated for age

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.
Teen, 16 years old Written bymovieloverman1234 July 25, 2009
This movie was pretty funny. I was laughing alot actually but theres more to thisd then comedy as well. There is really only one scene thats violent but Its pretty violent, strong language for PG-13 and sexuality. Good movie but should of been R-rated.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Kid, 11 years old April 9, 2008
AGENot rated for age


Wonderful film!!!!


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