A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that batteries not included is an '80s movie with more iffy content than you may remember. There are some scenes of violence. One includes an arsonist burning down an apartment building. Another scene shows characters threatening others with axes and baseball bats. A character is shown binge-drinking by himself. Profanity includes "goddammit," "bastard," "hell," and son of a bitch." One scene shows a nude painting of a topless woman; bare breasts are on full display. Implied robot sex (bright, blinking lights coming from a shed).
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
Set in an impoverished section of New York City, *BATTERIES NOT INCLUDED tells the story of honest, blue-collar citizens threatened with eviction to make way for a modern housing complex. The tenants find their prayers answered by an unlikely source: mechanical alien flying saucers. The saucers have the uncanny ability to restore the decrepit apartment complex and defend the tenants from their evictors. It's a quintessential movie of good people vs. bad people.
Is it any good?
Although this film often drags at points, its message is warm and heartfelt. The movie emphasizes the notion of standing up for one's beliefs. The relationships between the characters are mature, but not overly complex for a child to understand. The movie features a unique plot and conveys an overall positive message that both kids and adults will appreciate.
However, one major flaw is Jessica Tandy's character. Her performance as a senile wife is not credible as she teeters in and out of senility like a metronome. Another is the edgy content that is completely unnecessary to the story. There is no need for the profanity and nudity featured here; neither add to the plot. Parents may also be concerned about the violence.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the importance of home. Why were the tenants willing to fight so vehemently against those who attempted to evict them?
Discuss the importance of standing up for what you believe in. What are some causes that are worth fighting for?
Does this '80s movie stand the test of time or does it seem outdated? Why?
- In theaters: December 18, 1987
- On DVD or streaming: March 16, 1999
- Cast: Frank McRae, Hume Cronyn, Jessica Tandy
- Director: Matthew Robbins
- Studio: Universal Pictures
- Genre: Science Fiction
- Topics: Robots, Space and Aliens
- Run time: 107 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG
- MPAA explanation: thematic elements
- Last updated: September 20, 2019
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