A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Encourages compassion, empathy, perseverance. Acknowledges need to care for children experiencing loss, the fact that kids grieve differently than adults do.
Positive Role Models
The grief counselors are kind, empathetic. They talk to the kids about their feelings, how they're handling their grief. The kids' remaining parents and guardians interact with them in a compassionate, loving way. The kids are hopeful and sweet.
Violence & Scariness
Scenes of crying and sad children grieving loss of a parent. Reference to fatal car accident. Implication that one death could have been by suicide.
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A few comments like "kick his butt," "kill you," and "you're dead."
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Products & Purchases
A few glimpses of brands: Mercedes, The North Face, Nike, and Nerf guns.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Discussion of "bad medicine" and alcohol contributing to two deaths.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Beautiful Something Left Behind is a documentary about young children involved in grief counseling at Good Grief, a New Jersey community organization. Director Katrine Philp solely focuses on the children, interviewing them and following them around at home and at the center. Although adults are around and speak to the kids, they don't speak to the camera/viewers, so the film immerses audiences into the topic of grief as the children experience it. Expect scenes of sad, crying children and references to and stories of how various kids' parents died (including via car accident and one possibly by suicide). There are vague mentions of "bad medicine" and "alcohol" being responsible for loss. This isn't a "fun family movie night" pick, but families dealing with grief and loss might find it valuable to watch together. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
This is a heartbreaking, immersive documentary about how young children process overwhelming grief with help from kind counselors and loving caregivers. It's extremely poignant to see how loss impacts these little kids, who are clearly affected by the deaths that led them to Good Grief but don't all have the capacity to explain their emotions beyond sadness, tears, and an unsurprising penchant for imaginative play that involves people dying. Peter's story, as an orphan, is particularly heartrending; he's only 6 and is seemingly being raised by his maternal grandmother and uncle. Even Mikayla, who lost her dad, has a conversation with her widowed mother about how some kids don't have a father or a mother, like her friend Peter. The movie's two sets of siblings are also compelling, because each set has one sibling who's more outgoing and one who's more subdued. Nicky in particular says very little, while Kimmy comically talks nonstop.
However, as touching as it is to witness the children at the center of Beautiful Something Left Behind, it's somewhat frustrating not to have any context about the group -- how it's structured and how it progresses. It's not that the kids aren't compelling subjects, but even a bit of background information would have gone a long way. The only text information provided on-screen is the kids' names and ages. The interviews reveal how sad -- and, in some ways, confused -- the children are, how upsettingly unkind classmates can be, how lonely it is to be motherless or fatherless. This isn't an easy documentary to watch, but viewers will feel invested in the children's stories.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.