Parents' Guide to

Beautiful Something Left Behind

By Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 10+

Poignant documentary about kids coping with grief.

Movie NR 2021 88 minutes
Beautiful Something Left Behind Poster Image

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What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

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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.

Movie Details

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