Parents' Guide to

Better Nate Than Ever

By Jennifer Green, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 10+

Book-based tween musical celebrates differences, diversity.

Movie PG 2022 91 minutes
Better Nate Than Ever Movie Poster

A Lot or a Little?

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

Community Reviews

age 9+

Based on 12 parent reviews

age 13+

age 6+

An enjoyable, if slow moving, Broadway drama for the family

A cute and inspiring, if at times cliche, story about an "oddball" (thinly veiled gay) kid getting away from from middle school for a weekend in New York. Kids who are interested in theater will enjoy it, but there is a lot of dialogue so it may be boring for kids who prefer more action or comedy.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (12 ):
Kids say (9 ):

This is a film for every kid who's ever felt different, or has imagined their name in lights, or was sure they were cut out for bigger things but hadn't yet discovered what they were. Nate, the titular character of the charming Better Nate Than Ever, and best friend Libby are so sure they're meant for more than their Pittsburgh middle school lives that they're willing to take chances and even put themselves in potential danger to pursue their dreams. What makes this movie special is the single-mindedness with which a 13-year-old main character follows his passion, and the innocence and sweetness the story retains despite portraying realistic life challenges.

Nate (charismatic newcomer Wood) is delightfully irrepressible. The script and direction capture this in ways both big and small -- his Axe body spray moment after maddening his brother with song and dance at 7:30 in the morning, his triumphant look upon returning to complete a purchase in dimes and quarters earned busking in Times Square, his riveting monologue from Designing Women. Not every scene lands perfectly, and curiously, his first big imagined musical number, meant to be Golden Age Hollywood fabulous, has less spark than his emotional, climactic singing audition. When the director tells him that musicals allow us to say the things we can't actually say in real life, we totally get it -- thanks to Nate.

Movie Details

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