Bicentennial Man

 
(i)

 

Film about robot who wants to be human is so-so.
  • Review Date: May 2, 2003
  • Rated: PG
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 1999
  • Running Time: 132 minutes

What parents need to know

Violence

Mild.

Sex
Not applicable
Language

Some four letter words.

Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Social drinking.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this film has some mild profanity and sexual references, including a "facts of life" discussion, Andrew's adaptation so that he can have sex (but not children), a post-sex conversation in bed, and one of the most romantic descriptions of the sex act ever written. There are also ill-behaved and surly children whose behavior is not curtailed by the family.

What's the story?

Set in the not too distant future, this adaptation of Isaac Asimov's story stars Robin Williams as Andrew, a robot in the Martins' fancy home. Although the family elects not to activate the \"personality chip,\" they see that there is something special about Andrew's wiring, a spark of consciousness, creativity, and yearning. Mr. Martin (Sam Neill) promises to help Andrew become all that he can. This is fine when he is teaching Andrew about history, biology, and even humor, and when he wants to be adapted so that he can show more expression in his face, but less fine when Andrew wants freedom. And he is uncomfortable with his growing affection for Andrew: \"You can't invest your feelings in a machine.\" Martin's understanding daughter, \"Little Miss,\" (Embeth Davditz) does not hesitate to care deeply for Andrew, and remains close to him all her life.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Overall, BICENTENNIAL MAN is a sweet movie that gives families a good opportunity to talk about what makes us human. As Andrew lives on past the lives of his original family, he stays close to their descendants, especially "Little Miss's" look-alike granddaughter, Portia. He uses the latest technology to provide himself with skin, hair, a neural system, a digestive system, and finally, to become fully human, mortality. Just like Woody in "Toy Story 2," Andrew has a choice between pristine immortality and a limited, uncertain, but deeply engaged existence.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about what makes us human. Why did Andrew's makers want to remove what made him special? Why did Andrew want to find others like himself? What do you think made him different? When do you think he became human? When he created something? When he wanted freedom? When he felt love? When he allowed himself to grow old and die? Why did he stop referring to himself as "one?" Why didn't some people in the family like Andrew? Why didn't Andrew like Portia at first? Why did he want to be with her, when he didn't like her? Do you think that's what life will be like in the future? What would it be like to have a robot in our house?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:December 17, 1999
DVD release date:June 13, 2000
Cast:Embeth Davidtz, Robin Williams, Sam Neill
Director:Chris Columbus
Studio:Touchstone Pictures
Genre:Drama
Topics:Robots
Run time:132 minutes
MPAA rating:PG
MPAA explanation:language and some sexual content

This review of Bicentennial Man was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

Learning ratings

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

Find out more

About our buy links

When you use our links to make a purchase, Common Sense Media earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes. As a nonprofit organization, these funds help us continue providing independent, ad-free services for educators, families, and kids while the price you pay remains the same. Thank you for your support.
Read more

See more about how we rate and review.

About Our Rating System

The age displayed for each title is the minimum one for which it's developmentally appropriate. We recently updated all of our reviews to show only this age, rather than the multi-color "slider." Get more information about our ratings.

Great handpicked alternatives

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Adult Written byjace November 8, 2010
 
What other families should know
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Kid, 12 years old April 16, 2010
 

Good Movie!

this was a great movie my only concerns are when Robin Williams is trying to tell a joke they are ALL innapropriate but that is about it.
What other families should know
Too much sex
Teen, 14 years old Written bythefilmmaestro October 22, 2013
 

Age 7+

The other reviews are too harsh. A 7 year would understand what is in this film. There is mild language and sex references yet the child would not be bothered and wouldn't understand.
What other families should know
Great role models
Too much sex
Too much swearing

Poll

Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?

Digital Compass