Brigsby Bear

Movie review by
Jeffrey M. Anderson, Common Sense Media
Brigsby Bear Movie Poster Image
Quirky, sweet indie dramedy has some mature moments.
  • PG-13
  • 2017
  • 100 minutes

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Kids say

age 13+
Based on 1 review

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The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Celebrates creativity as a way of connecting with the world, even as it explores the power of nostalgia (both positive and negative). Also celebrates kindness and compassion toward those who are different.

Positive Role Models & Representations

James is kind, smart, and creative, but he's also very socially awkward -- he's sometimes inadvertently rude or odd. His kidnappers' motives/decisions are extremely iffy. Not much diversity in main cast.


An explosion. FBI raid. TV set thrown through a window.


A teen girl kisses the main character, unzips his pants, and touches his crotch. The main character masturbates under the covers. Teens kiss at a party.


Regular use of "s--t." Occasional use of "f--k," the "N" word (heard during a rap song), "d--k," "stupid," and "Christ" (as an exclamation).


Coca-Cola bottles shown more than once.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Brief teen drinking at a party. Teens drink on a camping trip. The main character takes a pill and drinks too much at a party; he gets dizzy, hallucinates, and passes out. Mention of "weed."

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Brigsby Bear is a sweet, quirky dramedy about a man (Saturday Night Live's Kyle Mooney) who was held prisoner his whole life and is obsessed with a made-up TV show. Expect some sexual content: A teen girl kisses the main character, undoes his zipper, and reaches for his crotch. There's also kissing, and the main character masturbates under the covers. "S--t" is used regularly, and "f--k" and other words are heard occasionally. The main character drinks and takes a pill at a party, gets dizzy, hallucinates, and passes out. Teens are briefly shown drinking, and weed is mentioned. There's an explosion, and a TV set is thrown through a window. While the characters aren't ideal role models, the movie does offer messages of compassion and kindness toward those who are different.

User Reviews

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Teen, 16 years old Written bykappy6554 August 26, 2017

Quirky Indie Dramedy is excellent, but includes some iffy content.

Brigsby Bear is an indie movie about a man obsessed with a kids TV show, Brigsby Bear, made just for him. He then steps into the real world and decides to finis... Continue reading

What's the story?

In BRIGSBY BEAR, 20-something James Pope (Saturday Night Live's Kyle Mooney) lives with Ted (Mark Hamill) and April Mitchum (Jane Adams) in their compound, forbidden to leave because of the poison air he's been told is outside. He spends his hours watching and studying the TV show Brigsby Bear. Suddenly, the FBI raids the place, and James learns that he was kidnapped as a child. It turns out that everything outside is actually fine, and Brigsby Bear was created by Ted and shown only to James. Returned to his real family, James has a hard time adjusting -- he can't forget his lifelong obsession with the bear. After his father takes him to the movies, James decides to make his own film, wrapping up the Brigsby Bear storyline. He goes to a party with his sister and makes some new friends who are willing to help. Unfortunately, the authority figures in his life think that James' obsession is unhealthy and that he should be sent somewhere to get help.

Is it any good?

This dramedy from several SNL veterans has a pretty strong case of the cutes, and it doesn't always connect, but at the same time it's genuinely imaginative and sweetly likable. Brigsby Bear is one of those movies in which everything revolves around the main character, and all the secondary characters exist in relation to him; they lack inner lives of their own. Whatever secret conflicts or concerns or opinions they might have about James' peculiarities are simply ignored.

Nevertheless, as played by Mooney, James is such an endearing fellow -- unguarded and kind -- that it's difficult not to like him. And, as an extension, it's easy to see why all the other characters like him. Additionally, director Dave McCary and star/co-writer Mooney have created a fascinating universe around Brigsby and also manage to explore, at least somewhat, the twin pleasures and pitfalls of nostalgia. Certainly Hamill's presence in the cast -- as both a voice actor and as a sci-fi nerd -- helps make the point. Andy Samberg is also onboard as a co-producer and appears in a funny, small role.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how Brigsby Bear depicts sex. Do the characters make positive decisions about sex? Parents, talk to your teens about your own values regarding sex and relationships.

  • How are teen drinking and drug use shown? Is substance use glamorized? Are there realistic consequences? Why does that matter?

  • What role does compassion play in the story? Why is that an important character strength?

  • In what ways is James a role model? In what ways is he a more problematic character?

  • What is the movie saying about nostalgia? What's the upside? The downside? Have you ever been nostalgic about a TV show or a character from your childhood?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love to laugh

Character Strengths

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