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Parents' Guide to

Captain January

By Nell Minow, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 6+

Shirley Temple feel-good classic is one of her best.

Movie G 1936 77 minutes
Captain January Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

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

Community Reviews

age 7+

Based on 1 parent review

age 7+

Fun old movie, but more emotionally intense & violent than the Common Sense review suggests

My family (kids age 5 & 9) enjoyed this movie for our monthly family movie night, but it was sadder and more violent than we had anticipated for our 5 year old. Much of the plot revolves around whether the little girl is going to be taken from the guardian who raised her, a topic which young kids understandably find frightening. Then she IS removed, kicking and sobbing, while she and her protectors are overpowered by the "bad guy" adults. She continues to cry and beg for her guardian for another scene or two. It is not resolved so quickly, and although there is a happy ending, it is VERY short and sudden, so short and sudden that it's hard for kids to understand what happened and not that satisfying. There are also a couple instances of violence: someone punching someone else in order to try to knock him off a boat, a serious and angry kick in the butt, a lot of adult name-calling (although the name-calling is so clever and high-literacy that kids probably don't understand most of the words, like, "You dessicated barnicle!"). Overall the movie is a good one -- wonderful singing and dancing, adorable little girl, funny slapstick, humor that had the adults laughing out loud. I also appreciated that the little girl and the men defy stereotypes -- the men are doting and caring caregivers, the girl is strong, smart, and self-sufficient, mostly wears pants, is an expert about and lover of ships. Enjoy it -- just wait until your kids are old enough for the intense storyline!

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say: (1 ):
Kids say: Not yet rated

This is one of Shirley Temple's best movies, and it provides an opportunity to discuss some of the most sensitive issues facing some children. When Star is taken away from Cap, she asks, "Why are they taking me away from you? What have I done?" This provides the opportunity to talk to children about how many kids mistakenly blame themselves for problems created by the grown-ups around them. While the movie depicts the difficulty of finding work, especially after a job has been made obsolete, in the end, this is a "happily ever after" movie. Some children may not connect with the story's perfect ending in which a rather desperate situation is tied up into a neat package, just in the nick of time.

Movie Details

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