A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Big families headed by loving, but strict parents can be successful. At the same time, when kids assert their independence reasonably, parents must learn to be flexible. In times of crisis, families should stick together.
Positive Role Models
The parents of 12 kids are shown as loving, reliable, and committed to their children's education and good behavior. The father's over-involvement is tempered by the mother's restraint and wisdom. Set in 1921 gender roles are old-fashioned; the father thinks he has the final word. However, it becomes apparent that Mrs. Gilbreth is a highly educated woman who will later find great success in the business world. No ethnic diversity.
Sex, Romance & Nudity
Innocent teen flirtation.
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"Jackass" and "fatty."
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Cheaper by the Dozen, which is set in the 1920s and based on a true story, offers a rosy look at parenting a very large family, but surprises at the end when one of the principal characters dies (off camera). The death is unexpected and significantly changes the upbeat, life-affirming tone of rest of the movie. Other than its sad ending and a scene in which a representative from Planned Parenthood is made the butt of jokes about birth control and large families, it's a sweet, but thin, depiction of the values, activities, and customs of a time gone by. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
It's old-fashioned from its acting style, uncomplicated characters, and story line, to the ease with which problems are solved. Still it's fun, innocent, and, until the sad ending, a likeable picture of an idealized family nearly 100 years ago.
The 2003 version with Steve Martin and Bonnie Hunt is not actually a remake, and has only the title and size of the family in common with this earlier movie which was inspired by the real Gilbreth family.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.
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