A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this film is almost non-stop action, with lots of gunplay, many on-camera killings, and car chases, with two heroic kids frequently placed in dangerous predicaments (careening in cars; stalked, captured, and held hostage; shot at and threatened with bombs). In one scene, a boy is tricked into killing a villain. It's all make-believe, comic book violence, but it might easily be confusing or disturbing to very young viewers.
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What's the story?
After the death of his mother, Davey Osborne (Henry Thomas) withdraws into a world of video games and make-believe. His accomplices are a little girl almost his age, a computer nerd, and, most importantly, his imaginary friend, Jack Flack, a daring adventurer who looks exactly like Davey's loving but distant father (Dabney Coleman in a dual role). Davey's fantasies become all too real when he witnesses a startling murder and the dying victim hands him a video game that holds critical government secrets. When the bad guys identify Davey, the chase is on.
Is it any good?
CLOAK & DAGGER is flawed, with gaping plot holes, unquestionably violent action sequences, and highly ineffectual adults. But kids (especially preteens who have a firm grasp on real versus make-believe violence) will find it appealing. Superheroes have been delighting audiences for generations; they embody all that's good, and they defeat all that's evil.
When the superhero is a normal 11-year-old boy, the audience can identify with him, and he's an even more appealing hero. Davey takes on a gang of evil spies, saves the country, avenges the death of his friend, and teaches his father a thing or two about parenting. For most kids, there's nothing better than that.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about Davey's immersion in video games and role playing. What are the pros and cons of this activity? How much is too much?
Why did the filmmakers use the same actor to play Davey's father and Jack Flack? What did that tell you about Davey's feelings about his dad?
In this movie, the two kids are in great danger, and Davey has to deal with the villains himself. Are you able to distinguish the make-believe violence from movies that portray violence as real? As an audience member, what are some of the ways you know the difference?
There were several shots in the movie of a video game that was popular in 1984. How have video games changed in the years since?
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