Movie review by
Melissa Camacho, Common Sense Media
Connected Movie Poster Image
Docu connects love, death, and technology.
  • PG
  • 2011
  • 80 minutes

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

The movie explores the various ways in which human behavior and technology can potentially change the way we connect on a global scale -- and the positive and negative consequences of those connections. The cancer-related death of a parent and a difficult pregnancy are also major themes.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The movie underscores the strong father-daughter relationship between Leonard and Tiffany Shlain.


War is discussed; images of guns and cannons being shot. A brief comedy scene shows a woman slapping someone's face.


Brief images of animated nude images, taken from medical and artistic pictures of both men and women.


Sony computers are occasionally visible. Books written and talks given by author Leonard Shlain are prominently featured.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Smoking is visible. The drug trade is briefly discussed.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this documentary explores the different ways that people connect around the world -- and the impact that these connections have on a global scale. It taps into issues like waste, the environment, war, and illness. The death of a parent and a difficult pregnancy are also major themes. Archival footage and Web images include references to political leaders, pop culture icons, and other recognizable people, as well as brief images of things like guns, cannons, and animated nudity. While the content overall isn't too iffy, chances are the subject matter and content won't be of interest to younger kids. References are made to being transgendered.

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What's the story?

Autobiographical documentary CONNECTED delves into what it means to be connected in the 21st century. Writer/director Tiffany Shlain, founder of the Webby Awards, looks at how humans and technology continually change the way we connect on a global scale while also sharing the journey of her father's (Dr. Leonard Shlain) battle with brain cancer. Shlain looks at the links between human behavior, technology, and social issues to better understand how we tap into the connected culture to both create and destroy the best and worst parts of our world.

Is it any good?

Shlain's effort to pay tribute to her late father while simultaneously showing us how we should think about the non-linear nature of connectivity is interesting. But there are times when it's hard to figure out some of the individual points she's trying to make thanks to the film's fractured presentation of visual images and personal life events. Others may not agree with the cause-and-effect relationships between events established here. But the movie's overall message is very clear: We need to take responsibility for what we do in the world, because everything we do will eventually impact someone (or something) else.

Narrated by Shlain and actor Peter Coyote, the film offers a historical exploration of connectivity while showcasing a collage of home movies, animation, archival video footage, and Web imagery to underscore the different ways that humans connect. It also highlights the intentional and unexpected consequences of these connections on the world. Many of these arguments are extensions of ideas introduced in the late Dr. Shlain's controversial books.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about what the movie has to say about technology. Is it a good thing? A bad thing? Both? How does it impact personal relationships?

  • How do you think technology will continue to increase (or decrease) the impact that small life decisions have on a larger community?

Movie details

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