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Parents' Guide to

Dolly Parton's Coat of Many Colors

By Emily Ashby, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 7+

Inspiring, faith-filled tale has emotion, serious themes.

Movie NR 2016 180 minutes
Dolly Parton's Coat of Many Colors Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

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

Community Reviews

age 9+

Based on 10 parent reviews

age 5+

Fantastic movie that shows Christian values

It is refreshing to see a positive portrayal of Christianity on a major broadcast network these days. Coat of Many Colors and its sequel originally premiered on NBC. The girl playing Dolly Parton is a really good actress, and the rest of the cast is good as well. There are some heavy topics dealt with like miscarriage and bullying at school where Dolly gets treated really cruelly. It takes her awhile to recover from that, but her mother encourages her to forgive the bullies, and she invites them to church. The father is a long time unbeliever, but his wife and preacher father-in-law show concern for his eternal salvation and that he needs to repent, which does happen near the end.
age 4+

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (10 ):
Kids say (5 ):

This autobiographical story based on Parton's early song of the same name never shies away from the harsh realities of Dolly's upbringing or the resulting faith-based themes. The latter are obvious, with Bible verses and moral words of wisdom oft-quoted in the dialogue, so they're not easily missed, and the tale of Dolly's multi-colored coat is a visual representation of her mother's (and thus, the family's) journey through happiness, despair, and eventual renewal of hope. It's a beautiful story with far-reaching messages about appreciating one's gifts and using them to bless others in turn.

With themes like these, Coat of Many Colors is an excellent choice for family viewing, but there are incidents in the story that may need some context from you if your young kids watch. Dolly's mischievous spirit endears her to viewers, but on a few occasions, it subjects her to physical punishment from her parents and, in one case, her teacher. There's a lot of raw emotion in scenes that deal with Dolly's mother's depression and its effect on the family, as well as the grief journey that follows their shared tragedy. Other features of the time and place -- her father's smoking habit, the fact that many of the kids don't attend school, the financial struggles of a large farming family, etc. -- stand out as unusual compared to modern times as well, but at the same time, it's refreshing to see such an unsanitized story of faith, family love, and overcoming adversity.

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