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 treatment of the subject of evolution contains a number of hot-button topics. From the existence of God to the destruction of humans in the name of racial purity, this documentary pokes at a lot of sensitive topics. It's the type of documentary that some families will seek out for discussion with their mature teens and some will avoid on religious and moral grounds.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
Ben Stein is part comedian, part intellectual, part documentary filmmaker, who is disturbed by a trend in scientific academia. He finds that some academics are being punished for exploring a topic that does not follow the prescribed views held by people in power. Somewhere between Creationism (the belief that God created the heaven and Earth, as written in the Bible) and Darwin's Theory of Evolution (that all life sourced from a single, living cell and evolved over many millennia) lies an idea called Intelligent Design, or I.D. I.D. seeks to explain the unexplainable holes in the Darwinist concept by allowing that a higher intelligence may have been involved in the creation of life as we know it. But what Ben Stein discovers is that those scientists who are exploring I.D. have been silenced or shunned by the Darwinist-dominated status quo.
Is it any good?
What might be disturbing to viewers is the adamant belief which some academics hold that God does not exist. Moreover, some opine that religion is a hobby, or an activity, which could be removed from people's lives to their benefit. Yet when questioned about from whence that single cell from which all life originated, the same intellectuals have no answer. Ben Stein takes the questioning a bold step further and connects Darwin's theories to the Nazi movement and consequent ethnic cleansing. He even points a finger at Planned Parenthood, implying that this organization was founded on the premise of eugenics, or getting rid of certain members of the human race. In this sense, he brings an emotional element into the inquiry that borders on dogma. Viewers will have a lot to think about after seeing this film, and it might leave them wondering about their own beliefs and how they came to rest in them.
Talk to your kids about ...
- In theaters: April 18, 2008
- On DVD or streaming: October 21, 2008
- Cast: Ben Stein, Lili Asvar, Peter Atkins
- Director: Nathan Frankowski
- Studio: Premise
- Genre: Documentary
- Topics: Science and Nature
- Run time: 95 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG
- MPAA explanation: thematic material, disturbing images, brief smoking
- Last updated: September 21, 2019
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