Parents' Guide to

Fantastic Fungi

By Jeffrey M. Anderson, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 13+

Fabulous docu finds hope in "magic" mushrooms.

Movie NR 2019 80 minutes
Fantastic Fungi Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

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

Community Reviews

age 14+

Based on 2 parent reviews

age 15+

Eye-Opening and Essential

This is a phenomenal documentary which discusses the universal benefits of fungus to humans and nature as a whole. A majority of the topics covered in this film are wonderfully educational for all ages and should be taught more emphatically in school systems. With the many problems our species is facing right now, mushrooms are likely the solution to many of them. The only reason I rate this 15+ is due to the importance of the psilocybin segments. It is incredibly educational and objective, though younger kids may not be ready to hear about mental health and profound spirituality. Especially given the stigma surrounding these things. Overall, an incredibly relevant and impactful documentary.
age 13+


I had to look up why this was rated TV-14 on Netflix for “language.” Instead I ended up previewing it before letting my kids watch it. There is one “s**t,” one “damn,” the decaying mouse is sped up to show the breakdown & fungi. It’s 23.5 min into the doc before “altered states of consciousness” & psychedelic mushrooms comes up. But it’s not all what you might think. They discuss scientific studies, research, history, etc. It’s a very fascinating doc. I rated it 13+ because of the very minor language, but also the complex vocabulary and more mature themes that younger kids probably wouldn’t find interesting or fully understand.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say: (2 ):
Kids say: Not yet rated

One of the most positive and hopeful documentaries in years, this lean, beautiful, entertaining mushroom movie suggests that the answers to many of our problems could grow naturally and abundantly. Louie Schwartzberg's Fantastic Fungi is determined to be more than just a talking-head movie. It uses truly astonishing time-lapse cinematography to show mushrooms blooming. Some of them are beautiful -- growing a net-like covering below their dome caps -- and some are terrifying (one looks like it has spiky red claws). The film also benefits by having Brie Larson narrating as the voice of the mushrooms themselves.

It also finds a great subject in mycologist Paul Stamets, who tells lots of great stories while wandering around in the woods, including one about how mushrooms cured his stuttering. The movie is immediately and consistently interesting. But it eventually moves into profound, cosmic proportions by proposing that mushrooms are a connective force to everything in nature -- and that humans probably ought to be more of a part of that connection. The movie does talk in depth about "magic" mushrooms, arguing that they're wrongly perceived as a "party drug" and are really far more useful than their reputation would suggest. But Fantastic Fungi also doesn't suggest that all viewers must take them. Rather, it merely provides information and the results of a few positive studies, and lets viewers make up their own minds.

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