A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
The studies of scientists and researchers obsessed with their subjects are celebrated here in a compelling manner.
Sex, Romance & Nudity
Brief discussion of mole rat reproductive habits.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Sex, Romance & Nudity in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that there's little objectionable in this documentary, but its subject matter and (at times confusing) story-telling techniques are too esoteric for younger kids. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
In its subtle way, this film celebrates the activity of studying and learning, and in a way that is sure to engage those who have the patience to stick with it. With no apparent plan, filmmaker Errol Morris introduces us to four men who seem to have nothing in common; the movie is less about what these men do than it is about their impulse to strive and perfect. These four men are fascinating nonetheless, as they pursue tasks that initially look bizarre and pointless. If training lions to jump through flaming hoops rather than to attack their trainer seems like a useless way to spend a life, Mr. Hoover still possesses a strong and deep grasp of his craft and its history. And even chaos has its uses, as the robot engineer realizes.
It shares the joys of mastering a craft and indulging intellectual curiosity. Younger kids may desire more of a traditional narrative, but teens may especially like the movie's odd sensibilities. The movie leaves viewers with the notion that it could have focused on any four dedicated professionals, regardless of interest. Morris assembles his interviews and illustrations in a way that at first seems merely pointless and silly. He uses clips from old movies that often have nothing to do with what the speaker is saying. He also puts one subject's words over images of another's work. The connections he begins to make, though, are always compelling -- even more compelling are the ones we make ourselves, as we catch the men's contagious curiosity.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.
Suggest an Update
Our Editors Recommend
Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.See how we rate