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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
The film shakes up stereotypes with regard to both gender and race and introduces ways to acknowledge and talk about feelings and values.
This DVD is loaded with positive messages that were fresh and original when the special was first broadcast in 1974 and are still relevant today. For instance: "It's all right to cry" and to express your feelings even if you're a boy; "parents are people, people with children"; life offers choices for both males and females in terms of career and marriage; good friends are among life's most valuable riches; and "we don't have to change at all" (i.e. better to be comfortable with ourselves as we are).
Positive Role Models
Particular attention is paid to ethnic diversity, gender equality, and the roles of women and men in the world. Stereotyping is avoided throughout. Both boys and girls are encouraged to be true to their own personalities and goals and to recognize that their feelings are to be trusted and expressed freely.
Violence & Scariness
In the animated "Ladies First," a child who trades on a vision of herself as a particularly delicate "little lady" is chosen by a group of tigers to be the first to become their dinner.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Hand puppet babies discover their gender when nurses change their diapers (off camera).
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 this 1974 film deals with issues that were boundary-pushing at the time -- including gender roles, awareness and expression of feelings, ups and downs of sibling relationships, working mothers, racial stereotyping, and more. Even though society has since embraced most of the values the film conveys, the message may seem heavy-handed and obvious. Still, its cleverness, originality, and fun prove to be of lasting value. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Free to Be You and Me is dated, insofar as the ideas it expresses are no longer cutting-edge. Still, that doesn't lessen the sheer delight of watching some of Hollywood's most bankable stars of the recent past show off their considerable talents in a project that's funny, heartfelt, inventive, and highly entertaining. The songs are memorable, the children interviewed are irresistible, and those who were kids in the '70s and '80s will be delighted to share this wonderful film with their own families. Sometimes it's a treat to revisit old favorites. This is one of those times.
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.