A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Though the movie is intended to entertain rather than educate, kids may be inspired to learn more about science.
The importance of friendship and teamwork, and what it means to be inclusive. Understanding that people aren't always as they first appear and appreciating the value of honesty and being your true self. What it means to help out your friends and to make amends when you've let people down. Understanding that if you want something to change, you need to do things differently.
Positive Role Models
Charlie is enthusiastic and determined, passionate about both science and sport, with a charming, positive attitude. His deceptive actions are well balanced by his good intentions. Claire is bright, smart, and friendly, demonstrating a natural confidence. Charlie's father is loving, supportive, and proud of his son. Dr. Krickstein is full of respect and admiration for Charlie. Charlie's college roommates are arrogant and sexist at first -- but they grow into warm, likable characters.
Very little diversity in a story largely about White, straight, neurotypical, able-bodied, financially-comfortable characters. There are two Black characters in supporting roles.
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Violence & Scariness
Some aggression on the hockey rink, often portrayed as slapstick.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
One gentle kiss between teens.
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A few playground insults and teasing, including "stupid," "brainiac," "losers," "jerk," and "kick his butt." A hockey coach addresses the male team as "ladies."
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Genius is a lighthearted family comedy with positive messages, strong role models, and no iffy content. The story centers around 14-year-old Charlie (Trevor Morgan), a child genius who creates an alter ego in order to make new friends and impress a girl. Made by the Disney Channel in 1999 it has a notable lack of diversity among the cast and within the story. There is some teasing and a few insults including "jerk," plus sexist use of the term "ladies" when addressing the all-male hockey team. Themes throughout include the value of friendship and the importance of being yourself, while several characters display positive traits such as enthusiasm, self-confidence, and empathy. While there's nothing inappropriate for younger kids, the content and storyline will probably most appeal to tweens. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
A standard Disney offering from the 1990s' TV movie stable, this is nonetheless a charming coming-of-age story with a lighthearted tone. Genius somehow gets away with combining science and sport, making particle physics experiments seem just as exciting as fast-paced ice hockey sequences.
Morgan and Rossum -- both just 13 when this was made -- have a natural flair and snappy chemistry. And while Morgan's alter ego character Chaz will have you cringing throughout, he'll no doubt also elicit a few laughs. There are numerous implausible plotlines -- not least that an eccentric pair of scientists holed up under an ice rink might uncover the secret to defying gravity -- but at its heart this is a story about growing up, first love, and being true to yourself.
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.