A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Bullying is shown in different forms, from emotionally abusive parents to physically abusive teens -- and the ways the bullies are dealt with aren't always admirable. But the young teen characters show bravery in standing up against impossible odds, working together toward a common goal.
Positive Role Models
The characters are frequently troubled outcasts who are prone to iffy behavior or lying -- but they step up and are at their best when working as a team. The one female member of the group is shown to be as brave and strong as the boys, although she does require rescuing at one point.
Violence & Scariness
Very scary stuff, with a flat-out terrifying clown. Lots of bullying. Children are in peril: A child's arm is bitten off, and a bully carves up a kid's stomach with a knife. A bully stabs a man with the same knife; lots of blood. A bathroom is covered in blood, and characters spend a scene cleaning it up. A sheep is killed with a bolt gun. Rock throwing, with injuries. Broken arm. Clown stabbed through the face. Bullies shoot guns, taking aim at a cat. Kicking, smashing in head with toilet tank lid. Kids beat the clown with many kinds of blunt objects. A father is abusive psychologically, and acts in a creepily sexual way toward his teen daughter, too.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
There are rumors that a teen girl has slept with many guys. Rather clueless attempts at sex-related jokes by 13-year-olds who don't know exactly what they're talking about (but they use terms like "tickling your pickle," "period," "vagina," "birth control pills," "crabs," etc.). Teens go swimming in their underwear; the boys admire the girl.
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Very strong language, much of it spoken by 13-year-olds, including "f--k," "motherf----r," "s--t," "bulls--t," "t-ts," "ass," "damn," "d--k," "f--got," "piss," "you suck," "my wang," plus "Jesus" (as an exclamation).
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Many empty beer bottles near an adult's (an abusive father's) chair in one scene.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that It is based on Stephen King's 1986 novel, which was previously adapted into a 1990 TV miniseries. It's very scary, and not just in a typical gory slasher or jump scare way; it generates actual tingles. (And if you're scared of clowns, it's even worse.) Things get pretty gory; characters are stabbed, impaled, and beaten with rocks and blunt objects. A boy's arm is bitten off, teens shoot guns, and a sheep is killed with a bolt gun. Language is also very strong, with a lot of the swearing coming from young teens; you'll hear "f--k," "s--t," and more. There's lots of bullying, and an abusive father acts in a creepily sexual way toward his teen daughter. You can also expect to hear a fair bit of sex-related talk among the teen characters, though much of it is naïve and meant to be humorous. Teens will be eager to see this one, but it's not for sensitive viewers or the faint of heart. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Based on Stephen King's 1986 novel, this terrifying clown movie builds its fright from fear itself. In that respect, it's more aligned with The Goonies, Stand by Me, and Stranger Things than it is with slasher movies or jump scares. Director Andy Muschietti, whose disappointing horror movie Mama never would have indicated anything as good as It, keeps things simple by focusing on the bond between the outcast kids -- there are plenty of scenes that could have been taken right out of any regular summertime coming-of-age movie -- and by using a slick combination of practical and digital effects.
The result feels like it could have come right out of the 1980s. Few of the familiar, overused cliches of recent horror movies are here, and with its effective use of music, editing, set design, choice of angles, and overall rhythms, It generates honest-to-goodness tingles, rather than quick shocks. And Pennywise is an iconic character, based not on a simple fear of death -- he's more than just a Freddy or a Jason -- but on something more primal and unexplainable, a thing of nightmares. This epic It promises that it's only Chapter One, with more terror to come.
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.