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A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Jane is an engaging documentary about famed primatologist Jane Goodall. As is typical for nature documentaries, there's some animal-on-animal violence; things don't get graphic, but some beloved animals do eventually die. Chimps are also shown mating, and there's one humorous use of "s--t." There's also some talk about divorce and other personal choices of the humans involved in the story, which might require some explaining for the youngest viewers. Goodall is an excellent example of someone who marched to her own drummer and became a pioneer in her field; her story epitomizes the values of perseverance, hard work, determination, curiosity, and compassion.
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What's the story?
JANE is an intimate documentary about the life and career of renowned primatologist, ethologist, and anthropologist Jane Goodall. Newly unearthed footage and exclusive interviews trace her journey from an untrained, animal-loving young woman in a field dominated by men to one of the most respected names of her time. Much of the film centers around her observation post in Gombe Stream National Park, Tanzania, Africa, as she struggles to win the trust of the local chimpanzees, and then uses unconventional methods to uncover key information about them and their similarities to humans.
Is it any good?
Previously unseen footage and exclusive interviews give this documentary a fresh, intimate feeling that will reward even veteran Jane Goodall fans. Jane offers absorbing insight into a living legend. Her story epitomizes perseverance, curiosity, and compassion. She started out as an untrained young woman in a scientific era that was completely dominated by men. But she turned her lack of formal schooling into the advantage of freedom: Her unconventional approach may well have unlocked key discoveries in primatology.
Philip Glass (Koyaanisqatsi) turns in a lush, very Philip Glass score that beautifully complements Jane's images -- many of which are rare, taken by Goodall's then husband, revered wildlife photographer and cinematographer Hugo van Lawick. Director Brett Morgen (Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck) crafts a warm, flowing portrait of one of our time's leading women of science. There are moments of humor and emotion, triumph and loss. It's a fitting tribute to a remarkable person.
Talk to your kids about ...
What were Jane's major breakthroughs? Why were they significant (what do you think they meant)?
How is the work of scientists typically depicted in movies and on TV? How was Goodall's real experience different?
Some of the animal violence/death scenes may be upsetting, but they're also part of nature. How do kids feel about seeing some animals attack others?
- In theaters: October 20, 2017
- On DVD or streaming: April 3, 2018
- Cast: Jane Goodall
- Director: Brett Morgen
- Studio: Abramorama
- Genre: Documentary
- Topics: Science and Nature, Wild Animals
- Character Strengths: Compassion, Curiosity, Perseverance
- Run time: 90 minutes
- MPAA rating: NR
- Awards/Honors: Common Sense Seal
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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.