Jeremy Fink and the Meaning of Life

Movie review by
S. Jhoanna Robledo, Common Sense Media
Jeremy Fink and the Meaning of Life Movie Poster Image
Sweet tween film packs big meaning into cliched package.
  • PG
  • 2012
  • 88 minutes

Parents say

age 12+
Based on 4 reviews

Kids say

age 9+
Based on 2 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Stands out for positive messages.

Positive Messages

Jeremy learns that life is all about choices. In some cases, the right decision is obvious, and in others, it's not at all clear. Since some aspects of life are random and can't be controlled, he realizes that it's important to "eat dessert first" while still thinking carefully about the impact of the things that are in your control. Other life lessons include: Live in the moment, money can't buy happiness, and believe in yourself.

Positive Role Models

Jeremy gains insight over the course of the story. The mysterious Mr. Oswald's motives aren't clear, but he seems to be striving to right old wrongs. His methods are baffling, but he does demonstrate that people should think carefully about the choices they make. One character has a penchant for shoplifting.

Violence & Scariness

Tweens bicker. The main character's father died before the story starts.

Sexy Stuff

A boy's best friend is a girl, though he denies that there's any kind of attraction between them.


Some derogatory speech between tweens, including "shut up," "jerk," and "dork."

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Jeremy Fink and the Meaning of Life is a lighthearted film for young people about a 12-year-old who's looking for answers to some pretty big questions. There are some references to the tragic death of the main character's father (which happened before the movie starts). But overall the story is uplifting and simple, great for kids and tweens, and has only mild language and a little bickering.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byedorathy August 13, 2012

Great Family Film!

This is a great feel-good family movie. The younger ones may be bored, but perfect for pre-teens. The only questionable content is a mildly humorous scene invol... Continue reading
Adult Written byBluff January 26, 2013

A disappointment

We tried to watch this movie with our 8 year old daughter. It was not appropriate. The kids in the movie act like adults are idiots. The kids steal and run o... Continue reading
Teen, 17 years old Written byAteIsa November 8, 2021

I'm really disappointed in this movie.

Let me get this straight: when it comes to movies, I am a very forgiving person. But this film just didn't do it for me. I usually like movies like this, a... Continue reading
Kid, 11 years old January 31, 2013


I love this book! It has action, adventure, humor, you even learn a bit of vocabulary!

What's the story?

Two weeks before his 13th birthday, Jeremy Fink (Maxwell Beer) gets a mysterious package: a wooden box created years earlier by his dad -- before his sudden death in a car accident. According to what's carved into the lid, the box contains The Meaning of Life. Too bad it's locked and the keys are lost. Jeremy and his best friend, Lizzie (Ryan Simpkins), take it as a challenge, searching high and low for the keys with the assistance of mysterious Mr. Oswald (Joe Pantoliano). And in the process they discover much more. Mira Sorvino co-stars as Jeremy's supportive mom.

Is it any good?

JEREMY FINK AND THE MEANING OF LIFE is charming but predictable. As Jeremy and Lizzie scour New York for the missing keys, they meet a bevy of kooky characters who impart a series of Important Life Lessons. Live in the moment. Money can't buy happiness. Believe in yourself. These are valuable tips for younger viewers, but they aren't especially new. Much of the plot seems like it could have worked well in many other coming-of-age tales.

The film is based on a popular young adult novel of the same name by Wendy Mass, and that's exactly how it feels. It's simple enough entertainment for older kids and tweens, but the story probably works better in print than on the screen.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about Jeremy Fink's messages. What is the meaning of life, according to what Jeremy learns? What do you think it is? How can you make the most of the life you have?

  • What do you think about the relationship between Jeremy and Lizzie? Does it feel realistic?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love tween stuff

Themes & Topics

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