Parents' Guide to

Little Man Tate

By Alyssa Ellsworth, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 13+

Moving story of a smart boy and protective mom.

Movie PG 1991 99 minutes
Little Man Tate Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 14+

Based on 2 parent reviews

age 14+

Great story from Jodie Foster but language and implied sex scene is far too strong for a PG rating

Jodie Foster's directorial debut coming very soon after her second Oscar for The Silence of the Lambs is a very good follow up to that wonderful performance to utilize her talents as an actress and director. With a PG rating and a kid as the main character you may think this is a lighthearted family movie but think again. While nothing here to warrant an R rating, it definitely should have been PG-13 even in 1991 when the MPAA was still pretty lenient about content in PG films. The language alone warrants a PG-13, with more than half a dozen uses of s--t, d--k, g-----n, a--hole, and many uses of the Lord's name in vein tied in with several hells and damns. I think this has far too much swearing for a PG rating and for family audiences. With less swearing it could have been a great family movie. Also a character played by Harry Connick Jr. is shown in bed with a woman and sex is heavily implied. There is also one finger gesture and a brief masturbation reference. Again, Foster does a good job telling her well acted story and it is definitely entertaining but I would not recommend this as a family movie. Even for 1991 standards this should have been rated PG-13, and I would say it is a story only suitable for 14 and up. For older teenagers it should be fine and they should find something relatable to the story. Still it's a shame that a movie with potential to be an excellent family film ruins that potential with so much language and other inappropriate content. Suggested MPAA Rating: PG-13 for language, thematic elements, and some suggestive material.

This title has:

Educational value
Great messages
Too much sex
Too much swearing
age 13+

Not what we expected

Thought this movie was borderline depressing. Fred never got to do what he wanted and it seemed no one really understood Fred. Mom loved him and tried to provide fun but could not honor his intelligence and need for intellectual stimulation. Jane enjoyed his talent but could not treat him as a person. Glad my children decided not to watch it. We were disappointed and wondered what was the point??

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (2):
Kids say (1):

LITTLE MAN TATE, Jodie Foster's directorial debut, is as empathetic as its main character, if not as brilliant. Some of the characters, though well-acted, are written as broad stereotypes. For example, good-time Eddy breaks his promises, successful Jane cannot cook, dance-loving Dede dislikes seeing her son buried in a book, and Fred is brilliant at everything (not just numbers or art). Kids will enjoy the maturity with which the characters are treated; this is not a movie that talks down to its audience.

Movie Details

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