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Little Savages

Movie review by
Jennifer Green, Common Sense Media
Little Savages Movie Poster Image
Summer adventure-friendship tale has bullying, mild language
  • G
  • 2016
  • 95 minutes

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

The film has messages about the positive benefits of self confidence, honesty, kindness, and supporting your friends and family. It shows that everyone can find a group of friends to fit in with, and that being smart is useful.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Aunt Jackie is patient with snarky teen Tiffany and puts Albie into situations she knows will be good for him, despite his reluctance. Tiffany chooses honest, kind Todd over dishonest, unkind bully Billy, and ditches her superficial and scheming teenage friends for a nicer group. Eddie, Winnie, and Vinny welcome Albie into their club and offer him their friendship. Albie uses his intelligence to find a treasure and outwit the bullies.

Violence & Scariness

Teenage bullies put a smaller child headfirst into a trash can and throw two other kids into a lake. Winnie flies off her bike but emerges unscathed. An intimidating-looking security guard chases Albie and Eddie on golf carts, and Albie is thrown from his into a poisonous bush, landing him in the hospital.

Sexy Stuff

Billy mistakenly kisses his car seat when he tries to kiss Tiffany. Tiffany kisses Billy as a distraction. Teenagers hold hands.

Language

Teasing includes language like "dweeb," "loser," "brat," "sissy," "dufus," "sucky," and "dork." A man mentions his "nuts."

Consumerism

Ford cars, Coca-Cola cans.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

A man smokes a cigarette while driving. Albie tells him he should stop smoking.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Little Savages is a childhood adventure and friendship story with some bullies who get their comeuppance at the end. Language involves some muted teasing ("dweeb," "loser," "brat," "sissy," "dufus," "dork" as well as "sucky" and "nuts"), and a storyline involving teenagers dating is limited to hand-holding, some compliments, and one kiss given as a means of distraction. The bullies do throw kids in a trash can and a lake, and they lie and cheat to get ahead, but nobody is seriously hurt and the cheaters get caught. Kids are trusted with a lot of independence to run around town with friends and get into mischief. They always wear their helmets on their bikes, and they watch out for each other. The teen daughter is never punished for surprisingly disrespectful behavior or limited in her constant use of her cell phone, but she soon starts making better choices and puts her phone away on her own. Bully Billy's dad is dishonest, and he insults his son in front of others for his lack of both style and intellect, though Billy rebounds quickly and the interactions aren't meant to be taken too hard.

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What's the story?

LITTLE SAVAGES begins when allergy-riddled, science-obsessed misfit Albie (Noah Lomax) is dropped off with his snarky teen sister Tiffany (Katherine McNamara) at their Aunt Jackie's (Leigh-Allyn Baker) house for the summer. Albie anticipates staying inside alone most of the summer, but when the local bully picks on him and another kid, wannabe magician Eddie (Aedin Mincks), the two forge a friendship. Eddie introduces Albie to the Little Savages, friends who spend their summer days racing bikes, practicing magic, and hanging out in their ragtag clubhouse. Their summer suddenly gets more interesting when it's announced that a recently-deceased local philanthropist has hidden a secret treasure in town. Albie is the first to find the hidden clues, and the hunt will ultimately pit his clever and supportive group against the witless, cheating town bullies. A subplot involves Tiffany dating the local bully Billy (Adam Hicks) but dumping him for the Little Savages' big brother, do-gooder Todd (Kenton Duty).

Is it any good?

In its childhood summer adventure tale, innocent teen dating subplot, and trio of toothless town bullies, this movie feels like the product of an earlier time. And therein lies its charm as well as its potential timelessness. Its makers tried sprinkling in a few more contemporary elements, like a teen constantly on her cell phone and discussions of hashtags, trending on social media, and updating one's "relationship status." But these will ultimately expire sooner, and it's the kids, more than the teens, who are the heart of the movie anyway.

Little Savages also steers clear of triteness with an unexpectedly offbeat sense of humor and some quirky secondary characters in goofy Aunt Jackie and clueless sidekick Harley (Connor del Rio). The final package is a small but endearing film for older kids.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the way kids spend their summer in Little Savages. Does this look like how you spend your summer? Did your parents spend their summers this way?

  • Aunt Jackie wants to be a stand-up comedian but she doesn't even make it into the local talent show. Did you think she was funny? What other characters made you laugh in this movie?

  • Did Little Savages remind you of any other movies about kid gangs having adventures that you've seen? Which ones?

Movie details

Themes & Topics

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For kids who love summer stories

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