Parents' Guide to

Little Woods

By Jeffrey M. Anderson, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 16+

Mature, quiet small-town drama about family, money, drugs.

Movie R 2019 105 minutes
Little Woods Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

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

Community Reviews

age 16+

Based on 3 parent reviews

age 15+

age 18+

Wish there was a category for no stars.

This movie's main theme and "lesson" promotes and justifies the idea that dealing oxy "for a little while," lying to others, and an abortion are no big deal: All these actions by the two teen main characters can get you to a higher place in life. The only admirable characters in the movie are the probation officer and the woman who eventually hires the main character for a job. Both these minor characters are duped into believing the main character is trying to better herself and both work to give her a second chance, in reality she is back to drug dealing, which all works out for her in the end. Lots of other hollywood political propoganda.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say: (3 ):
Kids say: Not yet rated

An exceptional feature writing and directing debut from Nia DaCosta, this drama takes a dreary, pessimistic situation and, through its strong characters, makes it touchingly relatable. Little Woods deals with several current American troubles, from the difficulty of getting timely and affordable healthcare to the unfair economy of a town, once rich from fracking, now left with everything overpriced and money scarce. Yet the film never deals head-on with any of these things; they're carefully woven into the hard-luck narrative, which is told so gently -- without soap opera hysterics -- that it's difficult not to be moved.

Thompson, in the lead role, is tremendous. Ollie has carved out a tough armor for herself; she has an unending perseverance but is also capable of showing weariness and even hope. The moment when her small nephew crawls into her lap and asks her to shut her eyes is mistily gorgeous. James equals her, even though her character is weaker and more in need of help -- she's still fully dimensional. Behind the camera, DaCosta bathes Little Woods' doleful, cluttered sets in soft, chilly light, capturing a small-town feel and getting to the essence of the emotions of characters who keep getting back up and trying again.

Movie Details

  • In theaters: April 19, 2019
  • On DVD or streaming: July 16, 2019
  • Cast: Tessa Thompson , Lily James , Luke Kirby
  • Director: Nia DaCosta
  • Inclusion Information: Female directors, Black directors, Female actors, Black actors, Latino actors
  • Studio: Neon
  • Genre: Drama
  • Run time: 105 minutes
  • MPAA rating: R
  • MPAA explanation: language and some drug material
  • Last updated: December 6, 2023

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