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Parents' Guide to

Man on the Moon

By Andrea Beach, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 16+

Entertaining biopic has strong language, brief nudity.

Movie R 1999 118 minutes
Man on the Moon 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+

Valuable Lessons in Comedy and Authenticity

"Man on the Moon" is a captivating film that delves into the life and career of the legendary comedian, Andy Kaufman. With a subtle post-it undertone, the movie explores the enigmatic and eccentric nature of Kaufman's persona, blurring the line between reality and performance art. "Man on the Moon" incorporates moments of mild violence that cleverly blend reality and staged performances. One such instance is the staged wrestling matches, where punches, slaps, and intense physical confrontations take place. However, it is revealed that these incidents are part of Kaufman's carefully orchestrated act, blurring the boundaries between fiction and reality. Additionally, the film showcases a scene involving a shady doctor who engages in a scam routine, purportedly removing cancer from patients using chicken guts and cartilage. These instances of violence and deception add layers of intrigue and complexity to the film, further emphasizing Kaufman's enigmatic personality and his unorthodox approach to entertainment. "Man on the Moon" features scattered instances of heavy swearing, which may be deemed offensive to certain viewers. However, it is important to note that while the profanity may be present, it should be considered a mild priority in terms of potential offense. The film reflects the reality of Kaufman's era and the world of comedy, where edgier language was often used to push boundaries and challenge social norms. Furthermore, in today's society, children are frequently exposed to swearing in various forms of media and in their daily lives. Thus, while the language in the film may be a concern for some, it is essential to consider the broader context and the fact that mild profanity has become a part of everyday language for many individuals, including children. "Man on the Moon" briefly incorporates very mild sexual themes, including a scene where Andy Kaufman playfully interacts with two topless prostitutes in a brothel setting. However, it is crucial for parents and viewers to understand that the intention of the scene is not to depict explicit sexual acts or promote any form of sexual content. Instead, Kaufman's behavior in the scene is portrayed as childlike and innocent, devoid of any sexual intentions or goals. The scene primarily serves to highlight Kaufman's unconventional and eccentric nature, blurring the lines between reality and performance art. While the presence of nudity may be a concern for some viewers, it is essential to view it within the broader context of the film, recognizing that the portrayal is meant to convey a specific artistic vision rather than explicit sexual content. "Man on the Moon" includes scenes set in ambient nightclubs where drinking and smoking occur, with Andy Kaufman's alter ego, Tony Clifton, often depicted indulging in these activities. Additionally, there is a sketch where Andy is required to portray a character who appears to be stoned. However, an important aspect to note is that Andy himself protests against the positive portrayal of drug use, expressing his personal dislike for it. This aspect of the film can serve as a valuable lesson, particularly for children, highlighting the importance of critical thinking and individual values when it comes to depictions of drug use in media. By showcasing Kaufman's resistance and disagreement with the positive portrayal of drug use, the film encourages viewers to question and form their own perspectives on such topics, fostering discussions around responsible choices and personal beliefs. "Man on the Moon" features mild consumerism throughout the film, capturing the cultural context and commercial aspects of Andy Kaufman's era. The film portrays scenes where branded products, advertisements, and consumer goods are visible in the background, reflecting the consumerist nature of the time. However, it is important to note that consumerism in the film serves more as a backdrop rather than a central theme. The focus primarily remains on Kaufman's life, career, and unique comedic style. While the presence of consumerism may provide a glimpse into the cultural landscape of the period, it does not heavily influence the overall narrative or message of the film. Andy Kaufman, despite his mischievous and unconventional performance style, exuded a unique brand of positivity in his artistry. Throughout his career, Kaufman's primary goal was to make people smile and bring joy to their lives. He pushed the boundaries of comedy, often blurring the line between reality and performance, to surprise and entertain his audience. Kaufman's acts, ranging from his eccentric characters to his surreal performances, were driven by a desire to elicit laughter and create memorable experiences for those who witnessed his shows. "Man on the Moon" is a film suitable for fourteen-year-olds and older due to its thought-provoking exploration of the life and career of comedian Andy Kaufman. While the film contains elements such as mild violence, scattered swearing, very mild sexual themes, and depictions of drinking and drug use, these instances are presented within the context of Kaufman's artistry and his unconventional approach to comedy. The film offers valuable lessons on identity, authenticity, and the pursuit of one's passion. It encourages critical thinking, questioning societal norms, and the importance of personal values. With parental guidance and discussions around the film's themes, "Man on the Moon" can provide engaging and thought-provoking entertainment for older teenagers.

This title has:

Great messages
age 13+

Not horrible

Not horrible but there is points that are too much for most kids

This title has:

Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking

Is It Any Good?

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

Understanding how this movie manages to be pretty entertaining is almost as impossible as understanding Andy Kaufman himself. Viewers certainly won't finish Man on the Moon feeling like now they know Andy Kaufman or "get" why he did what he did. But director Milos Forman carries Kaufman's legacy forward by provoking the reactions Kaufman himself did with his performances. Sometimes both the artist and the movie provoke laughter, sometimes discomfort, sometimes anger, and lots of times puzzlement. All Kaufman wanted out of performing, it seems, was to get some kind, any kind, of reaction from his audience.

It wasn't a box-office success when it was originally released in 1999. The timing and order of some of the events shown is confusing, and it's sometimes frustrating to feel like you're not getting to know the "real" Andy Kaufman. But as he himself said, "There is no real Andy Kaufman." It's really Carrey's wonderful performance and those from the deep field of supporting players that make it worthwhile viewing. Mature teens who can handle the strong language and brief, sexual nudity may be especially interested in seeing a performer who really paved the way for a lot of modern comedy, especially from social-media personalities that celebrate the awkward, get viewers worked up, and as often as not leave them shaking their heads in bafflement.

Movie Details

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