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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Promotes kindness, compassion, empathy, and appreciating life.
Positive Role Models
Michael is an angel who dedicates his life to helping others but, knowing his time on earth is short, also indulges his own desires with sugar, cigarettes, and alcohol. He is kind, thoughtful, confident, present, and open with his emotions. Frank Quinlan is a tabloid magazine journalist who has forgotten how to be kind and to love. With the help of an angel, he becomes more thoughtful and opens his heart. Dorothy is forced to be untruthful and feels bad about it. She owns up and apologizes. Vartan is an angry editor who employs sneaky tactics to remove a member of staff. Huey is a journalist who is kind to his dog and talks about how he loves his wife.
Main cast is all White. Some gender balance. Brief references to "Indians" and "Eskimos."
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Violence & Scariness
Characters punched and knocked about in a Western-style bar brawl. A dog is hit by a truck. A character dies of natural causes.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Character walks around in boxer shorts and scratches their genitals. A character proves particularly attractive to others. Judge requests to see a character in private and sex is implied. Characters kiss, including in bed the morning after spending the night together.
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Infrequent language includes one use each of "screwed," "s--t," "pecker," and "bastard."
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Products & Purchases
Kellogg's Frosted Flakes featured in one scene.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Main character is regularly seen smoking. Characters occasionally drink beer.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Michael is a gentle and heartwarming comedy drama about an angel on Earth, and has plenty of positive messages, some smoking, and implied sex and references. Michael (John Travolta) is a scruffy angel who lives for the moment but spreads many positive messages, such as communication, empathy, and compassion. He smokes cigarettes, drinks beer, and is alluring to women. Two characters kiss and share a morning-after scene but sex is only implied. Characters fight during a bar brawl scene but there is no injury. After the fight, characters end up in jail. Occasional language includes one use each of "s--t" and "bastard." To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Director Nora Ephron knows her way around feel-good. Overshadowed by her bigger hits You've Got Mail and Sleepless in Seattle, Michael is a huge-hearted road movie with a touch of magic that's well worth seeking out. Travolta is excellent as the smoking, drinking miracle worker. Michael is a surprisingly complex character and Travolta hits every target along the spectrum that gets us lost in the movie's gentle world. Even its edges are rounded in the nicest possible way. Women are drawn to Michael -- the Travolta's undeniable charisma is one reason, the character's aroma of cookies and cakes is the cherry on top. We even get a sensual but light-hearted Travolta dance sequence that's equal parts Pulp Fiction and Saturday Night Fever.
Michael may be an angel, but this isn't a religious movie. Nor is it an anti-religion movie. It's a movie about appreciating what you've got, making an effort to be kinder, savoring the moment, and learning to love. It's also a road movie. For its short runtime, there's nobody more pleasant to travel with than Travolta's angel, Hurt's crabby journalist, Andie MacDowell's wannabe country singer, polite charmer Huey (Robert Pastorelli), and his pet dog, Sparky. By the time the group have completed their journey from Iowa to Chicago, everyone's a whole lot happier -- viewer included.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.