A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
The movie is about selflessness and sacrifice, especially on the part of parents for their children. It also subtly addresses the dangers of blind faith/thought.
Positive Role Models
The good guys here are the ones who believe in Alton as a person, rather than as a symbol or as a potential weapon -- so, his parents, Lucas, and Paul.
Violence & Scariness
Several scenes of guns and shooting, with bloody wounds and characters falling when hit. Scary scenes of destruction, debris falling from the sky, tremors, collapsing rooms, kidnapping, etc., all involving an 8-year-old boy. He has a bloody nose and bleeding ears. A woman is smacked against a wall. A few realistic car crashes. A man is smacked in the head with a lamp. Some sudden, mildly scary visual effects.
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One use of "s--t," and one use of "a--hole."
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Products & Purchases
Mention of Nissan during a radio ad, Isuzu car shown.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
One character asks for "a drink." Two drinks are poured (whisky) but not consumed.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Midnight Special is a sci-fi drama that writer/director Jeff Nichols made to help process his feelings of becoming a father. Some of the movie's story ideas may seem very familiar, but it's more about emotions than special effects or thrills. That said, there are violent moments and scary effects involving an 8-year-old boy; he's kidnapped and shown with bleeding ears and a bloody nose. There are also very realistic car crashes, guns and shooting, bleeding wounds, and injured bodies. Sex isn't an issue, and language is infrequent but does include one use of "a--hole" and one use of "s--t." Glasses of whisky are poured by not consumed (at least on screen). The movie is thoughtful and emotional, but some story details are left deliberately vague. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Though talented indie filmmaker Jeff Nichols borrows from established sci-fi classics, this movie tells its story in a new way, rooted in characters and emotions, embracing uncertainty and loss. Nichols (Shotgun Stories, Take Shelter, Mud) has said that he made the movie to help him process becoming a father, and those ideas and feelings take precedence over the story details. It begins without exposition; the focus is on moods, lighting, silences, and a music score filled with wonder.
Sci-fi buffs may feel slighted that not every detail of this particular situation is explained in full, but that's not what MIDNIGHT SPECIAL is really about. Plus, if things were solidified, it would only draw concrete comparisons to Close Encounters, E.T., Starman, the Witch Mountain series, and many other similar stories. This Midnight is special because it's less about visual effects and more about connections, bonds that can't be broken, and the kind of fear, bravery, and acceptance that comes through them.
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.