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Parents' Guide to

Milton's Secret

By Barbara Shulgasser-Parker, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 10+

Drama about boy learning to deal with his problems, bullying

Movie PG 2016 88 minutes
Milton's Secret Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

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

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Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say: Not yet rated
Kids say: Not yet rated

This film is pleasant and absorbing to watch, but full enjoyment may be interrupted by a few flaws. It's difficult to know what to make of Milton's Secret's ultimate failure to provide the satisfaction it promises. William Ainscough as young Milton is a charming and adept performer but when he nods yes to his grandfather's vague and mystical advice, it leaves blank spaces that the writers and director are unable to fill. Does a bully really back off simply because Milton notices that he's just as scared of public speaking as Milton? The movie doesn't explain why Carter doesn't just give Milton a shove as usual. What changed?

Donald Sutherland gives one of his sweetest and most tender performances as Grandpa Howard. He makes the time he is on screen enchanting and delicious, and his commitment to the role creates with grandson Milton a moving and wonderful connection that any viewer will appreciate. However, this does nothing to resolve for us the financial troubles of Milton's parents. The movie seems to end happily as if such challenges are all now in the past. Grandpa offers many soothing platitudes and advice about living in the now, but very little in the way of specific actions designed to achieve that state of mind. The movie certainly leaves viewers feeling good -- the actors convey a sense that their characters have made psychological progress, but the film doesn't show how, and young viewers will get that. The soundtrack includes several fun Donovan songs from the 1960s.

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