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The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that director Tim Burton's Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children is based on the first book in Ransom Riggs' spine-tingling, best-selling gothic trilogy. It definitely shares some of the book's complex content and themes, including death and the yearning to belong. That, plus the movie's overwhelming feeling of creepiness, make it too intense for younger kids. There are also battle scenes with weapons (explosives, arrows, and more), mayhem, and death. It's not especially gory, but the tone is pretty dark. There's talk of a dead child, and a key character is shown on the ground, bloodied and dead. The main character loses a family member. The evil characters are very menacing: They eat other creatures to survive, and characters are shown eating eyeballs. But running underneath the creepy stuff is the message that being different doesn't make you a misfit -- just unique and gifted in your own way. And characters demonstrate courage, curiosity, and integrity.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
Directed by Tim Burton, MISS PEREGRINE'S HOME FOR PECULIAR CHILDREN follows teenage Jake's (Asa Butterfield) quest to find the titular Miss Peregrine (Eva Green) on a mysterious Welsh island soon after (possible spoiler alert!) his grandfather's (Terence Stamp) terrible death. When Jake and his father manage to find a way to get to Wales, Jake sets out immediately to find what his grandfather described as Peculiars -- children who have special powers that may not translate well into the real world.
Is it any good?
Though it starts out unevenly, this fantasy soon finds its footing, taking viewers on a fascinating ride. Director Tim Burton doesn't pull any punches on the creep factor in Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children. He layers the visual storytelling with darkness and sadness. Those who aren't familiar with the Ransom Riggs book the movie is based on may not be aware of the ways the film is different, but Burton's version still has plenty for the book's fans to applaud.
One of the gifts of a director like Burton is that he has the vision and imagination needed to create a world that only existed in writing before. In Miss Peregrine, Burton flexes his considerable muscles by building that world and plunging audiences right into the heart of it. As Jake, Butterfield does a great job portraying the earnestness, bravado, and confusion of a teenage boy. And the rest of the cast is also pretty strong, especially Samuel L. Jackson.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the violence and scariness in Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children. How do they compare to what you might see in a more traditional action/superhero movie? Which has more of an impact on you? Why?
Parents don't come off very well in this film; they seem self-absorbed and unaware of their children's true plight. Why is that? How does it affect Jake?
Does the Peculiars' existence feel sad or revolutionary to you? Why does Jake feel the need to look for them? How does finding them impact him?
If you've read the book, how does the movie compare? Which do you like better, and why?
- In theaters: September 30, 2016
- On DVD or streaming: December 13, 2016
- Cast: Eva Green, Asa Butterfield, Samuel L. Jackson, Judi Dench
- Director: Tim Burton
- Studio: Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation
- Genre: Fantasy
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Book Characters, Friendship, Misfits and Underdogs
- Character strengths: Courage, Curiosity, Integrity
- Run time: 127 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG-13
- MPAA explanation: intense sequences of fantasy action/violence and peril
- Last updated: January 8, 2021
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