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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Shows the importance of imagination -- instead of/in addition to the value of facts. Themes include communication, the delicate nature of human memory, and the way we need to tell stories, not just for entertainment, but to live.
Positive Role Models
This version of Sherlock Holmes doesn't have some of the iffy habits of his fictional counterpart (drug use, rudeness, etc.), and though he's older and more forgetful, he's as smart as ever; he may still inspire younger viewers to hit the books. (He certainly inspires his young friend in the story to do the same.)
Violence & Scariness
Some upsetting images. A boy gets stung by wasps (big, red bumps on his skin) and is near death. A woman is hit by a train. A girl has scars on one side of her face (she's a Hiroshima survivor). Holmes falls out of bed and cuts himself; some blood is shown. Reference to poison (little bottle shown). Arguing.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Some background smoking.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Mr. Holmes is a drama about the "real life" version of Sherlock Holmes, retired at age 93 and dealing with memory loss. Though the movie has some mystery elements, it's not a traditional Holmes whodunnit, and it certainly isn't an explosive action adventure like the recent Robert Downey Jr. Sherlock Holmes films. There are some upsetting images/topics, including a boy being stung by wasps, a man falling out of bed, bloody cuts, a woman being hit by a train, a girl with scars on her face, and references to things like miscarriages and poison. Language is limited to one use of "damn," and there's some background smoking. Although this all adds up to not very much in the way of iffy material, younger viewers might be a little bored by the concerns of an elderly man (although his 14-year-old friend could be a draw). But for patient viewers, it's an outstanding, extremely thoughtful movie about the mysteries of memory and storytelling. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
After two Twilight movies, director Bill Condon returns to the territory of his best movie, Gods and Monsters, with this thoughtful, low-key drama about the mysteries of memory and storytelling. Mr. Holmes may disappoint some viewers by not actually being a Sherlock Holmes mystery (nor is it an explosive adventure like Guy Ritche's Sherlock Holmes), but it's a great movie, a brilliant rumination on the delicate nature of human memory and the way we need to tell stories, not just for entertainment, but to live.
Screenwriter Jeffrey Hatcher (working from Mitch Cullin's novel) constructs an elaborate series of meditative flashbacks, dreams, and memories. It's deep and complex, and Condon makes it all seem quietly simple. Nothing seems concrete or certain, yet everything is connected, from the use of glass and bees, books, and movies, to young Roger's inability to remember stories from his early years. The fine performances by Condon regulars McKellen and Linney top it off. (Fun fact: The grown-up star of 1985's Young Sherlock Holmes, Nicholas Rowe, appears as a screen version of Holmes in a movie house.)
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.