Mrs. Doubtfire

Movie review by
F. Faust, Common Sense Media
Mrs. Doubtfire Movie Poster Image
You'll laugh, you'll cry. Best divorce movie.
  • PG-13
  • 1993
  • 125 minutes
Popular with kidsParents recommend

Parents say

age 11+
Based on 29 reviews

Kids say

age 10+
Based on 86 reviews

We think this movie stands out for:

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Themes include gratitude and self-control. Issues of divorce and separation are dealt with carefully. Although there's some implied criticism of a career mom and a deadbeat dad, ultimately this movie celebrates family bonds and loving parents and children.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The characters are imperfect, but they're human and likable. They are trying, and that makes them commendable. And they eventually learn a lot from each other in the process.

Violence

Brief bullying; arguments.

Sex

Quizzing of a mother's sex life. Humor related to Daniel/Mrs. Doubtfire's disguise.

Language

Language includes one "f--k," plus "s--t," "bastard," "hell," "damn," "a--hole," "goddamn," and some sexually themed language. A middle-finger gesture.

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Some drinking, close to inebriation.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that as funny as Mrs. Doubtfire is, it's really about the pain of separation and divorce. Serious issues such as the perception that Daniel is a bad father because he doesn't make a lot of money, and the implied criticism of careerist mother, Miranda, are buried under a lot of padding and jokes. Kids whose families are going through divorce might find this painful in spots (particularly the separations as seen from the parental perspective). Kids who fear separation should not see this until they feel safe and secure. But some kids may find the movie helpful because it lessens feelings of being alone or unique. Expect strong language (including "s--t" and one "f--k") and some drinking.

User Reviews

Parent of a 12 year old Written byTsion April 9, 2008

Funny, but VERY Questionable...

I let my kids watch this without supervision, under the terms that if it got racy, they were to turn it off. I left for the store, and when I returned, they ha... Continue reading
Parent Written by[email protected] August 19, 2014

Questionable for kids under 13

I remembered seeing and loving this movie when it came out in theaters 21 years ago. Now that Robin Williams has tragically left us, I wanted to see it again,... Continue reading
Kid, 10 years old February 27, 2010

Hilarious, but FILLED with language!

Daniel has to go through a divorce,so he can't see his kids every day.He dresses up to be a woman to be a babysitter,to see his kids.
Teen, 16 years old Written byMr581 July 27, 2009

What's the story?

In MRS. DOUBTFIRE, loving-but-eccentric dad Daniel Hillard (Robin Williams) is devastated when his wife, Miranda (Sally Field) files for a divorce and gets custody of the kids. Regular visits with his three children aren't enough, so when he hears that Miranda is looking for a nanny/housekeeper, he gets his make-up artist brother (Harvey Fierstein) to transform him into a matronly old woman. Posing as the veddy proper Mrs. Iphegenia Doubtfire, Daniel gets the position and quickly wins over the kids. But his double-life ruse gets complicated when Miranda starts dating the dashing, debonair Stu (Pierce Brosnan).

Is it any good?

This is one of those great movies that grow better over time. Director Chris Columbus uses the hilarious Robin Williams to his fullest. Williams clowns around, talks a mile a minute, drops pop culture references, and does vocal impersonations that might have little to do with the story but that leaven what would otherwise be too painful and poignant for some kids.

What raises Mrs. Doubtfire above other movies about separation is the care it takes in dealing with real human problems. Though it provides a basis for a comedy, the issue of divorce and custody is treated seriously. Irresponsible Daniel grows from the experience of looking at the world from a woman's point of view.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the impact of divorce in families. Do you think Mrs. Doubtfire deals with the topic realistically?

  • Why is Daniel seen as too irresponsible to have custody? Do your kids think that's fair? What about the working mom -- does the fact that she works full time and makes more money than Daniel make her a "better" parent?

  • How do the characters in Mrs. Doubtfire demonstrate self-control and gratitude? Why are these important character strengths?

Movie details

Character Strengths

Find more movies that help kids build character.

For kids who love comedies

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