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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Show dedication to your work but also the ability to step back and look at the bigger picture. Ask yourself why you would want to disprove something if that something isn't harming anyone and brings happiness and comfort to people. Existential questions about what comes after death.
Positive Role Models
Dr. Nando Fodor is a self-proclaimed "skeptic" of all things paranormal and goes out of his way to disprove such claims. He is good at his job but is also stubborn, drinks and smokes too much, and has unresolved issues with the death of his father. Fodor's assistant, Anne, is attentive to his needs. She says she has been taught by Fodor to share his skeptism but gradually begins to come to her own conclusions and beliefs. The Irving family are described by Fodor as being crazy and fraudsters. But they appear to be a loving and happy family.
The main character, Nandor Fodor, is a middle-aged Hungarian-American White man, played by the British actor Simon Pegg. He takes center stage but there is good gender balance in the supporting cast. Fodor's assistant, Anne, is initially subservient to him. But she develops confidence from her own experiences and is not afraid to share her thoughts and make her own demands. There is some racial diversity among the background characters. One of the main characters is a Black man who plays the house keeper. Though his lines are not extensive he is portrayed as arguably the smartest of all the characters, or at least the one who sees the bigger picture.
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Violence & Scariness
Death and people's obsession with it is a recurring theme. References to the deaths of parents and partners. A character is seen dying in bed. Brief scene of a funeral for someone who has died from consumption. Dead rabbits seen piled up on a wall. A character falls down some stairs. While drunk, a character smashes a wooden box with a sledgehammer. They are then hit over the head with the butt of a shotgun leaving them unconscious but without serious injury. A character is scratched severely off-screen. Someone collapses without reason.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Brief suggestion of an undisclosed attraction one person has for another. A character says to another that they have a "figure suitable for birthing." A character is seen urinating next to a church with their bare behind partially and briefly visible. Short clip of real-life footage of two tortoises having sex. A pair of undergarments are briefly seen and then discussed in a non-sexual context.
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Language includes "for f--k's sake," "f---ing," "bastard," "son of a bitch," "a--hole," "bulls--t," "damn," "bloody hell," "piss," "pissing," "lunatics," and "oh golly." A parrot is heard saying "stupid bastard" and "silly bugger" repeatedly. "Oh God" and "for God's sake" used as exclamations.
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Products & Purchases
A brief scene where a character negotiates a pay rise. Discussion about whether a family is behind a hoax in an attempt to gain fame and fortune.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
The main character smokes and drinks throughout, sometimes to excess. In one scene, while drunk they are seen behaving erratically. They later claim to have given up alcohol. Supporting characters also regularly seen smoking cigarettes and pipes, as well as drinking (usually whiskey). Multiple scenes take place in a pub.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Nandor Fodor and the Talking Mongoose is a thought-provoking British mystery adventure with comedic elements, occasional strong language, and lots of smoking and drinking. Set in 1935 and loosely based on real events, Simon Pegg plays Dr. Nandor Fodor, a famous paranormal psychologist who together with his assistant, Anne (Minnie Driver), visits a farm on the Isle of Man, where a talking mongoose is said to live. Fodor is a known skeptic of the paranormal and stubbornly goes about trying to prove that the mongoose, called Gef (voiced by author Neil Gaiman), is a hoax. Befitting the 1930s time period, characters -- particularly Nandor -- smoke and drink throughout. Nandor is seen drunk several times, smashing a wooden box with a sledgehammer in one scene. There is also occasional strong language with a couple of variants of "f--k." For some, a metaphor for religion could be found within the story, with Gef as a kind of Jesus-like character. For others, it can be watched simply as a fun mystery leaving viewers to come to their own conclusions. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Incredibly the events of this British comedy-mystery are in fact loosely based on real events. Written and directed by Adam Sigal, Nandor Fodor and the Talking Mongoose tells the story of the extraordinary -- or ridiculous, depending on which side you take -- claims made from a family living on a farm on the Isle of Man. The tale of a talking mongoose called Gef was covered widely by the British tabloids during the 1930s. Such is the subject matter that retelling this story on the big screen could have easily veered into farce and absurdity. So it's to Sigal's great credit that what the film actually offers are philosophical and poignant questions about life, death, and what we do and don't believe in. To his believers Gef is an almost Jesus-like figure, and Nandor -- initially so determined to prove he doesn't exist -- faces questions such as: Why would we want to disprove something that other people believe in? The film doesn't try to provide the answers, but it makes you think, and if getting too existential is not your thing, the film can simply be enjoyed as a mystery adventure. Pegg is great in a somewhat uncharacteristically restrained performance, with Driver holding her own in the supporting role. It's also great to see Christopher Lloyd popping up as one of Fodor's peers.
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.