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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Violence & Scariness
Children beaten and abused, brief violence. Tense scenes.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Social drinking, brief reference to alcohol abuse.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this movie has child abuse, some tense and upsetting family scenes, and sad deaths. A character commits suicide and it is portrayed as a just response to a terrible revelation. There is a brief and somewhat graphic childbirth scene with a nude baby. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Screenwriter/director Douglas McGrath has produced a respectful condensation of Charles Dickens's rich and sprawling novel. McGrath focuses on the heart (in both senses of the word) of Dickens' story, the struggle by Nicholas against his uncle's attempts to corrupt or destroy him. Although he has had to jettison many colorful characters and huge sections of the story, his skillful paring preserves the essence of the novel's tone and themes and the result is thoroughly satisfying on its own terms.
Dickens books lend themselves beautifully to film. He created strong, very distinctive characters, gorgeous dialogue (the movie is worth seeing just for the way Lane delivers Crummles' speeches), wonderfully dramatic stories, and dastardly villains, true-hearted heroes, love, hate, revenge, comedy, and tragedy. McGrath and his actors clearly view this as a labor of love. Every detail is beautifully realized, with one of the best ensemble performances of the year. The one exception is Hunnam as Nicholas. It is a challenge for any actor to play a good-guy hero whose job is to react to all of those vivid characters, but Hunnam never manages to show us anything of Nicholas' growing depth and resolve.
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Our Editors Recommend
Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.See how we rate