Want more recommendations for your family?
Sign up for our weekly newsletter for entertainment inspiration
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
The film is about a single father trying to do right by his son, in the event of his forthcoming death. Courage and selflessness are prominent throughout. The film studies faith, and people's relationship with it. It examines how it can provide comfort, but also frustration. The film also takes a positive, modern look at the benefits of adoption and fostering services.
Positive Role Models
John is a good father to his son Michael. He is flawed, can lose his temper, but always does what he believes to be right by his son. His one main objective in the wake of his terminal illness is that of Michael's future, which in itself is a selfless act. Supporting characters help John try to fulfill his wish. It is revealed that Michael's mother abandoned the family.
The two central performances are a working class Irish father (played by and English actor) and his young son. The father is dying of a terminal illness and the mother is no longer on the scene. Some female supporting characters, but little ethnic diversity. The role of the adoption and fostering services are integral to the story, showing how families can come in many different forms.
Did we miss something on diversity? Suggest an update.
Violence & Scariness
A single parent to a three-year-old child is dying of brain cancer, which causes much upset. After being wronged by a rude client, a window cleaner can be seen throwing eggs at their property. A character gets frustrated and kicks their car in anger. The character with the terminal illness is seen throwing up into a toilet.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Violence & Scariness in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Occasional use of the word "f--k" and uses of the word "piss."
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Language in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Characters socialize in a pub drinking beer. One character declares, after a stressful event, that they "need" a vodka.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Drinking, Drugs & Smoking in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Nowhere Special is a profoundly moving drama loosely based on a true story with themes around death and some strong language. John (James Norton), who is terminally ill with brain cancer, is determined to find a good family home for his three-year-old son, Michael (Daniel Lamont). The film studies the theme of death in a candid and unique way as John comes to terms with his own mortality knowing he is leaving his son behind. John makes for a positive role model. He cares only for his son at a time he could so easily feel sorry for himself. The film takes a positive angle when looking at the importance of the fostering and adoption services, with characters showing great compassion and empathy toward children in need of homes. There is no true violence, but John is seen throwing eggs at someone's house and kicks his car in frustration and anger. There are multiple uses of the word "f--k" and "piss" and characters are seen drinking alcohol. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
This is an incredibly moving film that takes a unique and profound look at death, through the eyes of a parent. Make no mistake, Nowhere Special will have you weeping in buckets. The central performance from Norton is remarkable. Linked heavily with the James Bond job in the past, the usually sharp-looking charmer is almost unrecognizable as Irish window cleaner John. It's a testament to his performance that he feels so far removed from anything he's done before, and so convincing with it. His co-star, the young Daniel Lamont -- who plays John's three-year-old son, Michael -- is brilliant too, in a role that can't have been easy for the youngster to play.
It should be said that the film can be, at times, somewhat emotionally manipulative, with an overbearing score that lends a hand. It's an unnecessary addition as there's enough substance in the narrative to evoke the required tug at the heartstrings. But that all being said, it works. So pack tissues -- and lot's of them.
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.
Suggest an Update
Our Editors Recommend
Drama Movies That Tug at the Heartstrings
Movies to Help Kids Deal with Grief
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