Parents' Guide to


By Barbara Shulgasser-Parker, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 13+

'90s sci-fi fantasy has violence, cursing.

Movie PG-13 1995 111 minutes
Powder Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

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Is It Any Good?

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While the good performances are often affecting and absorbing, this movie can't really decide whether it wants to be sci-fi or drama, allegorical or realistic. Heartfelt explorations of universal feelings often outweigh some of Powder's weaknesses. The movie boils down to a familiar formula: A stranger in a strange land or a space alien lost on Earth struggles to find his way. Think of Starman or Brother from Another Planet. Whether this is meant to be sci-fi, an allegory for a Christ-like figure who is simply too good and too decent to live, or a realistic narrative about how cruel people can be to those of us who are different, performances by Henriksen, Flanery, and Goldblum are deeply moving enough to reach down into viewers' hearts.

Sometimes the movie gets all the emotions absolutely right and audiences will be deeply touched. Other times, self-seriousness gets the better of the script to the degree that the mood is nearly ruined. The most unintentionally funny line of the movie is uttered by someone from the state education bureaucracy when confronted by test scores that are off the charts: "You have the most advanced intellect in the history of humankind," the actor says to a guy wearing white body paint and eyeliner. Most of the time Flanery, however appealing as the title character, looks more like a street mime than a genetically challenged boy. Plus, if he is hairless, how come he has eyelashes? Just asking.

Movie Details

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