Raising Izzie

Movie review by
Tracy Moore, Common Sense Media
Raising Izzie Movie Poster Image
Intense movie about orphans heavy on grief, faith.
  • NR
  • 2014
  • 87 minutes

Parents say

age 13+
Based on 2 reviews

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 2 reviews

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

Strongly positive messages about faith and family, the process of grieving, and alternate families and communities gathering to help others in times of need.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Adults are extremely present, concerned, and engaged, even when struggling with their own issues. Everyone in the film tackles his or her own unique response to grief while still trying to be a good person and honor commitments. The children often lie or avoid being honest to preserve the family setup their mother has created; it may be less than admirable behavior, but the circumstances are extraordinary.


A woman is shown lying in the street after being hit by a car. There are frequent intense scenes involving a woman in a coma and frequent discussions of death, illness, and loss surrounding a mother shown in flashbacks who passed away after a struggle with cancer.


A man and woman kiss. A man watches a woman walk off and comments on how she saunters. A man and woman trying to conceive discuss "doing it" at optimal times for conception. A man sets up a romantic evening for his wife, including flowers, candles, and wine.


Minor: "what the hell," "shut up," "oh, my God," and "damn."

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

A man and woman drink wine at a club. A man pours and swigs wine as part of a romantic dinner.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Raising Izzie is an emotionally intense movie about two young girls whose mother died after a struggle with cancer and set them up logistically and financially to live on their own so they would not be separated in foster care. The girls struggle to survive and keep the secret, and the majority of the movie centers on their struggle to believe in God after their mother's death. The couple who comes into their lives also wrestles over their personal faith while struggling to conceive. There are multiple flashbacks of a sick mother, conversations about having children or not, and many heart-wrenching scenes involving losing one's mother, processing grief, and questioning faith. Best for older kids who can handle intensity.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent Written bySarah R. June 19, 2020
Adult Written byRagness November 4, 2014

Raising Izzie

This is a sincerely excellent movie. It is well acted, well written, and has a wonderful storyline.

It did, however, deal with some very difficult issues for... Continue reading
Teen, 16 years old Written byHilal27 April 22, 2016

Definitely should be tv show

This was a really touching movie personally shed a few tears myself . I felt that the movie was pretty short and a lot of things were fast forwarded. I believe... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written byMc876423 January 14, 2015

Raising Izzie

I love this movie!!!!!! This movies does have a lot of grief and faith. Finding faith in God. I It is very fabulous. I love this movie!!!!!!!!! Very heart-warmi... Continue reading

What's the story?

Gertie (Victoria Staley) and Izzie (Kyla Kennedy) lost their mother to cancer, but before she passed, she set the girls up with shelter and money and a semblance of family togetherness they might not find in a foster home -- that is, if they can stay under the radar of the community and their new teacher, Tonya Freeman (Vanessa Williams), who is intuitive enough to sense that something is not quite right. When Tonya and husband, Greg (Rockmond Dunbar), discover they can't have children, she pushes for adoption. Greg is hesitant until Tonya is hit by a car and remains in a coma, throwing this new family together to wrestle with grief, loss, and faith and to wonder what God has in store for them.

Is it any good?

RAISING IZZIE is a positive but intense film that explores heartfelt issues of faith and family. It's well-acted and intelligent and doesn't hide its faith-based agenda. For children who have lost a parent and struggle with grief or couples who have spent years trying to conceive and considered adoption, some very raw emotions here will be relatable and possibly cathartic. But the key word here is "raw," and many of the scenes are very intense depictions of grief and soul-searching questioning of faith and purpose that are difficult for anyone to watch, much less children. Parents should watch with guidance and caution and be prepared for some big tearjerker scenes that could be triggering; kids may need a lot of reassurance and discussion.


Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how the girls were left to raise themselves. Do you agree with what their mother did? Why, or why not? What else could she have done?

  • Families come in many shapes and sizes. What are some different kinds of families you know?

  • How does the movie answer the girls' questions about why bad things happen to good people? 

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love dramas

Themes & Topics

Browse titles with similar subject matter.

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