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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Holding true to positive values, such as standing for what's right and being a role model, is important. Holding these positive values reinforces a person's integrity. A great role model uses effective communication, compassion and empathy, courage to stand up for what's right, humility and integrity, perseverance toward reaching goals, and self-control when restraint is necessary.
Positive Role Models
Poitier talks at length about values his parents instilled in him: being a good provider, looking out for others, treating others with dignity and respect, having positive self-esteem. He worked hard throughout his life to maintain these values, even when he sometimes fell short. But when he did, he found ways to reinvent himself and find his way back. Poitier also used his position to communicate the value of civil rights, having courage to speak out against injustice, exercising curiosity about the human condition, and showing gratitude and humility about his life. He demonstrated perseverance and self-control throughout his career and life, especially when his life was on the line. Despite admitting to having an affair, which led to his divorce, Poitier did his best to showcase and preserve his integrity, including learning from that mistake and becoming a better husband to his second wife. Poitier and fellow actor Harry Belafonte have a lifelong friendship that has its ups and downs but ultimately showcases brotherhood, love, and respect.
Prominently features Poitier and other Black celebrities, including Louis Gossett Jr., Oprah Winfrey, Quincy Jones, Morgan Freeman, Denzel Washington, and Halle Berry. Poitier's family also appears. Addresses the civil rights movement and Poitier's involvement in it. Offers insight into how Poitier and other celebrities helped move the needle when it came to activism. Shows how the perception of Blackness in the media changed over time, largely for the better.
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Violence & Scariness
Scenes of real-life race-based riots and racial violence, including the assassinations of Martin Luther King and Malcolm X. Descriptions of racist violence and attacks, including actions taken by the Ku Klux Klan.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Kissing. Descriptions of the emotional fallout from an affair.
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Slurs including the "N" word, "Uncle Tom," and "whitey." The word "homosexual" is treated as a slur by a man in footage about the Red Scare. Swear words like "pissed," "ass," "hell," "damn," "s--t."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Sidney is a documentary in which celebrated actor Sidney Poitier retells the story of his life. There's strong language, including swearing ("ass," "s--t," etc.), racial slurs (the "N" word and more), and other racially descriptive words that were used during the 1950s and 60s. There are also occasional scenes of kissing in clips from Poitier's movies, as well as descriptions of an affair. Expect to see images from the assassinations of Martin Luther King and Malcolm X, as well as race-based riots and racial violence. Poitier, while not perfect, is a clear role model, and the movie shows the importance of character strengths including communication, compassion, empathy, courage, humility, integrity, and perseverance. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
For fans of Poitier's work, the documentary provides an intimate look at why he chose (or didn't choose) certain roles -- and why he decided to use his career for activism. Overall, Sidney humanizes Poitier, who's often thought of as more of an institution than a man. But here we learn more about what really makes Poitier tick, including his relationship with his parents, his recollections of his personal failings in his romantic relationships, and his overall striving to become a better person each day than he was the day before.
That drive shows in his work as well as in his personal relationships with his daughters and friends. At the end of the day, Sidney shows that Poitier is a role model through and through: Not only has he always done his best to uplift Black people in film, but he's also always working to uphold the values that his parents instilled in him.
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.