A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Kids and adults belittle the lead character's dwarfism. The town pastor even says "Simon Birch is not a normal person." However, Simon sacrifices himself and ends up becoming a hero and saving the lives of many, showing that character matters more than size. Good messages about forgiveness, too.
Positive Role Models
The clear role models are Rebecca and Ben, who demonstrate acceptance of differences and embracing of diversity. Also, Simon Birch, the lead character, is himself a positive role model as he is strong in his beliefs, loyal to his friend, courageous, and smart and funny, as well.
Violence & Scariness
Sad accidental death of one character from being hit by a baseball. A bus accident where children are in peril, and a main character dies saving everyone.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Repeated discussion of Simon's best friend being born out of wedlock. Also, there are mentions of an adolescent girl's breasts and a scene where Simon grabs them, although the audience doesn't see the actual touch.
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Profanity including "s--t" and "bastard."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Simon's father, the religion teacher, and the pastor all smoke.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that the lead character, Simon Birch, is a dwarf who is the subject of continuous intolerance and ridicule by adults, children, and the local religious leader. The film depicts the 12-year-old boy as a child who is wise beyond his years and believes that God has made him small for a higher purpose. Simon's best friend, Joe, was born out of wedlock and is also an outcast in the community. Language includes words like "s--t" and "bastard," and there are references to an adolescent girl's breasts. An accidental death at the hands of Simon leads Joe on a search of his biological father. There's a bus accident where children are in peril, and a main character dies saving everyone. The movie is based on John Irving's A Prayer for Owen Meany, and fans of the book should know that the movie is very different. 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 excellent film that depicts the power of friendship and forgiveness, embracing diversity, and discovering true parental love. Simon and Joe are best friends who deal with and overcome life's cruelest moments. Joe's mother and her boyfriend are completely accepting of Simon's dwarfism and, subsequently, Simon spends a lot of time at their home, especially since his own parents don't care about him. When Simon accidentally kills Joe's mother, Joe learns to forgive his friend. Joe goes on a quest to find his biological father and learns what it takes to earn the title of Dad. Adoptive families in particular will be heartened by his surprise conclusion. Simon also comes to the rescue when he discovers that his size has its benefits.
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.