Father and child sit together smiling while looking at a smart phone.

Want more recommendations for your family?

Sign up for our weekly newsletter for entertainment inspiration

Parents' Guide to

Smart People

By S. Jhoanna Robledo, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 17+

Intelligent, mature film with some shortcomings.

Movie R 2008 93 minutes
Smart People Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

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

Community Reviews

age 15+

Based on 1 parent review

age 15+
Good flick with great acting...more serious than funny even though there are some laugh out loud moments.Good rainy day movie.

This title has:

Too much swearing

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (1 ):
Kids say (2 ):

Mostly smart, sometimes slack, SMART PEOPLE -- which is based on a book by Mark Jude Poirier, who also wrote the script -- refreshingly allows its characters to develop at their own pace. Their discoveries feel natural; their responses unforced and believable. It's a credit to first-time director Noam Murro who, though he makes mistakes, is able to steer his actors into portrayals that are authentic and true. Page is sardonic once more, but this is no Juno retread; in fact, he filmed this first. He ably modulates his emotions to best fit the script. Same for Parker, who flexes her dramatic muscles here. Like his character, Haden Church ingratiates himself successfully -- a potentially creepy storyline is made less so, thanks to his and Page's talent. And Quaid deserves praise for a complex performance.

But there is one big quibble. The first half of the movie is notably more interesting than the second, maybe because the latter half moves inexorably toward a happily-ever-after ending. Lawrence is far more compelling -- and real -- when he's stuck, and his transformation, when it happens, seems hurried along. And while Quaid and Parker have a surprisingly believable chemistry, it's not clear what binds them together when their characters clearly have enough reasons to be apart. Perfect it's not, but Smart People is admirable enough and definitely worth a watch.

Movie Details

  • In theaters: April 9, 2008
  • On DVD or streaming: August 11, 2008
  • Cast: Dennis Quaid , Elliot Page , Sarah Jessica Parker
  • Director: Noam Murro
  • Inclusion Information: Non-Binary actors, Queer actors
  • Studio: Miramax
  • Genre: Drama
  • Run time: 93 minutes
  • MPAA rating: R
  • MPAA explanation: language, brief teen drug and alcohol use, and for some sexuality.
  • Last updated: September 12, 2023

Inclusion information powered by

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.

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