Some Kind of Wonderful

 
Typical '80s teen movie is still relevant today.
  • Review Date: July 19, 2005
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 1987
  • Running Time: 93 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Poor kids are continually put down by rich kids, a girl loses her friends for dating an unpopular boy.

Violence

Although there is almost no on-screen violence, the threat of a beating hovers over much of the movie.

Sex

Intense kissing, references to a girl's virginity.

Language

Some strong language.

Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

One or two cigarettes, an empty bottle of liquor.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this film contains a fair amount of objectionable language that the characters use in dramatic moments, not casually. A tomboy character gets referred to as a lesbian in a pejorative manner. There is some mild locker room semi-nudity (girls in camisoles and underwear) that is more wistful than sexual, as a tomboy character watches her pretty, feminine rival get dressed. There are some teenagers that smoke, with consequences, and some references to drinking, although no characters become intoxicated. Part of the plot is the threat of one character planning to beat up another, but he is thwarted and no violence occurs. Parents should also be aware that there are some "types" in the movie (like "punk," "rich girl," and "tomboy"), but that the movie goes past clichés to treat them as people. There is very little diversity in the cast -- the only black characters are members of the permanent detention-room crowd.

What's the story?

Keith (Eric Stoltz) and his best friend Watts (Mary Stuart Masterson) are outsiders at a California high school. They get by with their hobbies -- painting for Keith and drumming for Watts -- and with their friendship. They put up with the daily torments of punks, snobs, and family. Both are looking for something more, though. Watts wants her friendship with Keith to become a romance but Keith is interested in Amanda (Lea Thompson), a girl who is not rich, but pretty and popular. When Amanda's callow boyfriend jilts her for another girl, Keith asks her out. As the date approaches, Watts' jealousy starts to hurt her friendship with Keith, and Amanda and Keith both start to suspect one another's motives for going out. Is he just a social climber? Is she just getting back at her cheating boyfriend? It soon becomes clear that Amanda's former boyfriend is planning to resort to anything to win her back and send Keith back to the fringes of high school society.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

SOME KIND OF WONDERFUL is typical of the teen movies of the 1980s like Ferris Bueller's Day Off and The Breakfast Club, an effective blend of raw emotion and familiar character types. The familiar-seeming love triangle forces all of the protagonists to re-think what they want from each other and the world and the best ways of reaching these goals. In the end, each has to demonstrate courage and understanding to get what is best for all of them.

Teenagers might find the movie a little silly and outdated in some ways (the clothes and music are very '80s) but the dialogue is very real and funny, and the cast turns in excellent performances, especially Eric Stoltz and Mary Stuart Masterson. Parents will have a chance to relive their high school days and hopefully start some conversations about challenges and triumphs of their own.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about what divides people in society, such as money, behavior, or education, and how people work to get past those divisions. Other issues might include how the protagonists develop as people. Who is brave in this film? What kinds of courage are there?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:July 19, 1987
DVD release date:March 1, 2001
Cast:Eric Stoltz, Lea Thompson, Mary Stuart Masterson
Director:Howard Deutch
Studio:Paramount Pictures
Genre:Drama
Run time:93 minutes
MPAA rating:PG-13
MPAA explanation:language, mild sexuality, social issues

This review of Some Kind of Wonderful was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

About our buy links

When you use our links to make a purchase, Common Sense Media earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes. As a nonprofit organization, these funds help us continue providing independent, ad-free services for educators, families, and kids while the price you pay remains the same. Thank you for your support.
Read more

See more about how we rate and review.

About Our Rating System

The age displayed for each title is the minimum one for which it's developmentally appropriate. We recently updated all of our reviews to show only this age, rather than the multi-color "slider." Get more information about our ratings.

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Adult Written byjmberryhill88 April 9, 2008
Parent of a 14 year old Written bydramaqueen@hotm... October 21, 2013
age 14+
 

feel good 80's movie for teens.

cool movie . mostly for teens though. the 80's which is cool . i love this movie so much.
What other families should know
Great messages
Too much swearing
Teen, 13 years old Written by80sfreak November 12, 2009
age 11+
 

This is my favorite movie!

If you havent seen this movie go see it right now!
What other families should know
Great messages

Poll

Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?

Digital Compass