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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Having a purposeful life is crucial to one's self-worth. Each unique individual, regardless of limitations, is to be cherished and can have a positive impact on those in his/her sphere. Values promoted: gratitude, sincerity, honesty, concern for others.
Positive Role Models
Lead character is courageous, resourceful, and compassionate, and has limited mental capacity. Featured young woman, probably headed for disaster, finds that one person who genuinely cares for her can set her on the right track. Mom of challenged young man is consistent, respectful, loving, and responsible. Other parental figures are multidimensional but sympathetic and worthy at their core. Ethnic diversity.
Violence & Scariness
Hero physically intervenes when girl is being assaulted, takes man down. Fantasy sequences take place upon a battlefield with gunfire and explosions. No injuries or deaths. Mild suspense when central figure follows people who may be dangerous.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
A young woman, who may be a "working girl," appears to negotiate staying in her home for sexual favors with landlord.
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Profanity includes: "s--t," "damn," "get in your pants," "ass," "banging," "son of a bitch," "Jesus Christ," "virgin," "hell," "screw." One use of "f--k."
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Products & Purchases
Chips Ahoy, Hollywood Park Casino, Kinko's, Canon camera, Luky's Hardware, eBay.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Some alcohol consumption (wine, beer, peach schnapps). No drunkenness.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Sun Dogs is a movie about a compelling young man with learning issues as he searches for his place in the world. Jennifer Morrison (a leading actor in the TV series Once Upon a Time, directing her first feature-length film) has assembled a strong cast to tell this unconventional tale about someone with considerable limitations who nonetheless makes an impact in others' lives. Action includes some fantasy sequences with Ned in wartime, on a battlefield with gunfire and explosions in the background. The hero intervenes when he believes a girl is in danger, taking the assailant down. Expect profanity throughout, including "ass," "son of a bitch," "damn," "get in your pants," "Jesus Christ," "virgin," "hell," "retard," and one "f--k." It's implied that a young woman is paid for sex. There's occasional social drinking but no drunkenness. While there are many subtly comic moments, and some amusing characterizations, there are also some scenes that deal with death and sadness. The movie tells the story of ordinary Americans struggling to find their way in a chaotic world -- where terror and terrorists live somewhere just beyond their peripheral vision -- and the complex relationships they create to find meaning. Fine for teens and as a shared family experience. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Jennifer Morrison's initial feature direction is a delicate movie, honest within the constraints of its fantastical premise. It focuses on relationships, compassion, and every individual's right to live a life of purpose. Sun Dogs is gentle, heartfelt, and skilled. Working with notable actors, she brings nuance and grace to what, in lesser hands, might have been stereotypes of America's struggling working class. Allison Janney, as always, is wonderful; Ed O'Neill in a multidimensional performance has never been better. It's an unlikely, sweet story and the production (music, art direction, editing, script) are all first-rate. Michael Angarano delivers as Ned, a challenging role. He brings magic into the lives of everyone around him just as the filmmakers have attempted to bring that magic to the screen, entrusting that their audience will believe in Ned and love him just the way he is.
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.