Parents' Guide to

The Bear

By Charles Cassady Jr., Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 10+

Live-action animal saga is incredible -- and a bit scary.

Movie PG 1989 94 minutes
The Bear Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

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

Community Reviews

age 7+

Based on 3 parent reviews

age 7+

Beware if you have little ones

It began with, "Let's watch a movie about real bears!" Then, five minutes later, my almost 5-year-old and i are discussing the death of a parent. That was unexpected. It gets better. They show dead momma bear being skinned. If you're not ready to explain these things and several more heavy topics with your children, pass on it!
age 6+

A kids movie that only the grown ups will finish

This is a beautifully shot, lovely movie. Our 9 and 11 year old boys started asking "how much longer" 25 minutes in and didn't make it to the halfway point. And these are kids who like gentle, sweet, nature stories but are so overexposed to animated Pixar style films that they can't just sit still and take in a movie with so little dialogue and so few laughs. Sad.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (3):
Kids say (3):

Seven years in the making by French filmmakers (though the minimal dialogue in most versions is English), The Bear is a simply told but visually and emotionally spectacular all-ages drama. While depicting the playfulness, the fear, and the personalities of its ursine characters, it never turns its animal actors into substitutes for people -- a remarkable feat in itself, and very much key to the theme of respecting nature and all life, human and non-human.

The bear actor Bart (who weighed around a ton when the film was made) and his offscreen handlers do astounding work, evoking a primal ferocity worthy of a sci-fi epic's T.rex when the grizzly king is riled, yet also show a range of gentleness and mercy. When this film premiered in Europe it drew crowds comparable to E.T. - The Extraterrestrial and actually outgrossed another, very different animal movie competing at the box office: Who Framed Roger Rabbit. Take that as evidence that this is a must-see. The same film team would later do Two Brothers, another recommended pro-animal-rights drama concerning a pair of exploited Bengal tigers. This film is also on the New York Times list of the 100 "essential" children's movies.

Movie Details

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