Parents' Guide to

The Bucket List

By S. Jhoanna Robledo, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 14+

Bittersweet dramedy approaches death with humor.

Movie PG-13 2007 98 minutes
The Bucket List Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

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

Community Reviews

age 14+

Based on 3 parent reviews

age 14+

Kick the Bucket

I couldn't help liking this movie. Sure, it had its issues. It wasn't as funny as it could have been (although I laughed very hard at times, especially in the sky-diving scene). It's kind of morbid since it's all about facing the certainty of death and going on laughing, but it's still a wonderfully fresh movie about discovering the joy in life. Freeman plays religious characters so well, I was shocked to discover that he is apathetic towards religion in real life and has been divorced three times. Nicholson is hysterically funny here, but still manages to pull of the dramatic scenes with ease. There are only two problems with this movie from a content perspective. The first is bad language. I guess you can't get two old guys together without a lot foul language being spat out. Expect to hear the f-word once and many other profanities and vulgarities as well. Not constant, but still more than I'm comfortable with. The second issue is not as a big a deal if you talk it through with your kids. At one point, Freeman is approached by a woman (discretely) with an offer of sex. He is married, so he turns her down. Your youngest kids might not notice this scene, so I would go ahead and leave them in the dark, but you might want to use it as a teaching opportunity for your older kids. SUMMARY: A very good movie dealing with death but more importantly with living a good life. Language is not appropriate. Be warned.
age 18+

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (3 ):
Kids say (9 ):

Viewers looking for innovative storytelling and surprises won't find much of either in Rob Reiner's THE BUCKET LIST. It's straightforward and predictable, with nary a divergence from the standard Hollywood playbook. But that doesn't mean it's not engaging -- and for that, it has its two leads to thank. You have to give the producers props for trying, but it's all a bit too treacly. Save for one unexpected twist, within the first half hour, you can pretty much tell which loose ends will be tied up before the credits roll. (No offense to Freeman, but can we do away with his now-ubiquitous, gravitas-filled voiceover? The man has other talents.) Cole will be revealed to have a soul much more complicated than the movie first hints; Chambers will become a man much more conflicted than his serene exterior suggests. And you can bet that each helps the other fully realize his potential.

Still, there's a certain delight in seeing Nicholson and Freeman interact; it's a heavyweight duet in which Reiner clearly takes delight. He gives them time to playfully spar and do what each does best (Nicholson is playful, Freeman is grave). Maybe the next movie they'll be in -- and they ought to team up again -- will have a more insightful, original script. Though, truth be told, obvious as The Bucket List may be, you may find yourself hard pressed not to be moved -- if only a little -- in the end.

Movie Details

  • In theaters: December 25, 2007
  • On DVD or streaming: June 9, 2008
  • Cast: Jack Nicholson , Morgan Freeman , Sean Hayes
  • Director: Rob Reiner
  • Inclusion Information: Black actors, Gay actors
  • Studio: Warner Bros.
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Run time: 98 minutes
  • MPAA rating: PG-13
  • MPAA explanation: language, including a sexual reference.
  • Last updated: June 1, 2023

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