Parents' Guide to

The Good Son

By Barbara Shulgasser-Parker, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 15+

Creepy '90s thriller about murderous kid has violence.

Movie R 1993 87 minutes
The Good Son Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

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

Community Reviews

age 16+

Based on 3 parent reviews

age 15+

Darkest movie ever. Not for young kids!

This was the darkest movie I've seen in my lifetime, I mean by darkest that the whole script of McCaulay Culkin playing role Henry were really scary and heartbeating the whole time. The fact that the story could be true is devastating. Still this movie is a one of a kind and one of the bests I recall seeing. 2 boys in this movie did make their lifetime best roles. And at the end, I'd make the same decision.

This title has:

Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
Too much swearing
age 15+

Pretty obvious this one isn't for young kids

It's pretty obvious if anyone ever saw any ads or read about this film this is no "Home Alone". The only thing this has in common with that film is of course its star Macaulay Culkin. Although the content of this film really is more PG-13 than R this is one of the few times I agree that the MPAA made the right choice with an R rating but strictly because of the theme of Culkin being a teenaged murderer. So yes expect acts of violence throughout. Culkin kills a dog with a device he has made that shoots bolts, (you do not see the dog die on screen), he causes a huge freeway accident by dropping a dummy from an overpass, and he even attempts to drown his little sister. Additionally the other main character than Culkin, Elijah Wood's mom dies and his grieving may be upsetting to some as well as the way Culkin's family treats him when they refuse to believe that Culkin really is evil. This results in Wood being slapped in the face and even locked in a den by his uncle until he breaks out. The way the family treats Wood's character especially considering he really is "The Good Son" that the title speaks of, may be upsetting to some viewers even though his family does figure out that indeed Culkin is the bad one and Wood is the good one. Profanity is typical PG-13 level swearing. There is one "f word" and the most shocking thing is Culkin is actually the one to say it. Otherwise I counted one or two GD's and the typical hells and damns. For an R rated movie the language is pretty tame and aside from Culkin's one f word it really isn't a big issue. Still, parents looking for Macaulay Culkin fare like "Home Alone" steer clear of this from your children. This is a very upsetting, disturbing film that is for adults. The themes of a child terrorizing innocent victims will upset and bother kids. This really isn't a scary horror film, but it definitely is an intense somewhat disturbing thriller to say the least that isn't for kids.

This title has:

Too much violence

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (3):
Kids say (10):

The Good Son is a well-constructed thriller that achieves sustained tension by means of deft direction, sharp plotting, and excellent performances, especially by two child actors, Culkin and Wood. Wendy Crewson as Susan, Mark's aunt and Henry's mother, gives a persuasive performance as a grieving parent still trying to give her love and support to her remaining children. Culkin was 13 at the time the movie was released but looks far younger, and Wood was 12. Despite the draw of young performers, some teens may find this too intense.

Movie Details

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