Parents' Guide to

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

By Dana Anderson, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 15+

Real-life tearjerker shows how lies hurt, truth heals.

Movie PG-13 2017 93 minutes
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

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

Community Reviews

age 17+

Based on 2 parent reviews

age 16+


There is some violence like pictures and brief scenes of Henrietta being tortured some brief scenes of Deborah and her siblings being whipped there is also language like used twice: "f--k," "black b**ch," "a*s."
age 18+


Although the details under 'sex' state "not applicable", under violence you will find details about a graphic rape of someone by her extended family. Consent or not- this should also be included under 'sex'- common sense media missed this one big time.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say: (2 ):
Kids say: Not yet rated

This incredible true story, medical mystery, and family drama shows how fascinating, damaging, and anger-provoking the injustices of history can be. In the midst of all the wrongs, however, the uplifting parts of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks show that healing can happen in any situation, no matter how complicated. Oprah Winfrey as Deborah Lacks brings a conviction to the now-deceased Deborah that speaks volumes to the eternal relationship between mother and child. When Skloot tells Deborah that "there isn't a person alive who hasn't benefited from your mother's cells," one can feel the sad irony in Deborah's mix of pride in her mom and anger that many members of the Lacks family struggled financially and with health issues.

Renee Elise Goldsberry's portrayal of the young Henrietta Lacks shows the vibrant life of a woman history tried to forget, but who was as full of life and caring for others in her lifetime as her cells remain to this day. This tear-jerking story of an unsung hero is just as good (even better in some ways) than the best-selling book.

Movie Details

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