A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this made-for-TV movie -- which mixes action, adventure, drama, and lots of positive messages -- is an excellent choice for families. The Thompsons’ struggles with communication and emotional connection will be relatable to most families, and the characters' journey toward each other will give parents and kids plenty to talk about after the movie’s over. There’s virtually no iffy content, but the pace and content probably won't grab little kids' interest, so it’s best for grade schoolers and up.
What's the story?
Claire (Kellie Martin) and Matt Thompson are by all accounts a typical American couple -- but appearances hide the fact that they're both geniuses whose work once laid the groundwork for scientific breakthroughs at a secret research community called The Jensen Project. After leaving Jensen years ago under the stigma of failure, Claire has done her best to put the past behind her, but the facility’s leader, Ingrid (Patricia Richardson), returns to ask for her help when a scientist steals the plans for one of Claire’s designs and promises to sell it to the highest bidder. The black-market technology has dire implications for humanity itself, so the Thompsons -- along with their son, Brody -- agree to return to Jensen to lend a hand.
Is it any good?
NBC’s attempt to revive Family Movie Night hits its mark with THE JENSEN PROJECT, which gives families plenty to talk about after tuning in. The intriguing (albeit fictionalized, of course) glimpse into top-secret scientific research will get everyone’s gears turning about where the world is today and where we’re headed in the future. In addition, the movie surfaces the debate over who should have access to such breakthroughs (and for what purpose they can be used), which will prompt discussions about right and wrong and human responsibility.
On a more personal level, The Jensen Project also strikes at the heart of struggles that many real families will relate to -- like feeling out of touch and losing trust in one another. All of the Thompsons battle individual uncertainties, magnified by their emotional distance from each other. The movie chronicles their journey back toward understanding and communicating with each other, which holds worthwhile lessons for families who watch.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how the Thompsons change over the course of the movie. How were their relationships less than perfect in the beginning of the movie? How did they work through their problems? Can you relate to what they went through?
What role does technology play in your life? How have advancements improved life for people around the world? Where are improvements still needed? What changes would you most like to see?
Who defines "right" and "wrong"? How does a person’s life experience affect his impression of right and wrong? Can personal opinion about what’s right stand in the way of changes that could help people?
For kids who love action and thrills
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