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Parents' Guide to

To Be Takei

By Polly Conway, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 13+

In upbeat docu, equality for all is the final frontier.

Movie NR 2014 93 minutes
To Be Takei Poster Image

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Takei is one of a kind. A self-described optimist ("I don't believe in negativity"), he's spent a lifetime working tirelessly for civil rights while maintaining a reputation as Star Trek's resident goofball and the Internet's kooky uncle. Because it has so much ground to cover, To Be Takei meanders a bit as it jumps from Takei speaking about LGBTQ rights on Fox News to him wielding a fencing foil on a particularly wild Star Trek episode to black-and-white photos of his family in an Arkansas internment camp. But that can't be helped; Takei has lived such a bold, varied life that it's hard to pack it all in to a tight 90 minutes.

Trekkers will no doubt enjoy the film, and they'll end up learning a surprising amount about both America's dark history during WWII and its complicated present grappling with racial and LGBTQ equality. And there are definitely some choice Trek goodies to be found (watching Takei bust Shatner's chops at a comedy roast is a delight). Present-day scenes are decidedly unglamorous, depicting the relatively quiet life of a middle-aged couple -- small moments like sharing a bag of chips in the car, taking daily walks, and gentle bickering relay their two-plus decades together. Since much of the film's conflict plays out in the past, the current scenes can feel a bit boring, but a few stand out, like George and Brad's no-nonsense approach to a Star Trek autograph signing. A mix of Hollywood biopic, history lesson, and reality show, To Be Takei offers a glimpse of what it's really like to go boldly ... where no one has gone before. Oh, myyyyy!

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