Tom & Thomas

Movie review by
Carrie R. Wheadon, Common Sense Media
Tom & Thomas Movie Poster Image
Separated-at-birth twin tale has a few intense scenes.
  • PG
  • 2009
  • 110 minutes

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Bravery and teamwork save the day. And there's a very positive depiction of a widowed father raising an adopted son. But in one scene a character shoplifts, and in another the twins cheat on tests by trading places; both are seen as acceptable.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The twins are brave and come through for each other in life-threatening situations, but they also use their secret to their advantage in negative ways like cheating on tests and fooling Thomas' dad Paul. Widowed Paul is financially irresponsible but still tries to do the best for his adopted son. Their neighbor Celia is a strong minority female character who knows when to follow her instincts despite what others think; her actions save a life.

Violence

Thomas visits his adoptive mother's grave and there's some talk about the mother who couldn't keep him. Tom is chased through his school and then beaten with a switch and two long marks remain on his back. Talk of orphans being drugged and kidnapped for an adoption racket; Tom sees one kid loaded into a car. The climatic action has one twin drugged and kidnapped and the other almost killed as a plane stowaway. A man brandishes a gun in the airport. Bullies and a rottweiler both chase and torment the twins. One bad guy head-butts and bloodies another.

Sex

One kiss between adults and some comments from Paul's agent calling one woman "delicious." Paul keeps telling his agent he's painting a series of nudes.

Language

"S--t" is said three times by a 9-year-old. Plus British slang "sod" and "bloody hell."

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

A mention that the twins' biological mother was an alcoholic.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this British movie about twins separated at birth is marketed as family friendly but the language ("s--t" three times by a 9-year-old) and some intense scenes make it best for tweens and up. Children are kidnapped by some really creepy guys in an adoption racket and in a climatic scene one twin tries to save another and almost dies. There's also some bullying, beating with a switch (leaving Tom with two big welts on his back), and a few tense chases involving a rottweiler.

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What's the story?

Nine-year-old Thomas (Aaron Johnson) and his adoptive father Paul (Sean Bean) live in London and are trying to get by after the death of Thomas' mother. Paul thinks Thomas is using an imaginary friend named Tom to cope but Thomas is sure his dreams, daydreams, and occasional sympathetic pains are real. Tom (also Aaron Johnson) is an orphan at a boy's school who's in serious trouble. A school caretaker catches him snooping just as an unconscious boy's body is loaded into a truck as part of an illegal adoption racket. Now Tom's on the run and serendipitously shoplifts the same jacket Thomas buys on the way to both their favorite place: the space museum. When the two finally meet, Thomas decides to hide Tom, doubting his father will believe them until they find proof that they're twins. Only, the proof is back at the boy's school with some really bad guys ready to make Tom their next kidnap victim.

Is it any good?

The cast is good here and there's plenty to keep TOM & THOMAS from being cookie-cutter family fare. First, the villains have more depth than you'd expect -- and there's an added twist that compounds the excitement. And the female pilot who trusts her instincts and saves a life is a welcome touch. The action-y climax is a little long for shorter attention spans, but keeps it exciting.

The filmmakers had to throw in a few irksome cliches and way-too-big coincidences, however. Like the old twin switcheroo (to cheat on tests, etc.) and Tom and Thomas running around London in the same jacket. And of course there would be no climax without a moment where the twins decide not to tell Thomas' dad his "imaginary friend" is real and hiding out in his bedroom -- not yet. Do they really need to find the proof for him that they're twins? Um, how about they look exactly the same?

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the family depicted here. How do Thomas and his adoptive father mourn their loss? How do they talk about Thomas' adoption? What kind of help does Thomas' father receive when he's concerned about his son?

  • Families can also talk about secrets from parents. Do you agree with Thomas' decision to hide Tom from his father?

  • The twins have the ability to feel each other's pain and even daydream about what's happening to the other. Would you like this ability? How would it affect you?

Movie details

For kids who love watching together as a family

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