By Nell Minow,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Lovely version of the favorite middle-school book.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
In the words of Angus, the patriarch of the Tuck family: "Don't be afraid of death. Be afraid of the unlived life."
Positive Role Models
Winnie is headstrong and independent in spite of her strict and stifling upbringing. The Tuck parents are kind and profound in their hard-earned wisdom, and Jesse Tuck is a sensitive and adventurous "boy" of 104 years old.
Violence & Scariness
Characters are shot with rifles but get up. A character is hit in the head with a rifle. Another character is thrown out of a bar after instigating a fight during a card game. A female character is abducted, forced onto a horse by a male character.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Kissing and embracing between characters in their late teens.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
A scene in a bar shows bottles of alcohol, but there is no drinking.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Tuck Everlasting, a Disney film about a teen girl who meets a family who is immortal after drinking from a fountain of youth on their property, raises profound questions about life and death, the cycle of life, and aging. Besides the heady subject matter, there are some violent altercations of characters being shot at or hit in the head with rifles. Overall, the film should raise interesting discussions about immortality, life, and how to live.
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What's the Story?
In TUCK EVERLASTING, Angus Tuck (William Hurt) tells rich, overprotected Winnie Foster (Alexis Bledel) that he feels like a rock by the side of a stream, life rushing past him. She feels that way, too. Her proud and proper mother (Amy Irving) restrains all forms of independence in her daughter. When Winnie learns that her mother is planning to send her to a strict finishing school, she leaves home and runs into the untamed woods, not knowing if she's running away from something or to something. Lost, she comes upon a boy named Jesse (Jonathan Jackson), who, with help from his brother, kidnaps her and takes her to his family's hidden cabin. They treat her with an odd mixture of hospitality and intimidation, making it clear that she's not free to go. Meek Winnie can only acquiesce to the new situation. She finds herself drawn to Jesse and eventually comes to love her life with the Tucks and their sense of timelessness.
Is It Any Good?
Disney has made a lovely film version of the book Tuck Everlasting, which is a perennial middle-school favorite. It deals thoughtfully with themes of time, identity, and humanity. In the Tuck home, there is no time. Or, rather, there's too much time, which turns out to be pretty much the same thing. As the Tucks realize how very different they are from other people, unsettling truths become clear. They present such a challenge to the most fundamental assumptions that people are either terrified or overcome with greed. So the family must do anything necessary to make sure no one knows their secret.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about what they would do if they had the choice presented to Winnie.
Families can also talk about how the movie compares with the book. Why make Winnie a teen in the movie when she is only 10 in the book? How does that change the story?
How does this treatment of immortality differ from vampire stories?
- In theaters: October 11, 2002
- On DVD or streaming: February 25, 2003
- Cast: Alexis Bledel, Jonathan Jackson, William Hurt
- Director: Jay Russell
- Studio: Walt Disney Pictures
- Genre: Family and Kids
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Book Characters
- Run time: 88 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG
- MPAA explanation: peril and violence
- Last updated: February 18, 2023
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.
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