A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
When people need help, you give it to them. Anyone can be a hero.
Positive Role Models
At first Frank is arrogant, cynical, and often looking for a fight. Eventually we learn that at the same time he's also been an exemplary highway patrol officer with many commendations. Eventually he learns to be compassionate, caring, and giving when he realizes that he's special to someone. He starts a charitable corporation that becomes one of the biggest nonprofits in the world. Frank's mother is a terrible role model who doesn't want Frank but cruelly keeps him from his father who does want him. Kitty is a great model of loyalty and support, and of not backing down when Frank tries to push her away. Most of Frank's friends and fellow officers are exemplary, except the bad guys, who get their comeuppance.
Violence & Scariness
Several instances of fighting with punching, kicking, slapping, and using blunt weapons. An instance of excessive force shows a highway patrolman beating a handcuffed man with a heavy flashlight. A boy on the ground is repeatedly kicked by a gang of boys. Bloody noses, mouths, and scrapes are shown along with bruising and limping. A motorcycle crash victim is shown bleeding from the ear. Sexual assault is implied and screams are heard; the perpetrator has a bloody mouth and it's implied that he's going to be beaten with a belt. A man threatens a boy with a throat-slitting gesture using a real knife.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
A few brief kisses. Some sexual innuendo from sounds, a woman lying in bed, and a woman wearing clingy clothing and dancing suggestively.
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"Hell," "ass," "a--hole," "s--t," "son of a bitch," "damn," "Goddammit," "bulls--t," and "piss off."
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Products & Purchases
A few product labels visible incidentally.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Frank drinks hard alcohol during the day while recovering from an accident. Several scenes take place in bars and show drinking shots and smoking cigars and cigarettes. Frank smokes cigars and offers them to guests. Cans of beer and bottles of wine and hard liquor are shown on coffee tables. Frank rummages for pills and mentions that he "usually takes a painkiller" at a certain time of day. A witness mentions smoking pot on the night she was arrested. Minor and background characters smoke. Frank smokes a cigar a few times.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Wish Man is a biography of the man who started the Make-A-Wish Foundation. His difficult childhood is shown in flashbacks, and themes of parental loss and death are shown. Violence is mostly brawl-type fights that show bloody noses, bruising, and limping, but there's one fairly explicit scene of a highway patrolman using excessive force, beating a handcuffed man in the head with a large flashlight. A sexual assault is implied by hearing screams and seeing loosened clothing. A fair sprinkling of "s--t," "damn," and "a--hole." Frank drinks during the day while on medical leave and smokes cigars. Several scenes take place in bars, and coffee tables in homes are strewn with beer cans and liquor bottles. Painkiller addiction is implied by rummaging through drawers until a pill bottle is found and mentioning usually taking a painkiller at a certain time of day. Pot smoking is mentioned. Some background smoking in bars is shown. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
This is a well-meaning and sentimental biopic that genuinely pulls at the heartstrings, eventually. But Wish Man is too long, often getting bogged down by extensive flashbacks and side stories that slow things down instead of enhancing the story. The acting's OK, but the script is a little amateurish, with dialogue that often seems forced or unrealistic. Viewers will learn positive messages about how valuable feeling like you matter to someone, knowing you can help, and having compassion are. Strong language, lots of alcohol, and mature themes make it best for teens and up.
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.