A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
This sad and troubling story of abuse and neglect doesn't have positive messages.
Positive Role Models
In this sad and troubling story of abuse, role models are limited mostly to people who could have been good parents to Natalia but weren't given the opportunity and the perseverance of Natalia herself.
Natalia is a little person, as are others who are interviewed. The family's oldest son has autism and Mrs. Barnett ran a special needs daycare. Most of the people involved in the story, and interviewed, are White. A child with dwarfism and her mother, both of whom are Latino, are briefly featured.
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Violence & Scariness
The series repeatedly portrays harrowing stories of child and domestic abuse. It features graphic depictions of Natalia, an adopted child, making chilling threats to harm or kill her family members. Dramatized scenes include her hiding knives under her bed and ominously telling her adoptive parents about her plans to use them while they sleep. In a contrasting portrayal, Natalia is shown reading the Bible, which she explains is an attempt to dispel her evil thoughts. Viewers are presented with deeply emotional scenes where individuals are seen screaming and crying in distress as they recount their experiences. In one particularly intense re-enactment, a man violently demonstrates how a woman beat a child. The narrative also delves into the complex issues of trauma and abandonment often associated with adoption. Adding another layer to Natalia's troubling behavior, the series reveals a therapist diagnosing her as a sociopath. Police officers who are being interviewed are shown cleaning or holding their firearms more than once.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
The series includes a description of a child, believed to be only six years old, having pubic hair and secretly experiencing menstruation. There are also narratives from mental health facility workers about Natalia donning provocative clothing, displaying overt sexuality, and even propositioning men with sexual favors for money. Michael Barnett, a key figure in the story, hints at concerns raised by facility staff about the potential danger Natalia might face from men in the adult ward, especially if her true age were disguised. The series further explores the anxiety of parents in the community over Natalia's possibly inappropriate interactions with local children, highlighting the pervasive unease surrounding her behavior and the challenging questions it raised about her identity and intentions.
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There's some mild profanity, including "ass," as well as bleeped profanity including "f--k" and "s--t."
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Products & Purchases
A man discusses how great his life was by listing off all of his material possessions, including a 5,000 square foot "McMansion," a Lamborghini, 13 flat screen TVs, etc. A parent is shown promoting herself and her book about her genius son.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Curious Case of Natalia Grace is a docuseries that covers mature subject matter not suitable for children. There are repeated stories involving weapons, threats of physical harm, child abuse, and abandonment. There are also stories of a young girl acting overly sexual and inappropriate with younger children.
Is It Any Good?
A story that is both intriguing and unsettling, marked by a cast of unreliable narrators. From the outset, the interviews with Michael Barnett in The Curious Case of Natalia Grace are darkly captivating as his apparent narcissistic tendencies and questionable truthfulness add complexity to the narrative, painting him as both a potential victim and a dubious character in this murky saga. Also notable is the series' selective representation of perspectives; it's told primarily from Michael Barnett's viewpoint, while Kristine Barnett, accused of abusing Natalia, is conspicuously absent. Moreover, until season two, Natalia Grace herself is largely represented through secondary sources, such as recorded interviews with legal experts, rather than direct participation. This unbalanced portrayal may leave viewers with more questions than answers, creating a narrative that's as compelling as it is incomplete.
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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