Parents' Guide to

The Queen's Gambit

By Jenny Nixon, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 15+

Young female chess prodigy struggles with drink and drugs.

TV Netflix Drama 2018
The Queen's Gambit Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.

Community Reviews

age 14+

Based on 19 parent reviews

age 7+

Beautiful period piece with a strong female lead

This is an excellent TV show with no violence. Younger children may not enjoy it as much, but there is no reason to avoid it either. My 9yo loved it. There is a major theme of substance abuse, with drugs and alcohol use presented appropriately as a problem, and a low point, for the protagonist. Still, for younger children I would suggest watching it with them and seize the opportunity to explain what is happening and why.

This title has:

Great messages
Great role models
5 people found this helpful.
age 13+

Best mini series ever

Amazingly done in any category Unique storyline. Great acting. So interesting. Bravo

This title has:

Great messages
Great role models
Too much consumerism
1 person found this helpful.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (19 ):
Kids say (76 ):

Some elements of Beth Harmon's story stretch credulity, but this is an absolutely gorgeous-looking fairy tale, well-acted enough to gloss over some of the less believable aspects. It's not the fact that she's a chess genius that's hard to swallow, but the way this happens in the 1960s, yet she appears to face very little conflict in terms of male acceptance as she rises the ranks. Some male players scoff at the idea of a female entering their field, sure, but she's almost immediately met with respect and admiration, even if there is a touch of envy in it.

Like many savant-centered stories, this one (which is based on the novel by Walter Tevis) attempts to examine the complexities of fame and genius -- the idea that someone has to be a little "crazy" to be exceptional, and how detrimental that can be to one's personal life. But even Beth's substance abuse problems don't truly threaten her until far into her career, as she is aided in her growing reliance on booze by her adoptive mother/agent Alma. This relationship is perhaps the most interesting in the series, and Marielle Heller -- better known as the director of films like Can You Ever Forgive Me? and A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood -- gives a nuanced performance full of pathos and genuine warmth; she should absolutely be acting more often. Anya Taylor-Joy does wonderful work here also, her still face and expressive eyes hinting at the deep pain and drive bubbling under the surface. The series may ultimately be a rags-to-riches fantasy and not so much the deep drama it aims for, but darn if it isn't a great one.

TV Details

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