October 2012

Age-appropriate films for kids

How do you decide?

My conservative, Catholic cousin-in-law was once shocked when I admitted to watching R-rated movies as a teen. “Didn’t you?” I countered. He told me no, that his mother wouldn’t let him and he didn’t watch a single one until he was 18. That sounded sort of pitiful to me, but I guess I sound pitiful to other people—I’ve never smoked pot, for example, and I didn’t drink or do drugs in high school. I suppose I should have asked him if he did any of those things.

Then, the other night at a mask-making class, the teacher asked kids to identify a favorite movie that might inspire a mask. While looking at the masks, my seven-year-old was obviously reminded of the movie Labyrinth, which we love. The teacher remarked, “Labyrinth! Wow. Any other movies?” He then decided to use a girl’s example of Beauty and the Beast—a movie in which people die, by the way, while no one dies in Labyrinth; and instead of a girl tolerating emotional abuse, it involves one courageously saving her little brother—for the mask-making. A librarian remarked later, “Labyrinth’s a little old for her, isn’t it?”