Information for parents deciding which movies are best for kids ages 2 to 18:
Why it’s rated PG: Lots of monsters, some very scary looking, some scary surprises, brief potty humor.
Minimum age: 10.
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Family discussion: Which is the scariest monster and why? How are the three kids different in the way they view the monsters?
If you like this, try: “Monster House” and the books by R.L. Stine.
“Bridge of Spies”
Why it’s rated PG-13: Cold war story of spies with threat of atomic bombs, shooting down a spy plane, extensive tension and peril including guns and abuse of prisoners, brief strong language.
Minimum age: Middle school.
Family discussion: What do we learn about Donovan from his negotiation over the insurance payout? Why did he insist on including Prior?
If you like this, try: “13 Days.”
Why it’s rated PG-13: Very sad scenes of terminal cancer patient, themes of LGBTQ rights including homophobic and bigoted characters, some sexual references and situations, some strong language, smoking, drinking, some law enforcement-related violence.
Minimum age: High school.
Family discussion: Why did Laurel insist that she was not an advocate of marriage equality? Should she have told her partner the truth?
If you like this, try: The Oscar-winning documentary that inspired the film.
Why it’s rated R: Horror movie with many disturbing and graphic images, characters in extended peril, injured and killed, sexual situations, brief nudity, brief strong language, smoking, drinking.
Minimum age: Mature teens.
Family discussion: How is Edith different from the traditional horror movie heroine? How does the house help tell the story?
If you like this, try: “Pan’s Labyrinth” and director Guillermo del Toro’s “Cabinet of Curiosities” book.
Find Nell Minow’s reviews at Beliefnet on moviemom