Information for parents deciding which movies are best for kids ages 2 to 18:
“Star Wars: The Force Awakens”
Why it’s rated PG-13: Extensive sci-fi peril and violence with many characters injured and killed and a very sad death, issues of totalitarianism, loss and betrayal.
Minimum age: Middle school.
Family discussion: Why didn’t Finn have a name? How are Kylo Ren and Hux different? What surprised you the most?
If you like this, try: The original “Star Wars” trilogy.
“Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip”
Why it’s rated PG: Potty humor and slapstick peril and violence, issues of parental abandonment.
Minimum age: 6.
Family discussion: Why did Miles lie about his father? Why didn’t Miles want to like Dave and the chipmunks? Which is your favorite chipmunk and why?
If you like this, try: The earlier chipmunk movies and the “Garfield” movies.
Why it’s rated R: Very explicit and crude sexual references and situations, gross-out comedy and graphic images, sexual situations, drinking and drug use, comic and slapstick peril and violence.
Minimum age: Mature teens.
Family discussion: Was there a house you were sorry to leave behind? Why was it hard for Kate to do what her daughter wanted?
If you like this, try: “Baby Mama” with Tina Fey and Amy Poehler.
Find Nell Minow’s reviews at Beliefnet on moviemom.com. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.