Movie Reviews

Is Star Wars The Force Awakens Appropriate for Kids

Star Wars PosterI recently watched Star Wars: The Force Awakens and I loved it, but there were some things that might be hard for younger viewers. Here we go, without spoilers.

But First….

Before I discuss if Star Wars: The Force Awakens is appropriate for kids, I have to ask, are there any parents who are NOT going to take their kids to see this movie? Seriously! It’s Star Wars! I will even suggest that if you do NOT take your children to see this movie that you are a bad parent. All parents should be contacted by Child Services and be forced to show proof that you brought your children to see this movie. In fact, I will go even a step further and suggest that parents should buy extra movie tickets and hand them out to kids they see walking around the neighborhood. But do so in a non-creepy way.

There are some things that parents should know before going into the theater, though. It is, of course, Star Wars, so a lot of people die. In the other Star Wars movies, excluding Revenge of the Sith, the violence is a little cartoonish. In The Force Awakens, the action and violence has a little more of an edge to it. When mass people die, you don’t just see planets blow up, but you see faces of the victims.

Also, if you or your kids were a fan of the animated TV show Star Wars: The Clone Wars, then you know that people began to have an interest in the people under the Stormtroopers helmet. The troopers have more personality to them now. I don’t think it is a spoiler stating here that one of the Stormtroopers, Fin, breaks away and leaves the First Order. This breaking away shows that the Stormtroopers are not faceless people, but ones with thoughts, feelings, and personalities. As a result, when they die, their deaths are more impactful and disturbing.

There is an extra level of intensity in the fight scenes whether they are in the air or one on one on the ground. The movie is rated PG-13 for the violence and I agree with that rating. If you were fine with taking your kids to see Avengers: Age of Ultron, then The Force Awakens will be fine for you. My 11 year old and 9 year old were fine with the movie and were not scared or taken aback by any of the action and violence. There weren’t any notable swear words or sex and, as would be expected from Star Wars, there are strong moral messages about right and wrong, friendship, and forgiveness.

And what did I think about the movie itself?

Like many other people, I love all things Star Wars. I credit playing with my Star Wars figures in developing my playwriting abilities and expanding my imagination. Watching The Force Awakens brought me back to my childhood. Several times during the movie, I leaned over and shook my kids’ knees with excitement. And every once in a while, my kids would let out an excited “Oh!”

Like many other people, I was disappointed with the prequels. There wasn’t an ounce of disappointment after seeing The Force Awakens though. Also, Adam Driver is my new man crush.

If you are wondering if other movies are appropriate for children, check out my past reviews on Ant Man, TMNT, Guardians of the Galaxy, Avengers: Age of Ultron, etc. Usually, I throw out the question if the films are appropriate for kids, then point out some things that happen and let parents be the judge.

And if you are in NYC, you might want to check out the Star Wars costume exhibit at Discovery Times Square.

 

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7 comments

  1. I feel I have failed as parent. I want to take my 8 year old to see it. He loves Star Wars (I taught him that much, at least). We watched the original, but haven’t gotten to the prequels yet. We haven’t seen The Force Awakens, but would love to. Perhaps after Christmas? I’m just wondering if my 4 year old will get jealous. He loved Return of the Jedi!

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  2. Thanks for the review. There is a lack of helpful reviews about how age-appropriate this film is. It’s not clear to me from your first paragraph how ‘over the top’ you’re being… I’m still debating whether to take our 10 and 8 year olds. The 10 year old could probably handle it, the question is whether the younger one could based on their personality, and either they both go or neither. They’ve seen all the Star Wars films excepth #3.

    At this point, I’m leaning towards not going from the sparse non-spoilery review information I can find. It’s a shame, because this is the kind of film that it’s worth paying to see in the theater (and there aren’t many!). Too bad, I guess I’ll just have to be the bad parent. But thanks for being one of the few who is helping to clarify things about this film!

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    1. twebb2, I think it depends on how comfortable you are with letting your kids see violence, and what kinds of violence they’ve been exposed to. There was nothing “scary” about this movie and I think an 8 year old would be fine with seeing it — it’s not nightmare inducing and I didn’t feel that I had to shield my kids eyes from gore, since there really wasn’t any. While my younger kid would probably be fine with seeing it, I’m not sure I’m fine with him seeing it. As described above, the violence is more realistic and I’m not sure I want him to have those images in his head or to become desensitized to violence at his young age. Hope that helps!

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