The Force Awakens Review For Parents (Non-Spoilers)
The Force Awakens Review For Parents
Listen up, Kids.
I’m going to tell you an incredible story, the story of how I met Kylo Ren.
Yes, it’s going to take awhile.
It all started back in 1977- long ago in a decade far, far away. I was about 3 and a half, and I went to the movie with your grandparents.
What movie? THE movie. The original Star Wars.
My parents didn’t have a sitter, it was the middle of the afternoon, so they took my older sisters and me to the show. Plied us with popcorn and begged us to be quiet as the settled in to see the magic of Luke, Leia, Han and Chewie happen on the screen.
Of course, I have no memory of this. This is just how I imagine things went down.
It’s how I plan on rolling with you guys today. So when you remember this experience years later, you’ll know where I got my stellar parenting skills.
A few years later, I saw the sequel. As a strapping 7-year-old, this was truly my first experience with The Force.
The Empire Strikes Back was everything. This movie supplied countless moments of imagination and exploration. If it was long and straight it became a lightsaber in my hands.
My best friend across the street was Luke to my Leia (on M, W, F. I got to be Luke on T, Th, and Sat).
We fought over Han Solo and thought Yoda was adorable.
Ahhhh… the 80s were a great time to be alive, Kids!
The day The Return of the Jedi opened was a splendid day. I remember the anticipation, the build-up, the long lines entering the theater.
And the Ewoks.
They were a big deal. I just squeaked by on the appreciation line.
Everything good was in this movie: Darth Vader dies, the Death Star explodes (again), and Han & Leia happen.
Star Wars was good.
Years passed. The new movies started rolling out.
I wanted to believe the magic so badly I think I even liked Jar Jar Binks.
The second film, well, by that one I knew the magic was missing. Anakin and Padme were supposed to be in love, but they were so… awkward and forced and weird.
Twilight was more believable, despite what the memes will try to tell you.
I finished the final prequel because I heard it was better. I heard it made everything make sense.
It did. It was better. Sorta. Okay, not really.
Nothing came close in my heart or head to perfection.
And then the news came out that JJ Abrams was making the next installment. My heart dared to hope for something magical.
Kids, once in your life you might experience something like the original Star Wars trilogy.
If you are lucky, you’ll experience it more than once.
I’m one lucky mama.
From the moment this came on the screen:
to the ending credits, I had hope again.
I laughed, I clapped, I cheered, I cried, and by the love of JJ, I had chills.
And I met Kylo Ren.
He’s… complicated. I should hate him; like really really hate him, but…
Oh, how I know.
I even knew things that he would say and do before I met him through the prophecy of the Internet, but he’s just so…
And that Kids, is the story of how I met Kylo Ren.
Okay, okay. You’re right.
This is really the story of how much I wanted this movie not to suck and as a spoiler free review I can admit: it does NOT.
The Force Awakens is really dang good. It’s not perfect, it’s not Empire, but it’s good.
Just as I hope Kylo Ren might be (again) someday.
My kids are 13, 10, 8 and 4 1/2. Here are my recommendations for each age based on my children’s maturity levels.
Mild spoilers- I tried to share some information without sharing anything if you know what I mean!
Teen/Tweens (encompassing my two oldest ages) Should be good to go. Unless they are highly sensitive, children in this age range will be able to follow the story and enjoy it. They shouldn’t come out of it scarred in any way. My daughter is sensitive to a lot of things, but I feel she will be able to process and handle this movie without an issue.
Proceed to the path of the Light Side, my friends!
6 to 9-years old Depends on the maturity level. If they have seen and understood the previous movies, these Padawans are going to be fine. There are a lot of Stormtroopers shot in this one and there are some moments where innocents are put in extreme danger. But this isn’t Episode III level in my opinion.
There is only one scene with a little bit of red blood (it’s not gory, just know you do see it early on) and the rest of the injuries you see are typical blaster injuries that don’t appear bloody and nasty. And there is one BIG death- but it will honestly bother you more than them.
If your child of this age is highly sensitive, you may want to avoid the movie or screen it ahead of time.
6 and Under I’m taking my daughter, but I also screened the film ahead of time. I’ll be ready to take her out or distract her at moments that I don’t think she needs to see. She is a mature 4 1/2 and has seen the previous movies- and understood them. She asked a lot of questions, as kids do.
But this movie is long, yo! I expect she will have moments where she is asking to go- you know, right when it gets good, of course! As a parent with a kid this age who REALLY wanted to enjoy and soak in the moment, I am so happy I went ahead and saw the show last night without her.
I don’t think she will pick up on some of the nuances that the 6-9-year-olds might be bothered by, however. She’s not that deep if you know what I mean. I say proceed with caution in this age range. It’s not terrible but it is rated PG-13 due to space violence (?) so a child who only watches Thomas the Tank Engine may not be ready for this mature of a show.
Patty Holliday is a movie critic, writer, and podcaster living in the Washington, DC area. Her goal is to bridge the gap between casual fandom and picky critic with parent movie and television reviews.