Sidebar: Oscar Web Guide for Parents
And the winner is...
CREDIT: The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences
This year's Academy Award nominees for Best Picture have highlighted some of the inconsistencies in the MPAA rating system. The MPAA has long doled out harsher ratings for sexual content than for violence, but the presence of an R rating for "The Kings Speech," and a G rating for "Toy Story 3" has called into question how the MPAA deals with harsh language and adult themes as well.
- "Winter's Bone": Iffy, ages 15-18. CommonSense. org praises the movie's main character as a strong, resourceful young woman and a good role model, but notes that the film is filled with violence and drug use.
- "Black Swan": Iffy, 16-18. The site calls the movie "magnificent," but offers warnings about the intense psychological horror, sexual situations and message about self-destruction.
- "The Fighter": Iffy, 16-18. Violence and drug abuse combine with a positive message to make a movie that is too rough for younger teens but inspirational for older, more mature viewers."
- "Toy Story 3": On, 5 and up. Another Pixar movie proves educational, uplifting and enjoyable for all, "but thanks to a fairly long scene of peril toward the end of the movie that some 3- to 5-year-olds may find tense and/or scary, we're rating this 'threequel' at a higher age than its predecessors."
- "Inception": On, 14 and up. CommonSense notes the level of violence, but recommends the movie anyway due to the lack of realism in the action and the absence of foul language, sexual content or substance abuse.
- "The Kids are Alright": Iffy, 17. Nudity, family discord and pervasive sexual themes leave this movie recommended primarily for adults and very mature teens.
- "127 Hours": Iffy, 17. A lengthy scene of self-amputation is balanced by a positive theme of self-reliance and surviving against the odds. Additionally, "those who have the stomach for the bloody parts can also expect some heavy language (not all that surprising, considering the movie's circumstances)."
- "The Social Network": Iffy, 14 and up. There may not be any nudity or violence, but drug abuse and negative role models may mean some parents should keep younger teens away.
- "True Girt": On, 15 and up. Plenty of violence and a good amount of swearing, but, "that said, mature teens are likely to feel a kinship with the lead character, 14-year-old Mattie Ross, who faces challenges that would break many adults. They might even learn from her adventure and not small-potatoes lessons, either, but ones dealing with loyalty, courage, and determination."
- "The King's Speech": On, 15 and up. "Parents need to know that this engrossing, fact-based drama which is rated R primarily for a few scenes of strong language (including one f-word-filled outburst) has inspiring and empowering messages about triumphing over your fears."