What to watch with your kids: ‘A Man Called Otto’ and more



A Man Called Otto (PG-13)

Neighborly love warms comedy about suicidal curmudgeon.

Tom Hanks produced and stars in “A Man Called Otto,” an ultimately life-affirming dramedy that deals frankly with suicidal ideation. Adapted from Fredrik Backman’s best-selling book and the Academy Award-nominated 2016 Swedish film “A Man Called Ove,” it centers on a man named Otto (Hanks), the epitome of the cranky “get off my lawn” type, who wants to end his life as a matter of efficiency. The movie presents a series of humorously interrupted attempts at his death via suicide (using a rope, asphyxiation, a gun, etc.), all of which lead to the point at which Otto realizes that, while his wife and career are gone, life can still be fulfilling. The movie encourages giving others grace, since you may not be aware of what they’re going through. The residents in Otto’s housing complex are diverse in terms of age, gender, race, economics, ability and health, and they’re the definition of neighborly. Otto is counterbalanced by Marisol (Mariana Treviño), a positively portrayed Mexican immigrant mother of two who moves in across the street. In addition to Otto’s attempts at ending his life, there’s a road rage incident. Otto is impatient with others and calls them “idiots,” “b—–ds” and “p—ks.” Other language includes “s—” and “goddamn.” Characters kiss. (126 minutes)

Strong horror violence in entertaining killer-robot movie.

M3gan” is a horror movie about a robot/doll (played by Amie Donald and voiced by Jenna Davis) who befriends a grieving young girl (Violet McGraw) before things go terribly wrong. It’s well made, albeit violent, and focuses on human needs as well as artificial ones. Characters are killed, and there are discussions about death, loss and grief. Someone’s ear is ripped off, and characters are stabbed, strangled, shot with a nail gun, sprayed with a chemical sprayer, bitten by a dog, etc. A child survives a car crash with bloody cuts on her face. There’s lots of fighting and a violent showdown. Language includes several uses of “s—” and “Jesus Christ,” plus minimal uses of “f—,” “b—-,” “a–,” etc. A few brands are mentioned, including Tinder, Tesla, iPad and Skyy Vodka (which adults also drink, briefly). (102 minutes)

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Action film has violence, language, iffy representation.

Plane” is an action film with strong violence, language and problematic depictions of diverse communities. Gerard Butler plays pilot Brodie Torrance, who teams up with a felon with a military past, Louis Gaspare (Mike Colter), to save a plane’s passengers from dangerous separatists in the Philippines. Expect many intense scenes with violence and blood, death and peril, including a plane crash, kidnapping, torture and weapons (guns are used to kill people). Language is strong, too, with use of “f—,” “s—,” “goddamn” and more. While characters demonstrate courage and teamwork, there are troubling aspects to how the film’s non-White characters are represented. Darker-skinned, Southeast Asian-presenting actors are cast as criminals, while lighter, more East Asian-presenting actors are cast as “good guys.” And Black characters are coded as heroic but violent. (107 minutes)

Uplifting family-and-dog tale has emotional intensity.

Dog Gone,” a film based on a book about a real story, is an ultimately uplifting tale about a search for a lost dog that brings a family closer together. They also find unexpected support across communities. The father and son — played by Rob Lowe and Johnny Berchtold — demonstrate perseverance in pushing through physical exhaustion to search for the dog, but the son puts his own health in jeopardy as a result. Potentially frightening scenes include dogs getting seriously ill, killed by a car (not shown) and lost in the woods, and a man vomiting blood and passing out before being rushed to the hospital for surgery. College students drink beer at parties and in the morning at home. Language includes the likes of “a–,” “damn,” “suck,” “loser,” “frigging” and “oh my God.” (95 minutes)

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Common Sense Media helps families make smart media choices. Go to commonsense.org for age-based and educational ratings and reviews for movies, games, apps, TV shows, websites and books.


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