We took the kids to see Hidden Figures yesterday. It’s the story of three African-American women, who worked as computers for NASA in the ’60s and were instrumental in helping America get ahead in the space race. Hidden Figures is inspiring and fun and smart and entertaining.
Over the weekend, we’d watched Apollo 13 with the kids, which is white-man-a-palooza. The only women in the film are jettisoned off to the sides, asked to sit around, twiddling their fingers, while their men try to land on the moon. Hidden Figures shows a different perspective on NASA in the 1960s. It wasn’t just white guys being heroes. It was women (and other men, sure) behind the scenes, crunching the numbers. It’s a great film, one that everyone should see. And thankfully everyone can, because it’s rated PG.
That got me thinking about PG movies and how there aren’t many of them these days. We took the kids to see The Walk (the film about Phillippe Petit, who walked on a wire between the Twin Towers), which was, YAY, PG and was an amazing film to show our kids, who were born long after 9/11.
Not many people saw The Walk, even though it was rated PG (and quite good, honestly). I’m not sure why adults stayed away, but I’m pretty sure families just assumed this was not a movie for kids because there was nary a minion, pony, or turtle in sight. The marketing didn’t scream that this film about a guy trying to realize his dream was for kids.
I want more of these movies. 2016 gave us historical biographies like Hidden Figures and Queen of Katwe, which are a good start. But there are so many movies that get higher ratings for little to no reason. Eddie the Eagle (which should be a great movie for kids, and the perfect companion to Cool Runnings) got a PG-13 rating for one stupid, unnecessary scene, which thankfully went over my kids’ heads, because I hadn’t taken them there looking for a conversation about Hugh Jackman’s pelvic thrusts. If that scene had been shorter or cut entirely, it would’ve been PG. It would’ve been suitable for all ages. (OK, the smoking probably did Eddie the Eagle in, too, but smoking on screen is always a good opportunity for a “that shit’ll kill you” chat.)
Why do so many movies strive for the PG-13 when their subject matter shouts “everyone should see this?” I didn’t see Sully, but I can’t imagine why that story needs to be for kids over 13. Was Sully doing hard drugs? Was he sleeping with prostitutes? So what. Cut it. Get the PG rating.
We parents have to sit through so much garbage. For every Minions or Secret Life of Pets we’re subjected to, there should be a Hidden Figures showing in the next theater.
I wrote a book! It’s YA novel, THE SOUND OF US. You can find the details right here! Kirkus calls it “a winning story about a teenage voice student that hits all the right notes.”
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