Parental Guidance

Parental Guidance: Salinger, Stories We Tell and From Up on Poppy Hill

We give you what you need to know about the family-friendliness of this week's new releases.

by | September 5, 2013 | Comments

In Theaters This Week:



Rating: PG-13, for disturbing war images, thematic elements and smoking.

J.D. Salinger, who famously went into hiding in the New Hampshire woods after the smash success of his 1951 debut novel, The Catcher in the Rye, is the subject of this exhaustive documentary. Director Shane Salerno spent nine years working on the film, which feels like an overstuffed, overlong mish-mosh of all his research and interviews. If your kid hasn’t already read the novel in 10th-grade English class, that rite of passage surely is coming, making Salinger a useful educational exercise. All that’s disturbing here — and it is indeed disturbing — is the use of archival photographs of the World War II combat and concentration camps that so deeply moved Salinger as a man and a writer.

New On DVD:

Stories We Tell


Rating: PG-13, for thematic elements involving sexuality, brief strong language and smoking.

Canadian actress-turned-filmmaker Sarah Polley turns her lens on her own family for this documentary in which she explores truth, identity and the fleeting nature of memory. Through a dryly amusing mix of interviews, narration, archival footage and seamless reenactments, Polley examines her family’s past to reveal who they — and she — have become today. She offers some revelations that are mature in nature involving infidelity and pregnancy, but nothing that would be inappropriate for older tweens and teens. Cleverly structured and constantly surprising, it’s one of the absolute best films of the year.

From Up on Poppy Hill


Rating: PG, for mild thematic elements and some incidental smoking images.

One of the kinder, gentler offerings from Studio Ghibli, which brought us Hayao Miyazaki’s animated classics including Spirited Away and Howl’s Moving Castle. Goro Miyazaki, his son, directs this superbly drawn if slightly dull tale set in early-1960s Japan as the country prepares to host the Summer Olympics while still reeling from the effects of World War II. Two schoolmates (voiced by Sarah Bolger and Anton Yelchin) join a group that’s fighting to save a clubhouse and find that there might be even more than binds them. There are brief discussions of war and death, but otherwise the colorful visuals and youthful energy make this suitable for all ages.

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