Watching Violent, R-Rated Movies: How Young Is Too Young?
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Watching Violent, R-Rated Movies: How Young Is Too Young?

By Agent Bedhead | Think Pieces | January 23, 2013 | Comments ()


At the time, I never imagined that the act of taking my 12-year-old daughter to watch Django Unchained on New Year's Day would be the subject of a future column, but I need to vent a little bit, and this seemed like a decent opportunity to possibly organize my own feelings on the subject. Also, please remember that Steven Lloyd Wilson's original review and Cindy Davis' discussion on the power of "that" word are both undoubtedly more well-rounded takes on the movie than I will provide here.

First a bit of background: I grew up with some relatively open-minded parents in terms of cinema. My mother worked 60+ hours per week, and my dad was (and still is) a teacher who also taught summer school, so I was basically a latchkey kid; and my summertime babysitter was pretty much cable television and, more specifically, HBO and Cinemax during their 1980s, movie-showing heyday. That means that I collectively watched Commando, Terminator, and the Death Wish movies more times than my young mind would have ever been able to count. As a result, I developed a rather unrefined taste for watching vengeance enacted onscreen, and this influence has followed me throughout my adult, movie-watching life. Now while my taste in film is somewhat questionable, I do believe that I grew up to be a law-abiding and (relatively) sane individual. So sure, I have no problem in taking my pre-teen to an R-rated movie that I'd already watched beforehand. Also, I refuse to shield her from the basic inhumanities of life, and I do believe that Quentin Tarantino's (albeit warped) history of slavery qualifies as an excellent display of what went down on slavery plantations in the United States.

In other words, I did in fact take my relatively mature 12-year-old daughter to watch Django, and the ticket-booth employee didn't even bat an eye since my girl just happens to be 5'9" and at this point, just as tall as I am. Having already watched the movie, I knew in advance when I should cover her eyes (and to be perfectly truthful, I only did so in Jamie Foxx's upside-down scene). She enjoyed the movie quite a bit, but most importantly, she realized a lot about her own grandmother (not my mother, who is dead), who to this day insists that seeing "a black guy" walking down her street is reason to run inside, lock the doors, and shutter the windows. In that regard, my daughter learned a lot from Tarantino's movie, so it truly was an educational film, but she also laughed at all the "right" moments too.


My daughter is a very sensitive child, yet she realizes all too well that the world can be a very cruel place -- mostly because of the way that human beings treat each other in both an isolated and an ongoing sense. Do I worry that she'll pick up a certain vocabulary from watching R-rated movies? Not really. She (at least in front of me) is afraid to even spell out curse words. Now, she could be pulling a massive one over on gullible old mommy, because ... hell, I used to actually hang out at the smoke hole during high school when my father was a teacher at the same school. At the same time, I feel like I have enough experience pulling a fast one on an authority figure to recognize if my own kid is heading towards juvenile delinquency. Because while I've caught her in a few lies ("Sure, I've brushed my teeth already, Mom!"), she doesn't really have it in her to be a "bad" kid. She's very guilt-ridden and confesses even when she took a peek at the answer key in her summer algebra workbook. While I obviously won't be able to tell whether my parenting tactics have worked until she's an adult (and perhaps not even then), I feel fairly confident that my own parents did a decent enough job in raising a hellion like myself who turned out to be a (fairly) respectable citizen.

Sadly, not everyone agrees with me. A few friends simply couldn't believe that I'd expose a 12-year-old to such onscreen violence, and my daughter's father grew really upset that I let her watch Django Unchained because it wasn't "historical enough." He is one of those types who is very literal about history and feels that Tarantino should have only put this movie into a theater if it was a History Channel-level documentary. Similarly, he also hated the fact that I let her watch Inglourious Basterds because (and I swear that I am not making this up, despite YouTube joke comments to the contrary) "Hitler didn't really die in a movie theater." For what it's worth, the dude also hated X-Men: First Class because it fucked with the comic's continuity too much. Enough said.

Some of you are undoubtedly wondering why I care about the people who have expressed disbelief that I've let my daughter watch such a gloriously violent film in the theater. I feel that I made the right decision for my kid, who is mature enough to know the difference between reality and fantasy. In no way am I saying that Django Unchained should be viewed by all 12-year-old children. Nor do I think that the parents of a recent group of children who ended up inadvertently watching the Django trailer before a Disney movie were complaining about nothing. But to my 12-year-old, Django was truly a positive experience. Would you take your pre-teen to watch this movie, or am I just the asshole?

Agent Bedhead lives in Tulsa, Oklahoma. She and her little black heart can be found at Celebitchy.

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Comments Are Welcome, Bigots and Trolls Are Not

  • Buck Forty

    You posted this for validation, knowing you would find it here on Pajiba. If you were really that confident in your decision you would post under your real name; so that we could report you to Child Services for child endangerment. You are a bad parent. You should be vilified on Fox News for several news cycles. Stop hiding, give us your name, GIVE US YOUR NAME!!

  • Amanda!

    I feel like I grew up in the same demographic as the author. As a kid, I watched a LOT of the classic (and not-so classic) 80's and 90's action movies and horror movies, more often than not with my Dad. Oddly enough? I was completely unphased by a lot of the action movie and horror movie violence, but that scene from Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (PG13) where the guy gets his heart ripped out scared the crap out of me. I was also playing the original Mortal Kombat as a small child. I agree that it has so much to do with personality and other factors. These types of entertainment were a subject of discussion, and my parents definitely examined the content. If they found something that concerned them, we discussed it, and if I could prove the maturity to handle the reality of it I went on with it, etc etc, and it just so happened to work out for me. I grew up to be a well educated, law abiding, upstanding member of the community who happens to enjoy hyper violent entertainment. Of course, it's not for everyone.

  • Devin E.

    I got my mom to take me to the theater when I was 10 and got to go see Pulp Fiction by myself (back in the days when your parents could buy you a ticket and they didn't have people ID'ing at doors).

    I'd already seen R-Rated movies before but that was the first "legit" one (i.e. not an over-the-top action or horror movie); didn't have a clue what was going on with some of the stuff (the Gimp, over-dosing on Heroin, etc.) but I loved to read as a kid so the conversations and witty dialogue didn't fly over my head and I was fascinated by Tarintino's style of film-making.

    Probably not advisable for most (I definitely wouldn't let a 10-year old see Django), but I think we all mature at different ages. I was reading Stephen King/John Grisham before then and staying up late to watch R-Rated movies on HBO, so I think it depends on the level of maturity and experience you have.

  • Kirbyjay

    Told my daughter when she was 14, "don't see The Exorcist". She slept with me for 4 nights.
    My other daughter saw The Watcher ( Keanu Reeves, James Spader) when she was about 15. It still creeps her out.

  • PuraPuma

    I can't comment from my laptop since Disqus won't work there so here I am doing it from my phone... I think this was well-written. My girl is 11 and is excited to grow up & see grown up movies. I try to decide what will benefit her & how she'll take certain scenes. I took her to see Les Mis & she handled everything in that fine. I was a little worried but I knew she'd enjoy the film over all. Also I was restricted to the nth degree when growing up. I remember seeing 16 Candles for the 1st time & my mom was in shock. The same for She's Having a Baby when I was like 19. There has to be a balance. And knowing your kids is the 1st step. I think 12 is an okay age for Django if they are mature & the parent has seen it. It would affect my daughter a lot - but - she has seen a lot of Roots in school so she's also not naive. This rambled more than I planned... Haha. I just don't want to be so over protective that my daughter is shocked by history or how things are for other cultures.

  • the dude

    as long as the child can handle it emotionally, they can watch anything

  • Trixie

    I don't think you're a bad parent. I remember my parents watching An Officer and A Gentleman on video when I was about 12 and then they let me watch it. They told me if I had questions to ask. It really is all about the maturity level of your child.
    I went to see Poltergeist when my Mom had told me no. Should've listened to her! To this day that movie scares the crap out of me! Stoopid clown doll!
    I will never forget seeing Purple Rain in the theater and seeing the father there with a young son, 10 at most. Every time there was a sex scene he would cover his son's eyes, yet he had no issue with his son watching the men in the movie beat the crap out of women. That bugged me more than any other example of parenting I've ever seen in a movie. Sex is bad, but violence towards women is ok?

  • duckandcover

    My mom and dad had constant disagreements about what my sister and I should and shouldn't watch. She hated that I wanted to watch The Simpsons and Married ... with Children, not to mention In Living Color, followed by South Park when it came out. My dad, on the other hand, let us watch Schwarzenegger, Bronson, and anything else that was a shoot-'em-up. My mom's opinions didn't last, although we're more apt to watch mutually enjoyable British shows and she always asks my opinion about movies that she could possibly take my dad to.

    I think I turned out pretty well and think that the only thing those movies influenced was my imagination and creativity. Parents who are aghast, simply aghast, at taking children to movies only have doubt in their own kids. However, these movies aren't for all kids, because some of those tykes are little assholes.

    I will also mention that my mom did have her kicks: she showed me The Exorcist when I was really young and watched horror movies with my sister while I insisted on sitting at the kitchen table with a coloring book.

  • Bedhead we have had our issues before, but this was a very well written well thought out expose and i am very proud of you as a parent. You did an awesome job. If my parents treated me like that when i was 12 when I was mature i might not have some of the issues i have today. SO bravo on the writing and double bravo on the parenting!

  • merandmalmom

    I don't think you're an asshole. I have 10 and 13 year old daughters and I'm a big Tarantino fan too. Kill Bill (1 & 2) rocks but I haven't let them watch them because I can't think about them seeing the almost rape scene. And it's an important part of the movie. They have seen Zombieland and The Matrix. And I think those are their only R movies. My parents didn't monitor what I watched and my grandparents had HBO. I saw shit that I still can't unsee. The Exorcist? Can't even think about it. You know your kid. I don't want them to unnecessarily exposed to something that might scar them. (I'm really scarred by The Exorcist.) I will say that Tarantino always gives the viewer a lot to think about/talk about after his movies, which is also a great way to discuss things with your kids.

  • Amanda

    I really haven't ever like Tarantino movies, they are often too cool or derivative to interest me. I don't like violent movies as a rule, although I rank Goodfellas as one of my favorites. That being said, my 17 year old saw Django and loved it. She hates creepy, scary movies. I was pretty strident about what I let them watch. When all her friends were watching Titanic, I said no. It wasn't the sex, I knew she would freak about all the dead bodies in the water. Hell I grew up with brothers, my Mom refused to let them watch the 3 Stooges because she feared they would try it at home. It depends on the kid and the circumstance my 14 year old still talks about the noise Javier's body made. Nothing about the sex or violence in Les Mis, just that. SO whatever.

  • Sarah

    How could parents know that shielding their child from media violence wouldn't have repercussions of its own? Take something like drinking. We're uptight about it in America, and teenagers abuse it. In Europe, there's a younger legal drinking age and parents expose their children to alcohol earlier, and as a result, those children are more responsible drinkers. I don't know if our puritanical standards are really doing us any favors. Suggestions that violent media INCITE violent actions are completely unfounded and ridiculous. Tarantino was horrified that he had to defend MOVIE violence to reporters in the wake of the Newtown tragedy. If I was a parent and I deemed my kids emotionally mature enough, I would show them Pulp Fiction and Kill Bill, which I saw myself before I was a teenager.

  • Lindsay

    Studies have found that isn't true. Kids that grow up with parents that allow them to drink are more likely to become binge drinkers in college and alcoholics. Genetics is a major factor in alcoholism but age of exposure matters too.

  • duckandcover

    I wouldn't make a blanket generalization about Europe's drinking. There are loads of issues with their drinking, including spousal abuse, etc., just like there is here in America.

  • superasente

    First time I saw A Clockwork Orange I was eight years old. The Who's "Tommy" was one of my favorite childhood movies. My parents exerted very little editorial control, and in fact my father used to sit us down to watch these films because they were some of his favorites. Remember "Dreamscape" with Dennis Quaid and David Patrick Kelly (of "Warriors" fame)? I have vivid memories of watching that over and over in my living room, and it was released in 1984 (I was five). The end of the movie has a dude's head split open as he's murdered.

    Shit. Um, spoiler?

    Anyway, I don't think it presents any danger to children at all. Kids are more malleable and adaptable than many people ever give them credit for, and know the difference between cartoon/movie violence and real violence. If you give your children a loving home, they can be exposed to just about anything and turn out okay (with the exception of Velociraptors).

  • sean

    It depends on the kid. As a kid, my dad and I watched every horror movie that aired on TV. He would wake me up on weekends to watch the late night horror shows. He started taking me to movies that kids my age usually don't attend. I was 10 when Alien came out. One of my most cherished movie memories. That said, my dad didn't take my twin sister to those same movies.She is different that I am . That said, I often see parents bringing very young children to wildly inappropriate films. For example, 4-5 yr olds at Texas Chainsaw 3d. I think smarter parents know what kids can handle. But there are an awful lot of stupid parents too.

  • Zuffle

    I think it's fine, taken on a film-by-film basis. I was exposed to Evil Dead when I was four by a friend of my sister, and that was just plain wrong. But I remember watching The Omen at about eight at a friend's sleepover, and The Shining disturbed the shit out of me at about ten. I saw Robocop and Die Hard when they were released on video, and would have been about your daughter's age then. I'm still relatively sane. But some of the twelve-year-olds I teach were disturbed by The Nightmare Before Christmas when I showed it to them at Hallowe'en, so it's horses for courses, really. Count yourself lucky your daughter hasn't been raised on eggshells and can rationalise what she sees for herself.

  • Zuffle

    As a side-note, my best friend fainted during Die Hard, at the kneecapping scene. We watched it again the next day.

  • Yossarian

    You guys realize that 12-year-olds have the internet now, right? And even if you don't give them unfiltered access they almost certainly go to school and hang out with kids who do. There is pretty much nothing in an R-rated movie that the average 12-year-old is completely innocent of. Especially N-words and exaggerated blood squibs.

    Actually, I'll concede that there were a couple scenes in that film, two in particular, that were pretty intense. But the fact is this question comes down to two things: the kid in question, and the parent. If Bedhead is the kind of parent that puts this much thought into it, and also the kind of parent to sit down and _watch the movie with that kid_ I think we can conclude that the decision was well made.

    Because What is much more important than 'should we/ shouldn't we let an adolescent see a movie like this? is Can you provide your kid with context for what they are seeing? Can you discuss violence and vengeance, racism and intolerance, history and anachronism, exploitation cinema and the exploitation of human beings in such a way that you are bonding with your kid and communicating something about your values and your view of the world. Because those things are so critically important that I don't really care what the setting or subject matter you bond over is. If you are doing those things you are doing good.

    (I also think that if you can do those things *and* raise a tween who has an appreciation for cinema and can discuss stylistic themes in Tarantino movies at the same time? Well, that's mom of the year level parenting in my book)

  • e jerry powell

    Hon, yo babydaddy sounds like a real party.

  • Kballs


    Just kidding. It's awesome that you know your daughter so well and have been rewarded with a validated prediction of her mature reaction to certain entertainment content. Excellent motherating, Agent!

  • ZombieMrsSmith

    My 11 year old daughter has a strange affinity for walking into the TV room any time someone starts cussing or fecking. It's pretty remarkable actually and Mr Smith and I laugh about it quite often, since we can just be flipping through channels and will inevitably catch the f-word as she walks into the room. We joke with her about how often couples in movies need to do laundry, which is of course, the only reason they are getting undressed...

    She's pretty chill about it, and if she's watching something with us—say Tinker Tailor, Soldier, Spy and it gets to the one nude scene, she just politely covers her head with a blanket or pillow. Self-policing that one. Miss Smith has an older brother, so of course she's heard a lot from him already and knows when to walk away from something she finds bothersome.

    Smith, Jr is 14 and I had to laugh a little when I took him to see Prometheus and he was totally cool through the entire movie, except for the part where Noomi Rapace operates on herself and that completely freaked him out. Go figure...

    I would say the most important point in this piece is to know your own kid(s). It's also not a bad idea to discuss things before going to a movie (or seeing something on TV) so a kid is informed about why they are being given a chance to see something and to clarify that while violence or bad language or sex scenes might be a part of the experience, that's not entire the point (hopefully) of the film.

  • I too grew up watching just about anything I wanted. The only movie I distinctly remember my parents forbidding me from watching was Glengarry Glen Ross (though I'm not sure why that one in particular was a sticking point). I was the weird kid who, on family trips to the video store, would stand around in the horror section staring at the lurid covers, daydreaming about what those images represented. And eventually, when I was old enough to rent my own movies, I regularly rented horror, or watched it on cable. My mom would even watch them with me sometimes, though she hated horror movies. I'm in no (significant) way warped, and I think in some ways it fostered my intellectual curiosity. I think allowing your kids to view things that are sometimes graphic or unpleasant can, in some ways, prepare them for adulthood and make them more well-rounded individuals.

  • L.O.V.E.

    When it comes to these types of issues, I tend to give great deference to parents. And hypocrite alert, I was selling porn to classmates at that age. However, as a general matter I do not support parents taking their children to these movies.

    One, what is the rush?

    Two, what is the upside of taking a child to such a (fictional) movie at this stage in their adolescence? What is the best case scenario versus worst for taking a child to such a movie at 12?

    Three, if I can't avoid children at a Tarantino movie then what movie can I avoid them at?

  • zeke_the_pig

    Selling porn at 12 huh... Adding it to my L.O.V.E. shrine. Also what was your porn source?

  • L.O.V.E.

    I lived in a port city. When I was that age during Summer break I would go down to the docks where there were fishing and shipping vessels. My father worked in that industry so I was around boats and docks growing up. Many of the crew members of boats that would just come into port for repairs were from different countries (mostly Central and South American, some Polynesian or Asian) and not all had the paperwork that allowed them to leave the vessel (or they were still waiting for it). So my Summer job would be to act as a "runner" going to the market on my bike to get them stuff like smokes or mags or soda. Or do odd jobs for them. They would turn a blind eye when I took their old porn mags and vhs tapes. Once back to school I would sell them to classmates. Went to a Catholic school by the way.

  • zeke_the_pig

    Port city, docks, international vessels... Basically your actualy childhood was the childhood I lived in my head. Plus you must've turned a tidy profit.

  • L.O.V.E.

    By the way, don't feel bad. I just checked out your facebook page. Besides being younger, stronger and better looking, you are now living the life I promised a friend I would be living as an adult. Of course, that promise was made while drinking cuba libres in a Tijuana brothel at 17 and discussing whether Faulkner or Hemingway was a better short story writer, (wild card! I went "neither; Dostoevsky, mother F'r"). And our misunderstanding of the surrealism movement along with our self-delusion, wherein we declared each other "geniuses" and announced the rise of the proletariat, was "adorable" at best.

    Also, though I lost track of him over the years (that story is for another time), I am pretty sure he did not become a Zapatista after all, but I digress.

  • zeke_the_pig

    Can you just straight up serialise this story for me please. I'd pay.

  • L.O.V.E.

    It was like a lesson in free-market economics and sexual education all in one.

    But nothing was cooler than being in the pilothouse or crow's nest of these huge ships (and nothing worse than the smell of a cannery with fish guts everywhere). All these guys from different countries had nicknames and tatoos and stories about the different ladies they had at each port. You knew you were in when they gave you a name. Wouldn't trade that childhood for anything in the world.

  • Sara_Tonin00

    I think the upside is starting a conversation about controversial subject matter. That's not the case for all R rated movies though.

  • L.O.V.E.

    Understood, but if we are talking about important subject matter such as slavery or other social issues there are more appropriate, profound and adept movies addressing such subject matter then what you will find in this type of movie.

    And when it is age appropriate to discuss controversial subject matter, perhaps it makes more sense to watch such a movie at home. You can more easily notice how the child is feeling about what she is seeing, you can pause the movie to discuss particular parts of the movie or to just "take a break", stop the movie all together, or skip over some of the rougher stuff.

    I just think sometimes the line between parent and friend gets a little blurred. And sure, there is an argument that its better to be present with the child seeing the movie than having the child just sneak in without your knowledge. But the difference between the two is that by taking them to such a movie they will naturally infer that they are "adult" and can live among the adults in an adult world doing adult things. The next logical step for them is that they do not need you around to live amongst that world.

    Anyway, off the soap box. good night.

  • KatSings

    I don't have kids. And I will admit, I am that person who sees a child in some movie theaters and goes "WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU" in my head. Never aloud - my opinion is my own, and not at all necessary to the people making those choices. I only voice my disapproval when tiny children (5 and under) are at adult movies they can't handle, not just from a "traumatic content" perspective, but an attention span one. I should be able to attend a rated R movie without your toddler running around or baby wailing - they don't belong there.

    That said, I think you make a very valid point. The right age for a kid to see certain things is completely individual, and if the parents pay attention and really know what their kid's limitations are (like you very obviously do), then I think you are making informed decisions that are right for you both. I hated horror movies as a kid (got into that trend near college...maybe in college?). A friend decided to have a birthday party to see I Still Know What You Did Last Summer, and I didn't want to miss out, but I was scared by that stuff. So my mom, who HATES horror, watched BOTH movies so that she could tell me everything to be prepared for. That kind of parenting is awesome - and that's what you are doing. Without subjecting yourself to a movie franchise that terrible, lol.

  • Slim

    This. I know this really isn't the conversation, but this makes me crazy in the head. Little, little kids in R rated movies because their parents will not get a babysitter (I guess). I'm paying a sitter to watch my toddler so I can go see Looper, but another couple brings their 4 yr old and I watch him watch the scenes that I'm having trouble clearing from my brain. This... this is irresponsible parenting.

  • Sara_Tonin00

    Opening night, 10:30pm showing of the South Park movie waayyy back in time, and multiple people had 3-5 year olds with them.

  • Wednesday

    My kid routinely saw R-rated movies from the time she was in grade school. Especially if the R rating was for sex rather than violence. I really didn't care if my kid saw breasts. It wasn't that big a deal to me.

    She was also allowed to watch movies where the violence was obviously surreal and cartoonish. She adored crappy shark movies from a very early age (when she informed me at age 7 she was going to grow up to be a shark-eologist). Most of them were R-rated for language, gore, and boobs.

    Where I drew the line was thematic violence and storylines that were going to be too complex for her to grasp. So for example, no Reservoir Dogs. No The Accused. I took it on a case-by-case basis rather than counting on the MPAA ratings.

    And you know what? The only movie she ever regretted seeing too young was Jurassic Park, because the kids being chased by dinosaurs scared the shit out of her for a long time. I would not have let her watch was my ex who didn't think that one through.

  • Rochelle

    Ha! My mother and I went to see Jurassic Park when I was in college. As an involuntary reflex she stuck her hand in my face to block the scary scenes. Which I thought was hilarious because my parents took me to see Aguirre, Wrath of God, and all kinds of European and Japanese movies with sex and violence all through my childhood.

  • Sara_Tonin00

    I get that seeing breasts isn't a big deal, but I do think seeing a lot of films where the women end up topless/nude could plant it's-ok-to-exploit ideas in a developing mind. Unless of course these are movies that also feature naked guys?

  • superasente

    Not challenging your comment, just wondering: do you see a difference between topless men in movies and topless women?

  • Sara_Tonin00

    Yes. I also see a difference between topless men and women in public. :) I'd like to be able to say no, but I think the basic perceptions of a topless man vs. a topless woman are completely different.

  • mats19

    I grew up in the same kind of household where nudity and ridiculous violence (spent more time watching shlocky horror films with my dad then can be counted) but Jurassic Park scared the crap out of me as well at an early age...nightmares for weeks about T-Rex's eating me alive.

  • Zirza

    I was entirely unimpressed by scary movies at that age, but Jurassic Park...Nightmares.

  • Zirza

    When I was seven, we went over to the neighbours' house. We got bored afger a while and my parents allowed me and my brother, aged six, to go home and watch TV. We checked the TV guide and saw a film listed that my mother had repeatedly said she'd liked, s we decided to watch it.

    That movie was Silence of the Lambs.

    My brother went to bed after the part with the head in the jar, but I stayed up and watched all of it. When my mother got home she freaked out a little, but I was entirely unimpressed. I didn't actually understand exactly what was going on until I watched it again in my mid-teens.

    My dad also made (not let, made) me watch IT when I was six. I didn't find it quite as hilarious as I do now but otherwise but I have yet to turn into a coulrophobe.

    By comparison, I saw Jurassic Park when I was nine, AFTER my parents had vetted it, and the part with the dinosaur with the venom-spewing in the car...I was a nervous wreck for weeks.

  • melissa82

    Yeah, IT was on tv when I was 8 and my little sister was 7...we watched it with my parents until Ol' Pennywise showed up in the storm drain. I calmly listened to him, wanting a balloon too. Then the teeth came out and I sis was cool with it though.
    She still leaves pictures of clowns on my bed when we're both in town visiting my parents.

  • Finn

    Christ. Typing is hard. "YOUR logic is compelling"

  • Mrs. Julien

    Log in and you can edit, but it's a double-edged sword.

  • Finn

    You're logic is compelling, and I'm not really a fair judge since my kid is still in diapers.....but even as an adult there are scenes from movies that I wish I could un-see ("The Cell" anyone?!) Regardless of the historical or cultural relevance, there are some places our minds just wouldn't go on their own. As adults we can take on that responsibility but does a child need to try and integrate it into their reality......probably not. Then again, ask me in 10 years.

  • Bert_McGurt

    That's very true, but I think a key point above is that Agent Bedhead HAD already seen Django and would have been aware of any such scenes.

  • Finn

    Agreed. However, one can never really anticipate what someone will find disturbing or at what level. When I was 12 and my sister was 10 she was desperate to see "The Shining". My mother finally gave in and rented it for her. I sat through 20minutes and have never been the same since, whereas my sister was unfazed. Maybe I'm just a wimp....

  • e jerry powell

    True. As a tween, I can remember finding Jabberwocky disturbing, and it was a hard PG that I saw (on a matinee double bill with Monty Python and the Holy Grail) with a group of unsupervised neighborhood kids. We had very "enlightened" mothers in my neighborhood. Mostly they just wanted us out of their hair for several hours.

  • dizzylucy

    Given that you watched the movie before, and then made an INFORMED decision about what you thought your mature kid could handle, I don't see an issue with it.

    I'm more bothered by parents who don't bother to know what their kids are watching, or where they are and who they're with.

  • pumpkin

    Excellent comment all around.

  • Bert_McGurt

    Maybe I'm speaking out of turn since I don't actually, you know, HAVE any children - but I suspect that this recognition of (and confidence in) your daughter's maturity will help your relationship in her teen years. It shows that you acknowledge and trust that she's an intelligent, thinking person who, while not an adult yet, is certainly just as far from being a naive child who rigidly needs to be told what to do and who'll be scarred for a lifetime as a result of watching a movie.

    In a basic sense, it sounds like you respect and are doing your absolute best to understand her, and she probably notices that. Which means she'll be more likely to actually TALK to you about her problems since you've demonstrated that you're a reasonable mom that CAN and is WILLING to discuss difficult topics with her.

    It may not be OK for ALL 12-year-olds, but you're pretty far from an a**hole in my book.

  • pumpkin

    I have an almost 9.5 year old daughter. She watches very few PG movies, let alone R ones. I know she has friends and classmates whose parents have already decided 9/10 is old enough for ultra violence and simulated sex on the screen. It's clear we've entered the age where "old enough" is more much subjective than ever before. Lucky for me, my daughter is very sensitive and scares easily and doesn't want to watch those kinds of movies. I say lucky because I personally don't think it's so healthy for a 9 or 10 year old to view that kind of stuff.

    Twelve is a different story. You know your child and what she can handle. And if you prepare her ahead of time and make yourself available afterwards to discuss what she's seen (and she feels comfortable doing so), it seems ok to me.

    And this is coming from someone who is super, super careful about what my kids (9 and 6 years old) watch and read and listen to.

  • maggieblue

    I have a 12 year-old daughter, and a 9 year-old son. I let them watch and do things that people have issues with. I agree with what you said about not letting just any 12 year-old to see Django Unchained. YOU know your kid, and what they can and can't handle. Your daughter sounds very similar to both of my children, in regards to being "good kids", and not having it in them to be "bad". So. Do what you do.

  • damnitjanet

    My children were allowed to watch damn near anything on cable growing up, with the exception of Six Feet Under and Deadwood. They watched R-rated movies, almost always with me. None of them have turned into serial killers...yet, even though they inherited Mom's taste for colorful language. I would have absolutely taken them at 12, if they wanted to go see it, after having a discussion about what they could expect to see. No precious snowflakes in my house.

  • e jerry powell

    Six Feet Under?

  • damnitjanet

    Same as Deadwood with lots and lots o' nekkidy sexytimes and language. (Plus, those shows were my ME time) Also, Santa biting the big one while on his motorcycle might have been a bit much.

  • Mrs. Julien

    I haven't seen Django, so I must ask if an any point Jamie Foxx asks, "Are you talkin' to me?" because the header photo would seem to suggest he does.

    Every day, perfectly good parents get massive judgement for their parenting choices, often from themselves. Parenting is like manners and spending habits in that no one else's behaviour ever really matches our own standards, and we almost always feel others are doing it "wrong".

  • Bert_McGurt

    I haven't seen it yet either and I was wondering how Robert Quarles got turned into Black Austin Powers.

  • Milly

    For the little it's worth I thought that Django was one of the tamer films that has been released and it didn't seem to revel in pain for pleasure's sake (like so much torture porn that appears to have been the mainstay of late night showings for the past decade) but used it as an exclamation, save for the vengeance/redemptive aspects.

    For a Tarantino film it was also more disturbing and shocking. Not in the modern way where shock means to be offended, but in the sense that the scenes of torture and death told me more about the sickness of man during slavery than anything in amistad, the color purple and, judging by the trailers alone, lincoln.

    This is the long way around saying that if I had a mature kid that I would feel comfortable taking them to this film as its educational - albeit only in a thematic rather than literal sense - and not exploitative, with the language being of its time and not to the extremes that the furore beforehand would have led me to believe.

  • e jerry powell

    I'll give you Amistad (1839) and Django (1858), but I'm going to call you out on American slavery in the 1930s (The Color Purple). They were poor(Ish) southern black farmers, but they were certainly not slaves. That Sofia was thrown in jail rather than whipped in public, or worse, shot on sight for hitting the mayor's wife is evidence enough of that.

    And they were black people who owned affordable, mass-produced motor vehicles, which wasn't really common until after WWI.

  • Milly

    My mistake. I was struggling to remember films and didn't want to resort to google searches. In hindsight, I really should have done.

  • e jerry powell

    It's okay. Happens to everyone once in a while.

  • FireLizardQueen

    I snuck in to watch The Candyman when I was 11 or 12 years old. Ended up scarred for life. I can barely watch horror movies now, and those I can watch can only be certain types (e.g., zombies) and during the daytime. It took me years to be able to stay home alone without being insanely paranoid.

    All that said, my dad used to let me watch plenty of violent action movies with him and I never had any problems with those. Some things will stick, others wont. It really depends on the kid. You obviously know your kid pretty well to know the difference. I only wish I could say the same about most parents.

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