The Pitch

Boy meets alien. An enduring family classic.

Age Recommendations

Watch With the Kids: 7+ Common Sense Media: 7+

Content Advisories

Rated PG for language and mild thematic elements. Minor language from the mouths of children (including “s—t,” “damn,” “son of a bitch,” “penis breath”). Nothing worse than your kids might overhear at the mall. The government takeover of the house is pretty scary. The kids face sickness, death, and tearful goodbyes.

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05.13.13

Even better than you remember

What makes E.T. so rewatchable for a parent, 30 years later, is Spielberg’s mystifying gift for layering stellar pop entertainment over the top of arresting depth. You might sniff out a meditation on the importance of social bravery, an elaborate fantasy constructed in the name of coping with the hurt of a broken home, or just an overblown metaphor for finding and returning a stray dog, but the kids are bound to be riveted by E.T.’s taste for Reese’s Pieces and cheap beer, willingness to roll with Gertie’s dress-up games, and deft talent for flying bikes across the moon. The film is not without heavy elements that most certainly will not be lost on the kids—in particular, the culmination of a sinister presence in an invasion of Elliott’s home is shot (to Spielberg’s credit) in a truly terrifying manner, and our heroes experience a descent into grave illness that is both frightening and sad. But aside from that E.T. is a perfectly enthralling adventure for a child, through the eyes of a child. —Shane Cyr

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