How to screen your kids’ movies

My sister-in-law, a teacher, told me recently about the day she discovered to her horror that many of the 6-year-olds in her first-grade class had seen the movie “Saw.” 

Assuming for the sake of argument that none of us gathered here would do anything like that intentionally to our kids, here are three sites to ensure that you’re not inadvertently dragging your little ones to movies filled with gore,  sex, or violence. 

Nell Minow, the Movie Mom, rates movies at Beliefnet and recommends an age range for whom the movie is appropriate.   Down to earth, common-sense reviews. offers an exhaustive, detailed analysis of old and new movies (how many swear words, descriptions of each violent or sexual scene, etc). You can subscribe to get this data for brand-new movies; movies older than one week are available free at the site. If you don’t want to subscribe, click “no thanks” at the bottom of the home page to get to the movie database.

Sister Rose Pacatte, FSP director of the Pauline Center for Media Studies in Culver City, California, has a wonderful blog on movies.  We’ve interviewed her here at our offices and I can say I’ve never met a funnier, livelier source on media literacy and finding themes of our faith in movies and on TV.  She even has a whole list of movies with themes mirroring the seven sacraments and conducts a National Film Retreat each year.