Good Son, The
Entertainment: +2
Acceptability: -2

Mark (Elijah Wood) needs a friend very badly. His mother has just died and his father has to go to Japan for two weeks. His aunt and uncle welcome Mark into their lovely home on the coast of Maine. They have a son, Henry (Macaulay Culkin) just Mark's age and a little girl. Their two-year-old accidentally drowned in the bathtub, so they understand the loss Mark feels. Mark's first day with his cousin is spent exploring the woods near Henry's home and becoming friends. Soon, however, Henry's dark side begins to take over. Every day Mark sees Henry's cruelty increasing. He tells Mark he intends to get rid of his little sister. When Mark tries to tell his aunt the danger her daughter is in, she accuses Mark of lying. In a climactic scene both boys are shown dangling from a cliff with rocks below. The mother must choose which boy to save. With a very predictable and tired plot of good versus evil, THE GOOD SON's beautiful setting and suspense make it fair viewing.

What makes Henry evil? He has a loving family who thinks he is a perfect son. Yet, Henry cannot bear to see his mother spending time with his younger sister or Mark. All of the violence is perpetrated by this 12-year-old "angel." He deliberately kills a dog, terrorizes his sister and tries to kill her. Henry also delights in setting Mark up to participate in cruel pranks. They enter an old warehouse and break all the windows. Life-size dummies are thrown off an overpass onto a busy freeway causing a multi-car wreck. This evil behavior is the basis for the plot, so is not gratuitous. However, there are no explanations for Henry's dastardly deeds or solutions offered. These scenes will frighten young children. On her deathbed, Mark's mother tells him she will always be with him, even though her body is dying. He begins to believe that his aunt is really his mother, fulfilling her promise to be there for him. The one obscenity comes from Henry, but there is no sex, nudity or sexually suggestive material in GOOD SON. At a time when violence among children is increasing, a story about a murderous child is in pretty poor taste.

Preview Reviewer: Mary Draughon
Distributor: 20th Century Fox, 10201 W. Pico Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90035

Crude Language: Few (2) times - Mild 1, Moderate 1
Obscene Language: Once (f-word)
Profanity: Few (3) times - Regular 1, Exclamatory 2
Violence: Many times - Moderate and severe (12 year old kills dog off-screen, attempts to kill family members by drowning and pushing off cliff; fighting, threats; aunt slaps nephew; property damage)
Sexual Intercourse: None
Nudity: None
Homosexual Conduct: None
Sexually Suggestive Action/Dialog: None
Drug Abuse: None but boys smoke cigarettes
Other: None
Running Time:
Intended Audience:

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