MOMMY-MOVIE-REVIEW: Is “The Martian” OK For My Kids?

The Martian stars Matt Damon as an astronaut who, through a series of unfortunate events, is left stranded on Mars. He has a limited amount of resources so he must use his wits and vast knowledge of science to survive. It doesn’t really sound like the makings of a best-selling book, much less a blockbuster movie, but that’s exactly what The Martian has become. It will also most likely be a contender once Oscar season kicks in and is already on the everyone’s short-list of Must See Movies. Even I gave it an A+ and called it an “instant classic,” but here’s the next question: Is The Martian okay for my kids? It IS rated PG-13 after all, so what will my children be shown while watching it, other than a man’s incredible struggle to survive?

I actually had this conversation with my daughters (ages 8 & 11) today because they are both DYING to see The Martian. There are 2 things working against parents like me though, who want to share this movie with their kids: The length and the language.

The Martian clocks in at 141 minutes, and that doesn’t include the multitude of trailers they’ll play before the movie even starts. It moves along pretty quickly but there are some points in the middle where it lags. Younger kids might get antsy and struggle with the science aspect. There is also LOADS of profanity. Astronaut Mark Watney is a brilliant Botanist, but he’s also wordsmith when it comes to F-bombs. A large portion of the humor in The Martian comes from his language skills, so to speak, but is it enough to keep your kids at home?

I’m planning to take my daughters to see The Martian anyhow, because it’s one of the best movies I’ve seen in years and I know they will love it. It also offers too many great messages to ignore, like how keeping a cool head under pressure and using your brain could actually save your life. Kids need to hear inspiring messages like that, even if they have to come bottled with some dirty words.

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  1. Thanks for the post. I also have a 8-years daughter and I’m plaaning to go see it with her. I just read the book and I was worried by the length and by the language of the movie. My daughter is a tough reader but she can’t afford the book, which has a plain and simple prose but has very lengthy and complicated tech explanations which are 50% of the book interest.

    1. They simplify the science greatly in the movie, so even people who are “science-smart” (like me) will appreciate it. Tell me what she thinks of it if you go!

  2. It would be great to know how old your girls are/what age you’re thinking this movie would be ok for since this is the primary advice being giving in the review. I tried searching your site a bit, and I see you referring to taking your girls to other PG-13 movies, but there is no actual age suggestion. Better yet, how about saying whether a kid who’s seen some other movies would be ok with this: “If your elementary-aged child has enjoyed the Harry Potter series, Goonies, Jurassic Park, etc… then they’ll probably enjoy this PG-13 movie as well.”

    1. Will do. Thanks for the advice! I haven’t taken my kids to “The Martian” yet, just because we haven’t had time. It’s funny though because NOW they’re Dad is reading the book & balking at taking them BECAUSE of all the language. We’ll see who wins this fight! Thanks again!

  3. Awesome, thanks for adding their ages into the article! Also, you can’t judge a movie by the book – they are often so different, especially if they were shooting for a somewhat cleaner, PG-13 version. The story line of this one would interest so many younger kids, too. Gook luck with that one, though:).

  4. Thanks for the review..you answered the questions I had about taking my almost 10 year old girl, who has been begging me to see it and is a science nut.

    I asked her why she wanted to see it and she said.. “it’s a movie about a guy who gets stranded on mars and grows potatoes.. who wouldn’t want to see it? ” Can’t argue with that.

    I’d prefer no f bombs in movies she sees, but between her mom’s love of that word, and my heavy need of it while driving, she may not even notice them 😉

    1. Hi Todd! When I took my daughters (11 & 8) to see it, they were more disturbed by some self-surgery he has to perform early on and by the tension of the last 30 minutes. They were so swept up in the movie that the language ended up not really being a thing. I DID have to tell my older girl how it ended during that last stressful act because she was freaking out. They both loved it though & I’m so glad we went. Let me know what your daughter thinks of it and GOD BLESS THE LITTLE GIRLS WHO LIKE SCIENCE!!!

  5. Hi, quick question for those who have seen it. I know the review here says “loads” of profanity, but the other parent reviews I’ve seen say he drops the f-bomb twice. So, is it more the s_ _ _ word or less offensive stuff (like c _ _ p or something? ). Can anyone shed some light on this topic? 🙂 TIA!

    1. I didn’t count how many f-bombs there were and I imagine “loads” of profanity is subjective. We are just now starting to allow our kids (8 & 11) to watch PG-13 movies so profanity still REALLY stands out to me. It honestly seemed like “loads” to me, but it might not to other people. If you can’t decide, I would suggest seeing the movie w/out kids first. “The Martian” is certainly good enough to be seen twice!

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