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The Bear Review

For Families provided by Common Sense Media

OK for kids 10+

Live-action animal saga is incredible -- and a bit scary.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this nature drama depicts realistic animal violence: a bear kills and eats deer for food, kills horses in act of revenge, and a cougar bloodies a bear cub. Human hunters shoot bear. Bear sex is shown -- indistinctly, from a distance -- but no question what is going on. Ditto for bears pooping in the woods. Weird sequence has an innocent bear cub eating hallucination-inducing mushrooms.

  • Families can talk about the relationships between people and animals. Hunters in the movie seem to have much less compassion than the animals do. What do kids think about hunting? Animals hunt other animals regularly -- is that different than humans hunting animals?
  • How is this animal movie different from others? What is the appeal of talking animals? Is it cruel to force animals to work in the movie industry?
  • Talk about the violence in this movie. Were the scenes of animals fighting scarier than the scenes of humans hunting? Did you feel afraid for the baby bear?

The good stuff
  • message true4

    Messages: Celebrates life, nature. Pan-species eco-lesson is spelled out in the closing quotation from author James Oliver Curwood, that sparing a life -- animal or human -- is nobler than killing.

  • rolemodels true2

    Role models: Though humans start out to be animals' antagonists, by the end one -- maybe both -- of them learn to exhibit kindness towards the bears they have been trying to kill.

What to watch for
  • violence false3

    Violence: Animal blood is spilled as bears fight a cougar and hunting dogs -- leaving one dog badly wounded and later shot by its human master to put it out of its misery. Bloody spatter as a hunter shoots and wounds the grizzly. A rockslide is fatal to a mama bear. Victims of bear attacks include deer and slain and bloody horses.

  • sex false1

    Sex: Bear sex is briefly depicted (watched uncomprehendingly by the innocent cub).

  • language false0

    Language: Not an issue

  • consumerism false0

    Consumerism: Not an issue

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false2

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: One kooky scene in which a bear intoxicated on wild mushrooms has weird dreams. Humans smoke pipes.