What Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Cheaper by the Dozen, which is set in the 1920s and based on a true story, offers a rosy look at parenting a very large family, but surprises at the end when one of the principal characters dies (off camera). The death is unexpected and significantly changes the upbeat, life-affirming tone of rest of the movie. Other than its sad ending and a scene in which a representative from Planned Parenthood is made the butt of jokes about birth control and large families, it's a sweet, but thin, depiction of the values, activities, and customs of a time gone by.
- Families can talk about the changes in family life and relationships over nearly a century. How are families still the same or different? Which changes do you see as positive? Negative?
- How does the relationship between Mr. and Mrs. Gilbreth foreshadow the "co-parenting" that exists in many homes today?
- Ann's rebellion seems tame compared to kids who want to be independent today. Do the stakes seem higher now? What are some positive ways a teen can show a parent that he or she is ready for more freedom?