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Phenomenon Review

Other Critics provided by

Critics scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.

  • 3.0

    out of 100

    Mixed or average reviews
    based on a weighted average of all
    critic review scores.

  • 42

    out of 100

    Entertainment Weekly

    Phenomenon (directed by Jon Turteltaub, the guy who sedated us with "While You Were Sleeping") would be pretty unbearable were Travolta not so consistently charming.

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  • 50

    out of 100

    ReelViews James Berardinelli

    Put simply, this movie is dumb.

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  • 63

    out of 100

    USA Today Susan Wloszczyna

    Phenomenon is a fantasy about super-intelligence that works best if you can switch off your brain. Those who can will reach weepy nirvana. Those who can't will find this sticky-sweet wallow a bit, well, dumb. [03 Jul 1996 Pg.01.D]

  • 75

    out of 100

    Chicago Sun-Times Roger Ebert

    It's about change, acceptance and love, and it rounds those three bases very nicely, even if it never quite gets to home.

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For Families provided by Common Sense Media

OK for kids 10+

Gentle tearjerker about sudden mental superpowers.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that there are a few scattered swear words in this generally gentle drama about a very average, nice American guy endowed with mental superpowers. Overall this movie is more a romantic tearjerker than the science-fiction action/mind-blower some fans -- restless kids especially -- might expect. There is an upsetting death of a main character (off screen).

  • Families can talk about whether having superior intellect can be a gift or a curse. What other examples do you see in the news or on your favorite TV shows of exceptionally smart people? Do you think the reactions of characters in this movie -- including fear, resentment, and near-religious mania -- are realistic? Do you think George is correct in wishing that sudden genius struck someone else, especially someone who wasn't blue collar?

The good stuff
  • message true3

    Messages: George argues the merits of basic decency and just being a real nice guy, even with his I.Q. soaring. His close down-home buddies are similarly depicted in rosy, salt-of-the-earth terms, though some of them grow to resent and fear George's transformation. Doctors and scholars are depicted as arrogant and untrustworthy.

What to watch for
  • violence false0

    Violence: An earthquake, and some thrown glasses in a bar argument.

  • sex false0

    Sex: A mild suggestion that George and his girlfriend have slept together.

  • language false3

    Language: Some. "S--t," "hell" a few times, "goddamn," and "freakin.'"

  • consumerism false0

    Consumerism: Not an issue

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false3

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: Social drinking, beers in the bar, talk of drunkeness (it comes across as a hallmark of being a "regular guy"). A character is slipped a sleeping drug unknowingly.