Super 8 - Family Movie Review

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If you’re a fan of LOST, J.J. Abrams or any of the classic Steven Spielberg films, it’s likely that you’ll love Super 8. Let me say up front that despite the adorable cast of adolescent actors that truly make this film, it’s sadly not suitable for children. The film earns its PG13 rating and an AIII from the USCCB for intense violence, graphic language and drug usage. While the action scenes in the film are never overly gory, they may often prove too intense for younger children.

And that’s truly a shame, because many of the themes explored in Super 8 are full of faith, hope and love. Funny that I’d walk out of a sci fi alien disaster flick inspired, but that’s exactly how I felt as the ending credits rolled – and just a quick hint: stay through the credits for a delicious dessert of imagery you’ll love.

Super 8 centers around a cast of middle school friends who are spending their summer working on their friend Charles’ entry into a local film competition. As filming gets started we meet main characters Joe (Joel Courtney) and Alice (Elle Fanning), whose budding friendship is at the center of many of the redemptive themes in the movie. Sadly, Joe has lost his mother in a plant accident, and Alice feels partially to blame since her father (the town loser) was too drunk to work the shift during which Joe’s mom tragically lost her life. It doesn’t help that Joe’s father Jack (played by one of my favorite actors Kyle Chandler) is barely hanging on by a thread and wants to send Joe to baseball camp for the summer.

Set in the late 70’s, the film took me back to my own romp through those difficult years of growth, the promise of independence and the awkwardness of youth. The young friends happen to witness a truly shocking accident involving a military/alien mystery and the audience watches as mayhem ensues in their small Ohio town. After the disappearance of the town’s sheriff, Joe’s dad Jack must step up to figure out what’s really going on around town, but the kids are the ones who truly hold the keys to the mystery.

A beautiful score by Michael Giacchino, classic period imagery, and a story of redemptive love come together to make Super 8 the best film I’ve seen this summer. I do wish they could have dropped the dopey marijuana scenes and the one “F” bomb to have made this something a whole family could enjoy together. But for families with older teens looking for a fun film to enjoy together, I give Super 8 my highest recommendation.

Copyright 2011 Lisa M. Hendey

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About Author

Lisa M. Hendey is the founder and editor of CatholicMom.com and the bestselling author of the Chime Travelers children's fiction series, The Grace of Yes, The Handbook for Catholic Moms and A Book of Saints for Catholic Moms. As a board member and frequent host on KNXT Catholic Television, Lisa has produced and hosted multiple programs and has appeared on EWTN and CatholicTV. Hendey hosted “Catholic Moments” on Radio Maria and is the technology contributor for EWTN’s SonRise Morning Show. Lisa's articles have appeared in Catholic Digest, National Catholic Register, and Our Sunday Visitor. Hendey travels internationally giving workshops on faith, family, and Catholic technology and communications topics. She was selected as an Elizabeth Egan Journalism Fellow, attended the Vatican Bloggers Meeting, the “Bishops and Bloggers” meeting and has written internationally on the work of Catholic Relief Services and Unbound. Hendey lives with her family in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. Visit Lisa at www.LisaHendey.com for information on her speaking schedule or to invite her to visit your group, parish or organization.

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