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"PHENOMENON"
(1996) (John Travolta, Kyra Sedgwick) (PG)

Alcohol/
Drugs
Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Frightening/
Tense Scenes
Guns/
Weapons
Moderate None Mild Minor None
Imitative
Behavior
Jump
Scenes
Music
(Scary/Tense)
Music
(Inappropriate)
Profanity
Minor None Minor None Mild
Sex/
Nudity
Smoking Tense Family
Scenes
Topics To
Talk About
Violence
Mild Mild Minor Moderate Minor


QUICK TAKE:
Drama: A man suddenly gets special mental powers and becomes the "freak show" of his small town.
PLOT:
George Malley (JOHN TRAVOLTA), is an auto mechanic in a small town where he's not known as the brightest guy around. He likes Lace Tennamin (KYRA SEDGWICK), a single mother who makes uncomfortable chairs that nobody wants to buy. And he hangs out with his friend Nate Pope (FOREST WHITAKER), a radio buff, and "Doc" (ROBERT DUVALL) the town family practitioner. On the night of his birthday party, George sees a strange light in the sky that knocks him to the ground. After that, he's suddenly Einstein and Edison rolled into one. He becomes a voracious reader (he learns Portuguese in twenty minutes) and an inventor (creating new solar cells, and fertilizer that grows gargantuan plants). He also makes accurate earthquake predictions, and plays a game of deciphering military codes that he hears on Nate's communications system. That draws the attention of the FBI, who then want to conduct experiments on him. In the meantime he struggles to get Lace to like him and when he finally does, the story takes a sudden and sad twist and everyone must struggle with what has really caused George's brain to go into overdrive.
WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
If they're drawn to Travolta films, they will. Also, despite the paranormal behavior, this is really a love story and thus teens might be drawn to it.
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: PG
For language and mild sensuality.
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
  • The four main characters (JOHN TRAVOLTA, KYRA SEDGWICK, FOREST WHITAKER and ROBERT DUVALL) are all good role models (unless you're concerned with drinking, which Travolta does with some frequency or the issue of him and Sedgwick sleeping together). Otherwise they're all decent people who believe in the human spirit and helping one another.
  • CAST, CREW, & TECHNICAL INFO

    HOW OTHERS RATED THIS MOVIE


    ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE
  • At George's birthday party, beer is consumed by George and others.
  • George carries his beer out onto the street and he appears somewhat drunk.
  • George leaves the bar to drive home (even though he's somewhat drunk and someone asks him if he's okay to drive) although we don't actually see him drunk driving.
  • Major and minor characters often are seen in the bar where they are drinking beer.
  • Nate and George drink beers out on the porch.
  • BLOOD/ GORE
  • None.
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • George "lied" to Lace about others buying her chairs when he, in fact, was the person buying them (to try to get to know her better).
  • Everyone in the town gets suspicious or scared of George and forgets that he used to be their buddy and pal.
  • The FBI and a noted surgeon see George just as something to study, and not as a human being.
  • FRIGHTENING/TENSE SCENES
  • The approach of the light in the sky might be scary to the youngest of kids.
  • One scene has coyotes howling off in the distance and Lace's little girl is scared by the eerie sounds.
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • None.
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • George leaves the bar to drive home (even though he's somewhat drunk and someone asks him if he's okay to drive).
  • Lace's kids get into George's truck (when he offers to drive them home) even though as far as we know, they've only briefly met him just once before.
  • Phrase: "Pissed off."
  • JUMP SCENES
  • None.
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • There's just some minor suspenseful music when the "light" in the sky approaches.
  • There's a little scary music when the public crowds in on George demanding to know "what" he knows.
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • None.
  • PROFANITY
  • 2 "s" words, 7 hells, 6 damns, 1 ass, and 6 uses of "Oh God," 4 of "God damn," and 3 of "Jesus" or "Jesus Christ" as exclamations.
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • A man "moons" George and presses his bare butt up against a window.
  • Lace asks George, "Are you expecting to get lucky?" He replies, "No, just hoping."
  • Lace and George start passionately kissing and later are seen in bed together (implying that they had sex).
  • SMOKING
  • Several people are seen smoking here and there, most notably in the bar where the bartender smokes all of the time.
  • An FBI interrogator smokes.
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • Lace talks to her kids about when their father left them, and how much it hurt.
  • Lace and her kids, and Nate and Doc must deal with George's brain tumor and his death.
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • Whether someone can have powers like George's.
  • Getting sick and dying.
  • What brain tumors are.
  • VIOLENCE
  • George causes a mirror behind the bar to break when he gets mad, but immediately apologizes to the bartender.
  • The doc slides and crashes his beer mug into other people's mugs after they debunk George at the bar.



  • Reviewed July 4, 1996

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