There are things no one told me when we decided to have kids. One of these things is how difficult it can be to say no.
My son loves Batman. My son wears Batman. He draws Batman. He reads and watches and dreams Batman. We have Batman action figures. We have comic books and movies and toys. And through association, I've become familiar with the long list of Rogue's Gallery villains: The Penguin, Two-Face, The Joker, Ra's al Ghul, Harley Quinn, Clayface, and the Scarecrow. And honestly, after years of living in a house of boys, I have my own list of favorite villains - Catwoman, of course, being number one.
However, the new Batman movie - The Dark Knight - frustrates me. Of course, I know that Heath Ledger buried himself into the role of the Joker and his performance is amazing (possibly earning him a posthumous Oscar nod). I know the movie is great and the scenes are intense and this is one of the best comic book movies yet. (My husband saw this movie last week and can't stop talking about it!)
But this movie is not for kids.
Everyone tells me this. My husband tells me this. I read it and can tell by the previews. Even Christian Bale, the actor who plays Batman, says that he won't bring his young daughter to the movie. This movie even scares some adults.
So you can probably imagine how difficult it was to tell my 7-year old with his Batman t-shirt and big smile and look of longing that he cannot see the Dark Knight. The Dark Knight is just too violent. Some questions come to mind.
Why do they make comic book movies and gear them to adults? (Of course, my husband who loves this movie has already answered this question.)
Do the people who make movies like this understand the challenge they give to parents who have to decide whether or not to send their kids to their movie?
And most importantly, will my son ever, ever forgive me or understand that as I say no to The Dark Knight, a movie he may or may not be able to handle, my feelings are probably more hurt than his?
The Internet Movie Database recently added a new parent feature. It's very useful. You simply enter the movie and then click parents guide from the list. This parents guide provides detailed scene-by-scene reasons for the movie rating. This is yet another great tool to help you make decisions about what to let your kids watch in the theater or on TV.