What to watch with your kids: ‘Catherine Called Birdy’ and more

World War II-set family drama has themes related to war, racism.

Railway Children” (also known asThe Railway Children Return”) is a British drama set during World War II that deals with issues around race. The movie is a sequel to a 1970 film, which itself was an adaptation of the classic novel by E. Nesbit. Offering a less typical perspective in a genre often preoccupied with trenches and war rooms, it focuses on a group of children who meet Abe (Kenneth Aikens), a Black U.S. soldier who’s on the run due to the racism he encountered in the Army. There’s also a racist attack in a pub, which highlights the bigotry among people who are supposedly fighting on the same side. The children have never encountered racism before — which indicates their position of privilege — so Abe’s experiences are new to them. They show bravery and are independent and stand up to those who bully others. While the film isn’t very violent, the theme of death lingers, as the kids are coming to terms with their parents’ mortality and the hatred and conflict that surround them. A man is heard being shot, but it’s not shown. There’s also a focus on the brave women left behind at home during World War II. (98 minutes)

Catherine Called Birdy (PG-13)

Heartfelt medieval comedy adaptation tackles adult themes.

Catherine Called Birdy” is a coming-of-age comedy (based on the popular same-named 1994 book) set in medieval England. It’s sweet but has sexual references and deals with some tough subject matter. Directed by Lena Dunham, the story follows a 14-year-old girl named Birdy (Bella Ramsey) who’s dealing with adolescence — including first crushes and periods — all while her father, Lord Rollo (Andrew Scott), tries to marry her off so he can restore the family’s wealth. There are discussions about virginity and stillbirth, but nothing overly graphic is shown, and many of the references are made via innuendo. That said, there is a distressing birth scene, as well as a duel (with swords) that results in a nonfatal bloody wound. Reflecting the 13th-century time period, girls are married against their will and treated like property. But Dunham has fun ridiculing these traditions, and Birdy uses her smarts to stay one step ahead of her father — and any potential husbands. Rollo is portrayed as always being drunk, and another character is seen throwing up after a wedding. There’s also some potty humor and occasional use of “s—.” (108 minutes)

More mature “Rogue One” prequel has violence, intrigue.

Star Wars: Andor” is a prequel series to the film “Rogue One.” The show, which focuses on a thief (Diego Luna) who starts working for the rebels, is more mature than other Star Wars movies and shows. Some scenes are set in a brothel, where sex workers dance in the background (no nudity). Characters drink in a bar, and the sci-fi fantasy violence is amped up to include frequent use of guns: One character is shot point-blank in the head. There’s also some hand-to-hand fighting and combat. (12 episodes, ranging in length from 35 to 50 minutes)

Available on Disney Plus.

I Used to Be Famous (TV-MA)

Sweet British drama has neurodiverse lead, strong language.

I Used to Be Famous” is a charming British drama that preaches the idea of never giving up. It is also notable for not only having an autistic supporting lead character, but casting a neurodiverse actor in the role. When down-on-his-luck former boy-band member Vince (Ed Skrein) meets Stevie (Leo Long), a young drummer with autism, the pair form a two-person band. Vince helps Stevie come out of his shell and his comfort zone, while Stevie helps Vince become less self-obsessed. Though not constant, the language is strong, with words such as “f—” and “s—” used. In one scene, Stevie is derogatorily called “special needs.” There is one moment of violence when a brawl kicks off at one of the band’s live performances. Punches are thrown, and Vince is left with a bruised and bloodied face. There are also a number of references to the death of Vince’s brother, something he is struggling to overcome. Characters can also be seen drinking alcohol throughout the film, though never to excess. (104 minutes)

Common Sense Media helps families make smart media choices. Go to commonsense.org for age-based and educational ratings and reviews for movies, games, apps, TV shows, websites and books.

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