The Better Angels

2014 PG 1h 35m DVD

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The Better Angels

2014 PG 1h 35m DVD
  • Overview
  • Details
Revisiting the many hardships of Abraham Lincoln's youth, this biographical epic also highlights the influences that helped shape his personality -- including the role played by Lincoln's stepmother, Sarah, in developing his beliefs.
English: Dolby Digital 5.1
PG - Some material may not be suitable for children. Parents urged to give parental guidance. May contain some material parents might not like for their young children.
age 12+
Common Sense rating OK for kids 12+
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age 12+

Common Sense Note

Parents need to know that The Better Angels is a Terrence Malick-ish drama about a young Abraham Lincoln. Although it's historically accurate about details of young Lincoln's life, the movie is more of a poetic look at how Lincoln's boyhood was forever changed by the death of his beloved mother and the arrival of his stepmother. In addition to a bit of era-accurate smoking, there's some corporal punishment, as Mr. Lincoln punishes his children by spanking them with a switch. And Lincoln witnesses a chain gang, but the movie itself isn't that violent. It is, however, likely a bit too contemplative and lyrical to appeal to younger viewers.

Sexual Content

Lincoln's father and his new wife lie in bed together, but it's not sexual.


Thomas Lincoln punishes Abraham in a way that was customary for the time: by spanking/hitting him with a switch. Abraham's mother, as well as two relatives, die from milk poisoning. Mrs. Lincoln's demise may be upsetting to see: she vomits, writhes, and convulses before dying. The narrator says that Sarah Lincoln (Abraham's sister) also went on to die young -- during childbirth.


Not applicable

Social Behavior

Subtle, spiritual messages about how Lincoln's early life was shaped by his loving mother (who died young) and his stern, hardworking father. Suggests that Lincoln's early experiences seeing a chain gang, playing in the fields with his mother, and dealing with his father's fatherly justice influenced him into becoming an honorable, just man.


Not applicable

Drugs / Tobacco / Alcohol

Some era-accurate smoking.

  • Age appropriate
  • Not an issue
  • Depends on your child and your family
  • Parents strongly cautioned
  • Not appropriate for kids of the age

This information for parents is provided by Common Sense Media, a non-profit organization dedicated to improving kids' media lives.

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