Common Sense Note
Parents need to know that The Young and Prodigious T.S. Spivet, based on the novel by Reif Larsen, is a sad, sweet tale about a brilliant boy (Kyle Catlett) who runs away to receive an award he won from the Smithsonian shortly after his twin brother is accidently killed in a gun accident. There are many references to guns -- T.S.' dad is a cowboy rancher who tries to live like he's in the Old West and brands a calf, shoots a rattlesnake, and has stuffed game on the wall, along with an arsenal of guns. At one point, T.S. discusses his brother's death in graphic detail, though it's not shown. Scenes of peril include T.S. hanging from a bridge, crawling under a moving train, and hitchhiking with a creepy trucker. There's also some drinking, punching people out, and swearing (including "horses--t" and even "motherf----r"). Ultimately, this is a sometimes incredibly moving and beautiful, sometimes strange (why is the dog talking?), and sometimes funny movie, but it isn't for younger kids.
The parents touch hands, and it's implied that they made up because the mother is pregnant at the end of the movie. Scientific explanation of how babies are produced.
A boy shoots a gun more than once (including at a can tied to a cat with a string); it's revealed that he dies in a gun accident (not shown, but described in vivid detail). Also shooting in a movie, and a photo shows a soldier holding a rifle to a man's head. Potentially upsetting moments involving animals include stuffed game, a calf being branded, a snake being shot, and a goat getting caught in a fence and cut up. A teacher yells in a boy's face. A runaway boy takes lots of risks, including jumping on a train car and a moving bridge (the latter results in an injury) and hitchhiking. T.S.' dead brother appears and talks to him.
Swearing isn't constant but does include strong words: "piss," "crap," "s--t," "f--," and even "motherf----r." Also exclamations such as "oh God" and "Jesus Christ."
The message that comes through at the end is that people's differences should be embraced. But throughout much of the movie, T.S., his mother, his sister, and his father all feel isolated because they're different. One mention about the dangers of letting children handle without supervision.
Drugs / Tobacco /
T.S.' dad drinks, gets angry, and breaks his glass in his hand. G.H. Jibsen drinks heavily when T.S. does a talk show. Guests at an award show drink wine and cocktails.