"The Cider House Rules" (PG-13, 2 hours, 9 minutes)
Unashamedly sentimental and eccentric, this story of a sweet-natured orphan and how he finds his way in the world should touch many teens. Director Lasse Hallstrom maintains a light touch in this adaptation of John Irving's novel (Irving also wrote the screenplay), but the movie deals with abortion, incest, murder, infidelity, out-of-wedlock births and the death of a chronically ill child. Other elements include a fairly explicit sexual situation for a PG-13 film, a character who abuses drugs, and others who fight, drink, smoke and swear.
"Any Given Sunday" (R, 2 hours, 42 minutes)
Oliver Stone's mega-flick about the greedy world of professional football doesn't kick up much new dirt, is about as subtle as body slam, and lasts for an eternity. Still, sports fanatics of high school age will go for its gritty, convulsive playing field realities and its tug of war between humaneness and pure capitalism. The movie isn't for kids under 15 or 16 because of its continuous stream of profanity, locker-room (full frontal) nudity, on-and-off-the-field mayhem featuring blood, sweat and vomit, as well as racial and sexist slurs, drug use, liquor, and cigarettes.
"Man on the Moon" (R, 1 hour, 59 minutes)
Jim Carrey does an uncanny turn as the late comic performance artist Andy Kaufman in this clinically accurate but emotionally arid portrait. Teens who have seen Kaufman on "Saturday Night Live" reruns may be curious to know more, and they'll see how some of today's comics drew inspiration from Kaufman, who died in 1984 at age 35. Many people who worked with him reprise their roles here, like the cast of "Taxi" minus Danny DeVito, who instead plays Kaufman's agent. A relatively mild R, "Man On The Moon" contains profanity, topless dancers, sexual innuendo and sexist humor.
"Mansfield Park" (PG-13, 1 hour, 52 minutes)
Teens may like this revisionist adaptation of Jane Austen's 1814 novel simply because it isn't the decorous period piece we've come to expect in Austen-inspired films. It's gritty and unglamorous, but handsomely shot, well acted and totally absorbing. Combine the slave trade, a fleeting but fairly explicit semi-nude sex scene between adulterous partners to drug use and considerable subtle, sexual innuendo and you have an envelope-pushing PG-13.
Beyond the ratings game
OK for most kids:
"Stuart Little" PG (Droll, touching, slightly smart-alecky take on E.B. White kid lit classic.)
"Toy Story 2" G (Clever, touching sequel has cowboy doll Woody kidnapped by toy collector.)
More for kids 10 and older:
"Bicentennial Man" PG (Robin Williams as post-millennial robotic house servant with glitch that makes him long to be human. Mild sexual innuendo; rare profanity; mortality theme.)
"Anna and the King" (Jodie Foster as Anna Leonowens, Chow Yun-Fat as king of Siam. Violent for PG-13: off-camera executions with splattered blood; enemy soldiers kill villagers.)
"All About My Mother" (Glamorous, affectionate, happily subversive tale from Spain's Pedro Almodovar, about nurse who loses her son and in her grief forms familial bonds with actors, nuns, prostitutes, transgendered folk. Graphic sexual innuendo; sexuality issues; profanity; smoking, drinking. Subtitles. 16,17 and older.)