Asteroid City parents guide

Asteroid City Parent Guide

Eclectic, confusing, and beautifully shot, this movie is clearly a Wes Anderson production,

Overall B

Theaters: The Steenbeck family has traveled to Asteroid City for a young astronomers event but they get an out of this world experience they didn't expect.

Release date June 22, 2023

Violence B
Sexual Content C-
Profanity B+
Substance Use B

Why is Asteroid City rated PG-13? The MPAA rated Asteroid City PG-13 for brief graphic nudity, smoking, and some suggestive material

Run Time: 105 minutes

Parent Movie Review

Right square in the middle of nowhere in the great American desert lies Asteroid City, which features all the conveniences you’d expect from such a remote town: A gas station and mechanic, a diner, an unfinished overpass, and a motor court featuring ten bungalows. A railway passes by the town regularly, a droning backdrop to the concussive blast of repeated nuclear weapons testing nearby. The town also features a large crater and a small meteoroid, as well as a sizeable government research facility. Most importantly, it is the latest port of call for Augie Steenbeck (Jason Schwartzman), a war photographer, and his four children, son Woodrow (Jake Ryan) and three daughters Andromeda (Ella Faris), Pandora (Gracie Faris), and Cassiopeia (Willan Faris). They’re here so Woodrow can attend an event for avid young astronomers, which has drawn a number of other youngsters to town: Dinah (Grace Edwards), Shelly (Sophia Lillis), Ricky (Ethan Josh Lee), and Clifford (Aristou Meehan).

At this point, there are two problems: First, the Steenbeck family station wagon is about ready for the big garage in the sky after jettisoning several critical parts and blowing all four tires. Second, Augie’s wife has been dead for three weeks and he hasn’t found the right time to tell the kids. After Woodrow’s science camp, the plan was to take the kids on to his late wife’s father, Stanley (Tom Hanks), but with the car long departed for blacker tarmac, they seem to be stuck in Asteroid City for the time being. And Asteroid City is about to host an event far, far stranger than any of the odd characters lurking about the premises – far, far, far stranger.

If you’re not familiar with director Wes Anderson’s signature style, it leans heavily towards the eclectic. Beautiful shot framing, deliberate color palettes, and dry, unusual dialogue are all hallmarks of Anderson’s work, and all are present here in spades. As a fan of Anderson’s, this is a real treat for me. For the rather confused kids sitting behind me keeping a barely hushed conference about the events on-screen, it was a slightly rockier road. (Frankly, I would have preferred that they hadn’t seen it either, but we can’t always get what we want.)

As Wes Anderson movies goes, though, this is much more suitable for children than something like The French Dispatch. Asteroid City features extremely limited profanity, infrequent social drinking and smoking, and one brief scene containing nudity. The broader concern with younger viewers is whether they’ll be willing to get behind the strangeness or, like the kids behind me, if they’ll spend an hour and a half in a state of profound confusion. Like almost all eccentric cinema, you need to go in with some flexible assumptions about how films are presented, how stories are told, and what you want to get out of the experience. If you’re familiar with Anderson’s work, you’ll know exactly what to expect. If not…well, hopefully do the rest of the audience a favor and keep your bemusement quietly to yourself until the credits roll. It’s the least you can do, really.

Directed by Wes Anderson. Starring Jason Schwartzman, Scarlett Johansson, Tom Hanks. Running time: 105 minutes. Theatrical release June 22, 2023. Updated

Watch the trailer for Asteroid City

Asteroid City
Rating & Content Info

Why is Asteroid City rated PG-13? Asteroid City is rated PG-13 by the MPAA for brief graphic nudity, smoking, and some suggestive material

Violence: There are references to domestic violence and suicide. A seemingly unending car chase/shootout between criminals and police is seen several times with no injuries.
Sexual Content: A woman is briefly seen nude in a blurry mirror. There are references to sex with no on-screen activity. Couples are briefly seen kissing.
Profanity: There are rare uses of mild curses and terms of deity.
Alcohol / Drug Use: Adult characters are seen drinking and smoking in historically accurate amounts for casual social use.

Page last updated

Home Video

Related home video titles:

Fans of Wes Anderson will enjoy his other films, including The French Dispatch, Isle of Dogs, Grand Budapest Hotel, Moonrise Kingdom, and Fantastic Mr. Fox. Other off-beat films include The Dead Don’t Die, White Noise, Juno, Kubo and the Two Strings, and the incredible Everything Everywhere All At Once.