Back to the Future Part II Parent Guide
You just might get whiplash going to the future and then to the past and then...well, you get my drift.
Parent Movie Review
Following his return from 1955, Marty (Michael J. Fox) finds his life vastly improved - everything from his parents’ relationship to his car has been magically upgraded by his adventures in the past. But just as he thinks he can take a break and enjoy it all, Doc Brown (Christopher Lloyd) reappears with his time-travelling DeLorean and informs Marty that he has to come along to 2015 because Marty’s kids are making a mess of their lives, and Doc wants to help. But in trying to fix the future, Doc and Marty make a mess of the past, and their former present. Now they have another problem to solve, and the solution is back in 1955…
The original Back to the Futureis a pop-culture icon, spawning two sequels (this being the first) and immortalizing the DeLorean, otherwise just a weird little car with low sales. That’s a high standard to be measured against, so how does Part II keep up with its predecessor? By copying the daylights out of it, that’s how.
I’m not saying that’s necessarily a bad thing: if anything, it’s kind of a charming feature of time travel that you can watch history repeating itself over and over again. Of course, the other argument is that it’s shameless laziness on the part of the studio combined with an almost cynical assumption that audiences like what they like, and the best thing to do is give them more of the same. (This attitude isn’t unique to the Back to the Future franchise. It’s worked splendidly for the Fast & Furious movies as well.)
This sequel has almost all of the fun elements you remember from the original – the same cast (excepting a quick re-cast of Jennifer, from Claudia Wells to Elizabeth Shue), the same time-travelling antics, and a complete redo of some scenes altogether. The impressive part of this is that almost all of the characters have conversations with themselves, which takes some cinematic compositing. Considering this is in the pre-Forrest Gump days (another Zemeckis film), most of it works pretty well. You also get to see Michael J. Fox playing his own daughter which is…a bit weird, to be honest.
But this isn’t entirely family suitable- just like the first one, there’s more sexual content and profanity than you might remember from the last time you watched it, and it may not be quite as kid-friendly as you thought. It is, however, still a good deal of fun for teens and older kids. It’s always fun to see how the past thought our present would be. Having bypassed 2015 by a good while, and nary a hoverboard in sight, we can admire their optimism as well.Directed by Robert Zemeckis. Starring Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd, and Lea Thompson. Running time: 108 minutes. Theatrical release November 22, 1989. Updated April 28, 2020
Watch the trailer for Back to the Future Part II
Back to the Future Part II
Rating & Content Info
Why is Back to the Future Part II rated PG? Back to the Future Part II is rated PG by the MPAA
Violence: People are frequently hit or beaten, often in a bullying context. A man is violently grabbed by the crotch and lifted into the air. Bloodstains and a chalk outline are showed in a street. A drive by shooting is shown with no injuries. There is a scene depicting domestic violence.
Sexual Content: There is a scene in which frequent reference is made to a woman’s breast implants. Several individuals are shown from the shoulders up in a hot tub. An “adult” magazine is shown.
Profanity: There are eight uses of scatological cursing and around a dozen uses of mild profanity and terms of deity.
Alcohol / Drug Use: People are briefly shown smoking. High school students are shown pouring alcohol into a punch bowl. Several adults are shown drinking alcohol, one of whom is described as an alcoholic.
Page last updated April 28, 2020
Back to the Future Part II Parents' Guide
Marty’s life is frequently impacted by his inability to stand by when someone calls him “chicken”. What are some of the more obvious consequences of this behavior? Why do you think it’s so hard for him to take that kind of name-calling in stride? Is there anything in your life that affects you similarly? What can you do to manage that in the future?
Loved this movie? Try these books…
Younger readers looking for time travel fiction should try A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle.
Nix is the daughter of a time traveler who is desperate to go back in the past to reunite with his late wife, even if it erases Nix from existence. Find out how their adventures shake out in Heidi Heilig’s The Girl From Everywhere.
Time travel mixes with magic and romance in MJ Putney’s Dark Mirror trilogy. When Victoria discovers she has magical powers, she’s sent to a boarding school designed to eliminate magic in the aristocracy. But the Napoleonic Wars are raging, and Tori’s magic and her unusual ability to slip through time might be the key to saving England – in more than one era.
Older viewers looking for a more serious take should look at 11/22/63, Stephen King’s story of a high school teacher sucked back to the Kennedy administration. Not far enough in the past for you? Connie Willis’s The Doomsday Book features time-travelling scholars, one of whom is sent back to the 14th century.