Thelma parents guide

Thelma Parent Guide

June Squibb's performance as the irrepressible Thelma gives a deft comic touch to this bittersweet tale.

Overall B

Theaters: 93-year-old Thelma Post gets conned by a phone scammer pretending to be her grandson and sets out on a treacherous quest across Los Angeles to reclaim what was taken from her.

Release date June 21, 2024

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

Why is Thelma rated PG-13? The MPAA rated Thelma PG-13 for strong language.

Run Time: 97 minutes

Parent Movie Review

Thelma (June Squibb) is nobody’s idea of an action hero. The 93-year-old widow lives a quiet life, puttering around her home and depending on her devoted grandson, Daniel (Fred Hechinger), for driving and tech assistance. So, when she receives a call from Daniel, telling her he’s in prison following a car accident, she unhesitatingly follows his instructions to send $10,000 to a defense lawyer.

Upon learning that she’s been scammed and that the police are unable to help, the elderly woman is incensed. Ever feisty, Thelma decides to get her money back on her own. Doing so will involve stealing a gun, “borrowing” a motorized scooter from an unwilling friend, flexing some investigative skills, and leaving her family in a state of ever-growing panic.

Thelma is labeled as an action comedy but it’s far more than that. Yes, it’s funny, and yes, characters race around (at low speed) and wave guns about, but this is really a film about loss. The loss of Thelma’s money is only a catalyst for deeper musings about the losses that come with age – the gradual diminishment of dignity, self-concept, independence, and competence. Thelma’s friend, Ben (Richard Roundtree) has settled into life in a seniors’ home and flatly tells a defiant Thelma that she has to accept the reality of aging: “We’re old. Diminished. A liability to the ones that we love.” Thelma flatly disagrees and asserts that she never complains, always keeps moving, and is still the same. But as she embarks on her quest for justice, Thelma’s spunky independence is going to be challenged…and she’ll learn a thing or two, as will her family.

I thoroughly enjoyed Thelma. Partly because I married into a family full of sassy firebrands, and partly because I love stories about people who refuse to be limited by labels. That doesn’t mean that the movie is perfect. In fact, there were many points in the film when I was aghast at Thelma’s risky and illegal behavior and upset on behalf of her well-intentioned and loving family. Sure, they aren’t perfect, but her daughter and son-in-law treat Thelma with kindness and concern and don’t deserve to be left in the dark.

The movie also comes with some negative content, principally sixteen profanities (including two sexual expletives) and some scenes of violence. None of the violence is gory or graphic, but a firearm is stolen, pointed at a person, and fired. To be honest, this content is well within the PG-13 rating, and since the target audience is adults anyway, I don’t find these issues to be terribly concerning. The film could be safely watched by teens, but I can’t imagine that this bittersweet story of aging and defiance will appeal to a younger demographic.

As for mature viewers, Thelma will likely trigger waves of laughter. June Squibb’s character is irrepressible, determined, and unforgettable. She is a constant reminder that we can’t categorize people by labels, including age. However reckless or stubborn Thelma might be, her courage, improvisational skill, and, yes, her gumption, make her a joy to watch.

Directed by Josh Margolin. Starring June Squibb, Fred Hechinger, Richard Roundtree. Running time: 97 minutes. Theatrical release June 21, 2024. Updated

Watch the trailer for Thelma

Rating & Content Info

Why is Thelma rated PG-13? Thelma is rated PG-13 by the MPAA for strong language.

Violence: There’s talk of a car accident and injuries. Mention of a person being fatally burned in a fire pit. Seniors crash their mobility scooters. A person steals a firearm. There is a non-injury hit and run car accident. A person pulls a gun on someone and fires it wide. A person is tripped and knocked out. A person shoots a computer. A carelessly tossed cigarette causes an explosion.
Sexual Content: None noted.
Profanity: The script contains 16 profanities, including a dozen terms of deity and pairs of sexual expletives and scatological curses.
Alcohol / Drug Use:   An adult smokes a cigarette but is scolded for it.

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