Summer vacation has big kids clamoring to spend their long, hot days in a cool, dark theater, but sometimes what a school-aged kid wants to see isn't a good fit for their younger siblings. While Finding Dory has something for everyone, some parents might question whether The BFG is appropriate for kids under 5. Author Roald Dahl, who wrote the 1982 novel the film is based on, is known for writing thrilling children's books that so often make for terrific movies, but his stories are also known to get pretty dark – from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory to The Witches, the kids in Dahl's books often face mortal peril at nearly every turn.
The BFG is no different; it begins with a child being kidnapped by a giant, and although he's eventually revealed not to be a threat (BFG stands for "big, friendly giant," after all), the other giants spend the rest of the film trying to harm the BFG and eat his little human friend, Sophie. ComingSoon.net reported that the MPAA gave the movie a PG rating for "action/peril, some scary moments and brief rude humor," and Common Sense Media recommends the movie for ages 7 and up. That being said, every kid is different, and anecdotally, I've always found that Common Sense Media rates movies much more conservatively than I would.
Really, what the movie's rated is less important than the elements that led to its rating. Parents know their kids best, and while some little ones might find Brave scary at times, other children the same age might watch Star Wars every day without issue. What parents need to evaluate is how experienced their child is with watching movies, whether they're able to separate fantasy from reality, and what their kid, in particular, is afraid of. Children who are anxious about bumps in the night, for example, might be uncomfortable with a movie that begins with a child being snatched from her bed by what is ostensibly a monster.
The BFG certainly has the potential to scare young kids, and the trouble with PG movies is that parents can't do a whole lot of guiding in the theater without annoying the other moviegoers; nobody wants to be that parent whose toddler's tantrum ruins a movie. Parents who are unsure if their child can handle The BFG would probably do well to wait until they can watch it at home.