Plugged In exists to shine a light on the world of popular entertainment while giving you and your family the essential tools you need to understand, navigate and impact the culture in which we live. Through reviews, articles and discussions, we want to spark intellectual thought, spiritual growth and a desire to follow the command of Colossians 2:8: "See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ."


Family uses Plugged In as a ‘significant compass’

"I am at a loss for words to adequately express how much it means to my husband and me to know that there is an organization like Focus that is rooting for us. Just today I was reading Psalm 37 and thinking about how your ministry provides ways to 'dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.' We have two teenagers and an 8-year-old in our household...Plugged In has become a significant compass for our family. All three of our kids are dedicated to their walk with Christ but they still encounter challenges. Thanks for all of your research and persistence in helping us navigate through stormy waters."

Plugged In helps college student stand-up for his belief

"Thanks for the great job you do in posting movie and television reviews online. I’m a college freshman and I recently had a confrontational disagreement with my English professor regarding an R-rated film. It is her favorite movie and she wanted to show it in class. I went to your Web site to research the film’s content. Although I had not seen the movie myself, I was able to make an educated argument against it based on the concerns you outlined. The prof said that she was impressed by my stand and decided to poll the whole class and give us a choice. We overwhelmingly voted to watch a G-rated movie instead! I’ve learned that I can trust your site and I will be using it a lot in the future.”

Plugged In brings ‘Sanity and Order’ to Non-believer

“Even though I don’t consider myself a Christian, I find your Plugged In Web site useful and thought-provoking. No one reviews movies like you do. Instead of being judgmental, you put entertainment ‘on trial.’ After presenting the evidence, you allow the jury of your readers to decide for themselves what they should do. In my opinion, you bring sanity and order to the wild world of modern day entertainment. Keep up the good work!”

Mom thinks Plugged In is the ‘BEST Christian media review site’

"Our family doesn't go to the movies until we go online and check out your assessment of a given film. I think this is the BEST Christian media review website that I've found, and I recommend it to my family and friends. Keep up the good work!"


Our hope is that whether you're a parent, youth leader or teen, the information and tools at Plugged In will help you and your family make appropriate media decisions. We are privileged to do the work we do, and are continually thankful for the generosity and support from you, our loyal readers, listeners and friends.


Charlotte's Web


Watch This Review

We hope you enjoyed this content. Be sure to share it with family and friends you think will enjoy it as well.

Movie Review

One ordinary spring morning in a deeply ordinary place (the Zuckerman farm), a young girl named Fern wakes up before dawn and runs out to join her dad, who is watching over a new litter of pigs. Her father intends to "do away" with the runt but Fern pleads the piglet's case, commits to take care of him and gives him the name Wilbur.

Fern works hard and delivers on her promise to be Wilbur's new mom. Before long, however, he's too big for the house and has to be moved across the street to Uncle Homer's barn. Left to face a barn full of rather unfriendly animals, Wilbur finally manages to make a friend—with a spider named (of course) Charlotte. But Charlotte is the one creature that the other animals dislike even more than a silly little oinker, so Wilbur doesn't score many points for his new alliance.

Then, to add injury to insult, an antisocial barn dweller tells Wilbur, "Come winter, the farmer will be checking you into the smokehouse hotel," and suggests that Christmas dinner and Wilbur will end up being one and the same. Wilbur is distraught. But Charlotte promises to stick by her new chum and spells out a way that her web might save his life.


Positive Elements

The film stresses repeatedly that making friends and standing by your commitments to others is essential in life. When Wilbur asks the other standoffish animals if they are friends, they hem and haw but assure him that they all get along fine in the little barn. But the pig calls their bluff by responding, "I'm not sure that being in the same place is the same as being friends." When Wilbur finally finds a pal in Charlotte, he literally jumps for joy. The other animals wonder out loud how an ugly spider could cause such a reaction and express their disdain, to which Wilbur says, "I think she's beautiful," and points out her attributes.

Later, Charlotte comes up with a plan to save her pig friend and never wavers even when it means putting herself in danger. (The two friends also show that cleverness can win out over size or beauty.) And as Wilbur and Charlotte display their commitment to each other, the other animals (including a self-serving rat named Templeton) are inspired and eventually take steps to reach out in friendship, too.

As Charlotte spins out her idea for using her web to help Wilbur, she restricts herself to using only words that are true. Some pig, she "writes" with a precision that would turn Peter Parker as green as his goblin foe. Radiant. Terrific. Humble. When Wilbur and Charlotte later go to the county fair, Wilbur worries that he doesn't stand a chance competing against the huge swine around him. Charlotte assures him that he needn't bother with worry. She says, "What good would that do?"

Fern is the only human to see the real nature of the relationships that are developing among the animals. However, her mother is concerned that Fern is spending too much time alone in the barn. Fern tells her, "All my best friends are there." Mom expresses her worry to the family doctor and he replies warmly, "Do you want to know the name for her condition? It's called a childhood phase. And sadly, it's something she'll grow out of." Fern's dad eventually comes around to an understanding of his daughter's feelings and why she gave so much of herself to help Wilbur. He tells her, "I'm proud of you, honey."

No matter what happens, Wilbur always chooses to see the best in everyone and responds with nothing but congeniality. [Spoiler Warning] After Wilbur returns from the fair, the other animals realize that Charlotte isn't coming back. They look to her web, realizing what she has come to mean to them, and mourn her passing. Wilbur later protects her children as his wards.

Spiritual Content

Because of Charlotte's web work, people around town talk repeatedly about miracles taking place. They go to speak with a priest, who, while munching candy, asks, "What brings you here ... divinity?" They reply, "We think so."

Although it's never directly connected with God, the film points to the fact that love and friendship are indeed miraculous gifts. Charlotte mentions saying "grace" before she consumes insects caught in her web.

Sexual Content

None. However, Fern does develop a little crush on a local boy and is motivated to look a bit more feminine. On one occasion, she dons a dress and leaves her tomboyish overalls at home.

Violent Content

Wilbur asks Charlotte about the flies that fall victim to her sticky web. She illustrates how she deals with them by wrapping up an insect in a web cocoon and giving him a "little nip" to subdue him. Wilbur asks, "You eat flies?" She responds, "No. I drink their blood." (At which the skittish horse faints in his stall.) Fern's dad picks up an ax to kill Wilbur, but he never uses it. And there are numerous references to the fact that the humans intend to kill and eat Wilbur.

Wilbur smacks into and through a wooden fence. Fern punches her brother. All other violence is of a slapstick nature as the rat is being chased and nipped at by two swooping crows. All three find themselves in tumbling pratfalls with no one really hurt.

Crude or Profane Language

Several uses of "what the heck?" and "what the hey?" The British profanity "bloody" made it from script to screen.

Drug and Alcohol Content


Other Negative Elements

Although Fern's desire to protect and care for Wilbur is honorable, she does show disrespect to her father while fighting to get her way. She also sneaks the pig into school and lies to her teacher about stowing him in her desk.

The rat blasts out a belch. Toilet humor includes cows passing gas, comments made about a horse's rear and a joke told about being "in the can."


I was sitting in the topmost row of a large theater with stadium-style seating to preview this film. And a number of families were filing in, popcorn, soda and eager youngsters in tow. A young brother and sister clambered up to my nosebleed section and turned to look back. The 5-year-old (or close to it) sister wore a glowing smile and whispered to herself, "the best!" I wasn't sure what she found such joy in—the huge screen, the good view or just that she'd made it to the top first—but I recognized her expression like a long-lost friend. That brilliant childish wonder at the things we grown-ups see as ordinary.

That's the joy of Charlotte's Web. This new non-musical version has a few flat spots, and I've already noted most of them. But there's something very endearing about E.B. White's tale of friendship and innocent longing to believe the best of others. The CGI special effects are realistic (a level or two up from the likes of Babe), the Norman Rockwell-esque setting is welcoming, and the script is funny and engaging. It's Wilbur expressing wonder over the "ordinary miracles" of everyday life, though, that will most charm the kids and inspire the rest of us.

Pro-social Content

Objectionable Content

Summary Advisory

Plot Summary

Christian Beliefs

Other Belief Systems

Authority Roles



Discussion Topics

Additional Comments/Notes

Episode Reviews




Readability Age Range


Drama, Kids



Dakota Fanning as Fern; the voices of Julia Roberts as Charlotte; Steve Buscemi as Templeton; Dominic Scott Kay as Wilbur; John Cleese as Samuel; Thomas Haden Church as Brooks; Oprah Winfrey as Gussy; Kathy Bates as Bitsy; Robert Redford as Ike; Cedric the Entertainer as Golly; Reba McEntire as Betsy; André Benjamin as Elwyn


Gary Winick (13 Going on 30)


Paramount Pictures



Record Label



In Theaters

On Video

Year Published



Bob Hoose

We hope you enjoyed this content. Be sure to share it with family and friends you think will enjoy it as well.

Get weekly e-news, Culture Clips & more!