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Parents' Guide to

Finding Nemo

By Nell Minow, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 5+

Sweet father-son tale has some very scary moments.

Movie G 2003 101 minutes
Finding Nemo Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 5+

Based on 124 parent reviews

age 6+

The greatest animated movie of all time; a fun adventure for all age groups.

Finding Nemo has been one of my all-time favorites since I was about 3 years old, and it still remains a classic to this very day. I have seen it several times throughout my life, and I still enjoy it immensely! Pixar had several genius works in their early career, but this movie is by far their greatest work. Matter of fact, I still find myself unable to think of a better animated movie than this one, despite several years of movies I have watched. This movie exceeds expectations with its humor, storyline, brilliant animation and excellent characters. The basic storyline is about a clownfish named Marlin (voiced by Albert Brooks), who just recently lost his wife, Coral and almost all of their eggs due to a barracuda attack. However, the barracuda left one egg behind, which Marlin names Nemo. He raises his son, Nemo (voiced by Alexander Gould) for a while, but then during school, Nemo decides to disobey his father and swim out further than he is supposed to. After that, he gets captured by sea divers and transported to the fish tank they have in a dentist office in Sydney, Australia. Marlin tried his best to rescue him, but he got knocked out in the process. Soon after he is chasing the boat, he bumps into a blue tang named Dory (played by Ellen DeGeneres), who tags along with him on his rescue mission to find his son. Finding Nemo’s animation is absolutely flawless. Honestly, I cannot think of one mistake Pixar made while they were animating this movie. That is not a remark I usually make. The movie’s illustrations are literally crystal clear and incredibly colorful. It captures the ocean life, the sea creatures, and the deep blue sea perfectly. Also, there are several movies I can think of where the visuals or the art outdid the story. But in this case, the storyline and even the cast is just as strong as the animation. This is helped by the fact that there are several jokes in this movie that are funny to kids, teenagers and even some that only adults will get. There are at least several (about 10 or more) characters in this movie that are worth mentioning. It’s just that so many of them are funny in such different ways. Albert Brooks brings in a solid performance as the lead character, Marlin. His character starts out a total warrior, afraid of nothing. That is until his wife and most of his eggs get devoured by that barracuda. Afterwards, he is the biggest coward in the deep blue sea! Whether he and Dory cross a jellyfish, a shark or even a pelican, he panics every time. That is where most of Marlin’s humor is centered. Ellen DeGeneres plays a legendary role as Dory. She suffers from short-term memory loss, which makes her often forget things in 5 seconds. This is one of the most important things to remember about her character. But what really makes Dory so hysterical is her joyful, enthusiastic, mega-hyper and insanely chatty personality. She often annoys Marlin because she is bouncing off the walls so much that he is unable to concentrate. Dory’s personality, in particular, is what Ellen DeGeneres absolutely nailed. No one else could have played this role. Willam Dafoe plays an excellent role as Gill, the moorish idol fish with the scar on his face. He is also the leader of the gang of fish in the fish tank. His character is haunting enough to make him interesting. However, Gill has only one desire in the entire world. His mission that he fixates on, is to escape the fish tank and be dropped right back in the ocean. He also has some very humorous moments that are notable. I hate admitting this, but Gill is probably my favorite character that Willem Dafoe ever played in his entire career. Probably my personal favorite character in the entire movie is Bruce, the great white shark (played by Barry Humphries). Bruce is a character who would absolutely seem like he would be a villain at first, but it ends up he is not. What makes his character so funny is that he isn’t like most sharks whose only mission is to hunt fish down and eat them. In reality, Bruce is just trying to make friends, even with other fish. Matter of fact, he repeatedly vows NOT to eat fish, much to the annoyance of his other shark friends. However, his one weakness is that whenever he smells blood, he turns into a nightmare! There are even more characters that come along the way that deserve to be mentioned as well. One of the most entertaining ones is Crush, the sea turtle (voiced by Andrew Stanton; who is also the director and screenwriter of this movie). Crush is as friendly as can be, but he has that laid-back personality of a surfer dude! Brad Garrett was the perfect choice for Bloat the pufferfish, is also a hilarious character. What makes Bloat so memorable is that he does not care how disgusting and rude he actually is. Geoffrey Rush also plays a memorable character as Nigel, the pelican. He tries to help Nemo on many occasions, but he also does not watch anything he says. Basically the whole cast was fantastic. Like most Pixar movies, there is nothing seriously objectionable for parents to worry about. However, some scenes may scare kids, which is why I recommended it for 6+. But if you edit out just the right scenes, it’s appropriate for as young as 2 years of age. That being said, there are some young kids I personally know that were traumatized by this movie, so watch out if your kids are sensitive viewers. Parents guide: Possibly frightening scenes: This movie definitely has some tense moments for little kids. The opening scene where the barracuda attacks Marlin’s family is one you might not want to show the youngest of kids. Even the scene where Nemo gets captured might scare sensitive viewers. Also, there’s a scene where Dory and Marlin are pursuing a mysterious light that turns out to be the stem of a humongous, vicious anglerfish that chases them! For the squeamish, there’s a comedic scene where a guy is screaming as his mouth gets drilled by the dentist! But of course, this is not even remotely graphic. When Bruce goes crazy, that might scare kids as well. Language: Nothing to worry about. But one fish makes a joke about daring his friends to touch a boat, but he says “touch the butt”. He repeats this at least three times, if you don’t want your kids to hear that kind of language yet. Otherwise, it’s squeaky clean. Anyways, I highly recommend this movie for all ages. Most kids will find this movie to be a fantastic deep-sea adventure. And for teenagers or adults, they will find this animated classic wildly entertaining.
age 7+

May be bit harrowing for younger/more sensitive children.

Rewatching Finding Nemo with my 5 and 7 year old, it just hit different! While I think it's critical to know your individual child and select accordingly, this movie was way too tense, harrowing, and harsh, especially for my 5 year old. While I could remove the stakes because, well, they're fish and suchwhat, my daughter did not differentiate between the risk of death, getting lost, explosions, parental loss, etc. happening to a human vs. a personified animation. She reacted and respond to the stakes as if it were a human, which makes Nemo a totally different movie developmentally. Moreover, it kinda goes from one high stakes thing to another really quickly, without much emotional reprieve apart from the sea turtles (which they both dug). If you have an empathetic, sensitive child like me, you may want to hold off on Nemo until they're a bit older!

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (124 ):
Kids say (293 ):

Pixar may have the most advanced animation technology in the world, but they never forget that what matters most in a movie is story, characters, imagination, and heart. Finding Nemo has it all. Yes, it's a visual feast (the play of light on the water is breathtaking), but above all it's an epic journey filled with adventure and discovery that encompasses the grandest sweep of ocean vastness and the smallest longing of the heart. While preserving the characters' essential "fishy-ness," Pixar and the talented voice actors have also made them each wonderfully expressive.

While there are certainly some terrifying-looking creatures and scary moments in Finding Nemo -- including the off-screen death of Marlin's wife and future children -- there really are no bad guys here; the danger comes from a child's thoughtlessness and from natural perils. And there are no angry, jealous, greedy, or murderous villains as in most traditional Disney animated films. (One of the movie's best jokes is that even the toothy sharks are so friendly that, in an AA-style program, they keep reminding one another that "fish are friends, not food.") Another strength of the movie is the way it handles Nemo's disability. But best of all is the way it addresses questions that are at the heart of the parent-child relationship, giving everyone in the audience something to relate to and learn from.

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