A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Encourages kids to further explore the world of Dr. Seuss and promotes solid values in an engaging way.
In addition to its message about rejecting the commercialization of Christmas and celebrating love, family, and gratefulness, the film also shows how even the smallest kindness can change the hardest heart. The Grinch's behavior and hatred of Christmas is revealed to be the result of childhood bullying and cruelty.
Positive Role Models
Cindy Lou, the very young heroine, is willing to face the hostility of all in Whoville in order to stand up for what is right; she teaches everyone about generosity, kindness, and compassion. Her parents, embarrassed at first, later risk censure to support her. The town mayor is bumbling and wrong-headed. Only a sprinkling of villagers of color.
Violence & Scariness
Continuous accelerated, cartoon action. There are fires (one started by a flame-thrower), explosions, falls, many wild rides, crashes, and characters (particularly a little girl) teetering on the brink of disaster. No one is injured or killed. In many scenes the Grinch is menacing, contorting his face and body (one shot shows insects crawling between his teeth), cackling, chewing glass, and wreaking havoc on the town of Whoville.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
A married couple exchanges a comic, exaggerated kiss. Innuendo regarding a woman with cleavage.
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A few curses: "hell," "bitchin'." The Grinch angrily turns his butt to camera and says, "Pucker up and kiss it, Whoville."
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that How the Grinch Stole Christmas is an imaginative version of Dr. Seuss' beloved classic picture book, but it may be too intense and scary for the youngest or most sensitive kids. Ominous music accompanies the Grinch and his cartoon trouble making in multiple scenes. Jim Carrey, behind a rubbery green face, is the master of cackles and distorted facial expressions. A heroic little girl is in danger more than once. Kids who understand the difference between the real and the fantastical will delight in the chaotic, very funny mayhem. So will grown-ups. There are a few moments of crude humor along the way (i.e., the Grinch sticks his butt out and says, "Pucker up and kiss it," and several males ogle a buxom woman). To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Jim Carrey and the Grinch were made for each other, while Taylor Momsen, as Cindy Lou Who, is adorable without being sugary. The script has some clever lines, including a parody of the film's director (former Andy Griffith Show star Ron Howard) and a dig at those who say that "kids today are desensitized by movies and television." Another of the movie's great joys is hearing Anthony Hopkins reads Seuss' words the way we have always heard them in our hearts.
Bill Irwin as Cindy Lou's harried mailman father, Jeffrey Tambor as the vain mayor, and Christine Baranksi as a Who with Christmas decorations that would make Martha Stewart gnash her teeth in envy all make vivid impressions. Whoville, as imagined by production designer Michael Corenblith, is the most magical setting since Dorothy landed in Munchkinland. The structures suspend the laws of gravity; there are a fantastic series of archways, bridges, stairs and spirals. Whoville clothes and hairstyles echo these shapes and then are topped with candy canes, cups of hot chocolate, and frosted cookies. Overall How the Grinch Stole Christmas is a bright, colorful addition to family-friendly Christmas fare.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.