A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
An adaptation of a popular children's book, with elements from one its sequels. The film has many picturesque visuals of France in the last century -- some landmarks and cultural references.
Good things happen when the young heroine thinks positively, has faith that she can be effective, and stands up for herself and her school. Madeline helps a bitter, grieving man deal with his loss and react in constructive way.
Positive Role Models
Madeline is a wonderful example of feisty intelligence, a generous spirit, and a can-do attitude. Occasionally, she makes a bit more mischief than she should, but it always turns out well. Her teacher is loyal, steadfast, and courageous. Other than the buffoonish villains, adults and kids who border on mean-spirited or negligent are redeemed by the film's end. Some ethnic diversity.
Violence & Scariness
Clownish villains (actual clowns who swallow fire, juggle, punch each other) attempt to kidnap two children and hold them for ransom. A few scary visuals are meant to unsettle the school girls: a tiger in a cage, escaping white mice, a snake, a boy trying to frighten them in a window, and a shadowy room in a museum. In addition to the kidnapping, Madeline has several close calls: appendicitis, a fall into the river, and a careening chase through the woods with kids on a motorcycle trying to escape from a truck.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Young girls make fun of an older woman's bra and undies. The girls sneak a peek at a kissing couple.
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A villain continually belittles his accomplices: "idiot," "stupid," and more. The girls call their landlord "Lord Cuckoo Butt" and "Lord Cuckoo Face." Some fart sounds, and references to a bra as a "booby basket."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
In one scene a woman has a schnapps bottle on the table beside her.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that, Madeline is a live-action adaptation of the classic children's book about Madeline, a little girl who lives in a boarding school in Paris. This version presents Madeline as an orphan who expresses an awareness that she has no family and no real home. It also merges elements from the book Madeline and the Bad Hat, including the Spanish ambassador's son, Pepito. Suspenseful scenes include Madeline with appendicitis; an accidental fall into the river; a clownish but perhaps scary kidnapping; a chase with two kids on a motorcycle; and the threat of the girls' school being closed. A caring woman dies after a long illness and a dog is lost (but eventually reappears). A few instances of insulting language, swearing, and a scene with the little girls having fun with their cook's undergarments. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Young children, especially fans of the books, will enjoy the film. Newcomer Hetty Jones is a spunky Madeline, brave enough to say "Pooh Pooh" to a tiger, smart enough to know that if she asks Pepito to be extra quiet he will find some way to do something noisy, and determined enough to find a way to stop Lord Covington from selling the school his late wife loved so dearly.
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.