Parents' Guide to

Ruby Gillman, Teenage Kraken

By Tara McNamara, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 6+

Fun animated coming-of-age fantasy has thoughtful messages.

Movie PG 2023 90 minutes
Ruby Gillman, Teenage Kraken Movie Poster: A figure in the shape of a teenage girl lies on a bench with headphones on, while various mystical sea creatures dance above her

A Lot or a Little?

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

Community Reviews

age 7+

Based on 11 parent reviews

age 13+

Undermines parental roles- just like most movies these days.

Though I understand the message that was TRYING to be conveyed, what I feel like is more present is the idea that “your parents don’t know better- YOU know what’s best. So ignore your parents because their dumb rules only hold you back”. This message is very prevalent in lots of newer movies and shows, and is so dangerous considering a lot of boundaries set by parents are there for a reason far beyond a child’s comprehension. It was a weird movie in general. Do not recommend.
age 8+

I did not like that Ruby was argumentative with her Mom. Liked the coming together of her grandmother, Mom and Ruby.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (11 ):
Kids say (11 ):

A parenting gold mine, this literal fish-out-of-water story is completely entertaining and enjoyable for all ages, with plenty of positive messages. Director Kirk De Micco returns to the fertile ground he previously tilled in The Croods in telling the story of a teen girl who needs to get away from overprotective parents to realize her own capabilities. The message to kids can be applied in a variety of ways: "shine your light," "you have more power than you know," "a hero lies in you just below the surface," etc. There's also a nice nudge for grandparents -- yes, you have much to offer, but you can't force it. And for parents, Ruby Gillman, Teenage Kraken offers an important reminder of the fact that, sometimes, the rules we put into place to keep our kids safe may be preventing them from realizing their full potential.

Ruby's mom, Agatha, is a fully realized character, a successful realtor with a picture-perfect family -- as long as she can keep the family's secrets hidden. There's a lot of parenting wisdom sprinkled throughout the movie, but two scenes shine as examples of dealing with teen emotions. When Ruby is distressed by her new giant kraken form, Agatha sits with her, distracting her with funny stories, which calms Ruby into returning to her normal self. Agatha literally reduces the problem by being present and offering nonjudgmental support. Later, Agatha and Ruby are arguing, and Agatha digs in to her righteousness, escalating Ruby's rage until the girl is out of control -- in other words, demonstrating that fighting after you've said your piece only makes the problem bigger. These nuggets of wisdom are there for the taking, but the truth is, you don't have to do a deep dive to enjoy this ocean tale: There's plenty of fun floating on the surface.

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