Parents' Guide to

The Little Mermaid (2023)

By Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 8+

Halle Bailey dazzles amid more intense live-action scenes.

Movie PG 2023 135 minutes
The Little Mermaid Movie Poster: Ariel sits on a rock under the sea, surrounded by fish and other undersea creatures

A Lot or a Little?

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

Community Reviews

age 6+

Based on 36 parent reviews

age 13+

Seagull say, “ “Yeah the Prince has been dropping his. He wants to, you know when humans sound nice like the penguins.”

Very disappointing they had to have the Seagull say, “ “Yeah the Prince has been dropping his. He wants to, you know when humans sound nice like the penguins.” Not appropriate or needed.
6 people found this helpful.
age 7+

Amazing/ fantastic movie to watch 💖

The best Disney live action movie I've ever watched. Halle Bailey was amazing and, her voice was absolutely breathtaking. The movies quality was flawless, and the cinematography was amazing! Would watch again!
4 people found this helpful.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (36):
Kids say (9):

Bailey's dazzling performance as Ariel makes director Rob Marshall's nostalgic live-action Disney adaptation worth watching, even with an overlong runtime. The singer/actor/Beyoncé protégé makes Ariel's siren songs her own, hits all the right notes (literally and emotionally), and is irresistibly charming, earning the film an extra star thanks to her must-see portrayal. McCarthy is entertaining as the still campy (and always greedy) Ursula, and Tremblay and Diggs are adorable as Ariel's faithful sidekick and glorified babysitter. Hauer-King's handsome Prince Eric is simultaneously broodier and cornier than his animated counterpart, and Awkwafina is, true to form, extra as goofball Scuttle. Of the four new songs (courtesy of Lin-Manuel Miranda), the Ariel-focused "For the First Time" and the second reprise of "Part of Your World" work quite well, while the Scuttle-Sebastian duet "Scuttle" is forgettable but forgivable, thanks to Diggs' brief rapping. Prince Eric's "Wild Uncharted Waters" is earnest, and Hauer-King has a good voice, but, let's be honest, viewers want to sing along to their favorites, even if the lyrics have been slightly tweaked (especially notable in "Poor Unfortunate Souls," but it's for the better).

Bailey definitely carries the film. Bardem adds almost too much gravitas to the role of Triton, while Ariel's beautiful, multicultural (they represent the Seven Seas) sisters -- even Simone Ashley of Bridgerton season two fame -- have little to do but look like an underwater version of Tinkerbell's fairy besties. It's too bad, because the screenplay could have elevated the sisterhood angle that was somewhat glossed over in the original. While none of Disney's live-action reboots are strictly necessary, there's a lot to enjoy about The Little Mermaid. Go for the nostalgia (eagle-eyed viewers will see the original voice of Ariel, Jodi Benson, in a cameo), but stay for Bailey's voice, which is a treasure as precious as Ariel's dinglehopper.

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