16 Wishes

Movie review by
Emily Ashby, Common Sense Media
16 Wishes Movie Poster Image
Parents recommendPopular with kids
Teen's errant birthday dreams hold good messages for tweens.
  • G
  • 2010
  • 90 minutes

Parents say

age 8+
Based on 9 reviews

Kids say

age 7+
Based on 36 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Educational Value

The movie intends to entertain rather than to educate, but it does include some strong messages about gratitude, respect, and friendship.

Positive Messages

Tweens discover that superficial ambitions (cute clothes and popularity, for instance) don’t bring the same happiness found in good friends and a supportive family. Communication is a strong theme, and Abby proves its power when she works out her differences with a longtime adversary.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Abby’s parents are loving and caring, despite her insistence that they don’t understand her. Abby’s experience teaches her to appreciate the fortune in her life and to give back to those she’s taken for granted.

Violence & Scariness
Sexy Stuff

One brief kiss between teens.


No cursing, but some use of “shut up” and “I hate you.”

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this Disney TV movie is a positive choice for tweens, who won't be able to help picking up on its messages about appreciating things like a loving family and loyal friends. There’s no iffy content to speak of, making it an age-appropriate choice for all but very young kids -- but tweens will reap the most benefit from tuning in. Abby’s journey through her possible near future offers an eye-opening (if slightly exaggerated) glimpse of where selfish endeavors and misguided priorities can take a person, giving parents a prime opportunity to chat with their tweens about their own desires for their futures.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byKaren1600 August 30, 2020

This movie is disturbing

There is a lot of kissing and a lot of inappropriate things don’t bother watching it
Adult Written byelaa.p September 29, 2018
how can I whatch this movie
Teen, 13 years old Written byjaylee_nicole February 17, 2021

amazing .

I give this movie a 100% . The creator should get a award ! there's no bad language , no inaproppiete scenes , no violence , and nothing harsh ! overall it... Continue reading
Kid, 11 years old March 21, 2018


Loved this movie it was great and had alot of positive messages Just be aware that there is one kissing scene put it's for like one milasecond.

What's the story?

Abby Jensen (Debby Ryan) has lived her whole life in anticipation of her 16th birthday, when she’s sure that all of the dreams on her birthday wish list will come true. When a mysterious visitor delivers a unique set of birthday candles, she discovers that lighting them corresponds with making some her dreams a reality. A new car and the attention of the cutest boy in school are all fun and games until one of her wishes has unexpected -- and unwanted -- results, leaving her racing the clock to figure out how to get her old life back.

Is it any good?

With its gentle reminders about the value of self-respect, good friends, and a supportive family, 16 WISHES has a lot to offer tweens. Just as valuable are its clear cautions against superficial happiness (i.e., donning designer clothes, hobnobbing with celebs, and catching the eye of a hunky classmate). Abby’s glimpse at the troubles that her selfishness can cause is a good caution against the same behavior, and hopefully tweens will think twice about their own priorities as a result.

With parents’ help, this funny, feel-good movie can do more good than just entertain your kids -- be sure to chat with them afterward about their impression of its messages and how it makes them feel and think about their own hopes and dreams.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the movie's intention. Does it aim to entertain, teach you something, or both? How well does it succeed? What did you learn from the movie? Does a movie or show need to have a "lesson" to be likable?

  • Tweens: What kinds of things would be on your own wish list? How do you prioritize the things you want? What do you value most in your life?

  • How does the media influence our desires and ambitions? What messages do commercials, TV shows, and movies send to us about what it means to be successful? How do these messages compare to your own idea of happiness?

Movie details

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Themes & Topics

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