9

Movie review by
Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media
9 Movie Poster Image
Parents recommendPopular with kids
Visually stunning but scary fantasy for older tweens and up.
  • PG-13
  • 2009
  • 79 minutes

Parents say

age 11+
Based on 33 reviews

Kids say

age 10+
Based on 126 reviews

A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

Despite its often-bleak tone and some conflict among the characters, the movie's overwhelming messages are about banding together to battle evil, not leaving anyone behind, redemption, and self sacrifice for the greater good. As in the Terminator movies, there's a clear caution about giving too much power to machines/technology. There's also a spiritual undertone to some parts of the movie, especially in regards to how the main characters came to be.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The character 9 is resourceful, selfless, and brave from the start. He inspires the rest of his kind to band together and fight against the machines. The 7 character, who is female, is a fierce, independent warrior. Leader 1 is initially resistant to change, curiosity, and risk, but he sees the error of his ways in the end.

Violence

Several scenes of frightening machines attacking and, in several cases, killing the main character's friends. Although the battles are between ragdoll-like creatures and robots instead of humans and aren't gory, they can be quite intense and scary. There are also disturbing images of a machine being beheaded, characters having their life force sucked out of them, explosions, and other moments of intense, suspenseful peril. Dead human bodies are shown briefly, including a mother and child, and flashbacks and newsreel footage show an intense battle between people and rampaging machines. Weapons include spears and, in the flashback sequences, guns and chemical bombs.

Sex
Language
Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this dark, futuristic Tim Burton-produced fantasy may be animated, but it's not meant for younger kids. Violence and scary scenes are prevalent throughout the film, with the main characters frequently battling killer robotic machines -- which are merciless as they pursue (and, in several cases, kill) their ragdoll-like prey in frightening ways. The robots also make alarming noises and often pop up out of the blue. Dead human bodies are shown briefly, but there's no gore. On the up side, despite the movie's ominous tone and frequent peril and violence, there's no language, drinking, consumerism, or sexual content.

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User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bysml fan December 13, 2019

One of the best films ever

One of the best movies ive ever seen.
Parent Written byCaitlin B. May 23, 2019

Just as good as Coraline!

My husband and I just watched this movie today. While this was a really great movie, there was some scary scenes in this movie that could scary young children.... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written bySarah Madden May 4, 2019

Dark complex animated sci-fi is great for tweens and up

No blood or anything but some very disturbing images of death and war-time weapons and such. Just because it's animated doesn't mean little kids shoul... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written byTheamazingbread January 6, 2019

Darker than my emo persona

Ok. This movie, it's awesome. But this is not appropriate for kids. I saw it first when I was 6, and I had nightmares about the monsters(mainly the seamstr... Continue reading

What's the story?

Based on writer-director Shane Acker's 2005 Oscar-nominated short, 9 is set in a post-apocalyptic world where all that's left of humanity is a band of ragdoll-like beings created by an unnamed elderly scientist. When the final ragdoll, 9 (voiced by Elijah Wood), awakens, he sets off to explore his world. He stumbles upon another creature like him, 2 (Martin Landau), but they're quickly attacked by a mechanical beast, and 2 is taken. 9 joins up with the remaining ragdolls, who are split between those who want to confront the murderous machine to save 2 and those who want to hide from it. After 9 inadevertently powers up an even bigger machine, the group has no choice but to attempt to destroy the killer robot.

Is it any good?

Acker is a gifted filmmaker: The movie's visuals are breathtakingly crafted. Everything in a scene -- from the buttons and zippers on the ragdoll creatures' bodies to the stained-glass window in a deserted cathedral -- is amazingly detailed. The pacing is also just right. At only 79 minutes, the suspense is crisply edited, with a couple of moments earning audible gasps from the audience. Based on style alone, this is a brilliant, five-star film.

But story-wise, Acker falls a bit short. The plot is minimalist, and all of the characters -- aged and jaded leader 1 (Christopher Plummer), fiercely brave 7 (Jennifer Connelly), sweet but scared 5 (John C. Reilly), introverted artist 6 (Crispin Glover), and mute librarian twins 3 and 4 -- deserve more depth. We see 9 from his "birth," but the rest of the gang isn't nearly as strongly sewn together. Still, plot shortcomings aside, 9 is a must-see for its impressive, inventive animation.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the movie's violence and scary scenes. Is it any less scary because humans aren't involved, or is it still intense?

  • What is the movie saying about technology? Is technology portrayed negatively in other films?

  • Who do you think the movie's intended audience is? Do you think young kids will want to see it?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love fantasy and animation

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