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

Parents say

age 11+
Based on 33 reviews

Kids say

age 10+
Based on 118 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.


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.

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.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byMovie Man September 16, 2009

Visually Dominant, but Ultimately Confusing.

This is a good film. Good visuals, good action... but that's it. The most dangerous problem here is the plot holes. You could literally fall into the plot... Continue reading
Parent of a 7 and 9 year old Written byDadofTwoGreatKiddos January 17, 2010

Definitely not for kids.

This is WAY too dark for children 9 and younger. The premise here is that humans have all been killed in this dystopic vision of the future where killer machine... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byPoison Ivey September 13, 2009
***CONTAINS SPOILERS***At first you see dead bodies, (including that of a baby on a little bike meant for infants, a mother with a child in her lap, and a scien... Continue reading
Kid, 12 years old April 4, 2011
This movie creeped me out when i watched it in theaters. It has great roll models and messages, but intense violence with souls being taken out of the dolls.

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

For kids who love fantasy and animation

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