A Cat in Paris

  • Review Date: June 28, 2012
  • Rated: PG
  • Genre: Family and Kids
  • Release Year: 2012
  • Running Time: 64 minutes

Common Sense Media says

Animated thriller's action makes it best for older kids.
  • Review Date: June 28, 2012
  • Rated: PG
  • Genre: Family and Kids
  • Release Year: 2012
  • Running Time: 64 minutes

Age(i)

2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Positive messages

A Cat in Paris isn't heavy handed with messages, but there are a few that stand out: People are complicated, a thief may actually be ethical, and a seemingly kind woman might actually have less honorable intentions. Communication is beyond the verbal: Zoe can get her point across even without speaking. Family is ultimately more important than work.

Positive role models

The movie is filled with flawed characters: Nico is a thief but an honorable one. Jeanne is a fantastic detective, but she she's so overworked that she isn't always there for her daughter, Zoe. People who seem good are actually villainous. Zoe is mute but has so much to say with her face and her actions.

Violence

Although none of the violence is without consequence, there are several suspenseful action sequences, one of which results in a death. A character is accused of slowly poisoning people with her "perfume." A crime boss is a terrible shot and can't kill a spider with his handgun. The central cat kills lizards, and it's considered a good thing. A character falls to his death after a hallucination that brings Notre Dame Cathedral gargoyles to life in a scary manner. Zoe's mother Jeanne has frightening nightmares about the man who killed her husband; she imagines him as a menacing giant octopus. A barking dog is squashed but then is shown barking again.

Sex

Costa and Claudine are affectionate with each other, and he calls her his pet. A male nude statue has a penis.

Language

Mostly insults: "Son of a ...," "mangy cat," "stupid."

Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

It's France -- there's Champagne and wine at a dinner scene, and one character smokes a cigarette.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that A Cat in Paris is a French animated drama that was nominated for an Academy Award in 2012 and was subsequently dubbed in English. With its cops vs. robbers plot and several gripping action sequences -- not to mention a story that touches on grief, loneliness, moral ambiguity, betrayal, and revenge -- it's not ideal for preschoolers used to lighter cartoon fare. The violence includes gunfire, hallucinations, a man plunging to his death, and a woman who betrays a little girl's trust and then places her in harm's way. Some children will also be disturbed by the fact that Dino (the titular cat) routinely hunts and kills lizards. With a couple of exceptions, the characters are all flawed, and since the story is set in Paris, adults smoke and drink wine and Champagne.

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

Zoe (voiced by Lauren Weintraub) hasn't spoken since her father, a police officer, was killed. Her mother, Jeanne (Marcia Gay Harden), is an overworked Paris police detective who's determined to arrest her husband's murderer, organized crime boss Costa (JB Blanc), whom she suspects is planning a major art heist. Zoe is watched by her uptight nanny, Claudine (Anjelica Huston), and her only friend is her pet cat, Dino. At night, however, Dino leaves Zoe's bedroom and prances to the side of an unorthodox jewel thief, Nico (Steve Blum). As Jeanne makes plans to catch Costa before he steals the Colossus of Nairobi (an ancient totem being delivered to Paris for an exhibit), Dino eventually leads his two "owners" to meet, and Zoe bonds with Nico. A twist brings all the players together in a dangerous chase across Paris.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

There's a sophisticated simplicity to Jean-Loup Felicioli and Alain Gagnol's elegantly crafted caper. Meticulously hand drawn, the animators depict a highly stylized, vibrant Paris (is there any other kind?) that's full of colorful rooftops, restaurants, and statues that will make any viewer want to book a flight to the City of Lights. The plot (despite the one little twist) is easy to follow, and it captures some surprisingly hefty themes for such a short (64 minutes) film: grief, loneliness, moral ambiguity, betrayal, and revenge are all touched upon with a delicacy that's accompanied by an evocative jazzy score. They obviously didn't make this movie just for kids (if they had, Dino would talk), but also for adults who love animation.

It's obvious why the Academy chose to honor A CAT IN PARIS alongside Hollywood offerings such as Rango (which won), Kung Fu Panda 2, and Puss in Boots. While Puss is a cat of loud and flashy action (and lots of sarcastic quips), Dino is simply always there, knowing when to comfort, push, and prod. Even without words, Dino speaks to the characters (especially Zoe and Nico) and the audience in an authentic and often hilarious way. If you have older kids willing to read subtitles, give the French original a chance, but even the English-dubbed version is a wonderful reminder to children that animation is more than singing and talking animals or flashy 3-D sequences.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about how Paris is used as another character in the film. What are the landmarks that serve as a backdrop? Kids: Would you like to research more about Parisian architecture and culture, particularly Notre Dame? Where would you start?

  • How is A Cat in Paris different from most American animated films? How do you think the movie would have been different had it been made in Hollywood?

  • Is the violence in the story realistic or cartoonish? Discuss the way the violence has consequences.

Movie details

Theatrical release date:June 1, 2012
DVD release date:October 9, 2012
Cast:Anjelica Huston, Marcia Gay Harden, Matthew Modine
Directors:Alain Gagnol, Jean-Loup Felicioli
Studio:GKIDS
Genre:Family and Kids
Topics:Cats, dogs, and mice
Run time:64 minutes
MPAA rating:PG
MPAA explanation:mild violence and action, and some thematic material

This review of A Cat in Paris was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Parent of a 10, 13, and 17 year old Written byChoson November 17, 2012
AGE
8
QUALITY
 

Good to watch together

Watch it together. My 8-year-old loved it, though he cuddled close during the intense parts.
Parent of a 6 year old Written bybunnie911 May 7, 2013
AGE
7
QUALITY
 

Edward Hopper light and shadow

Visually appealing, interesting plot, and it kept my 7 yo. daughter's attention. Positive role models? None really. Some cartoon violence.
Teen, 16 years old Written byhappyginger January 19, 2013
AGE
8
QUALITY
 

Excellent Animation

Beautifully and uniquely animated. I enjoyed it; not your typical kid's animated movie, there were more "adult" emotions. Loved the idea of a cat that's literally a cat burglar.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence

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