A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Meaningful lessons about standing up to bullies, being a friend, telling the truth, and coping with difficult times come through with minimal preachiness. Children of diverse sizes and ethnicities are depicted.
Positive Role Models
A close and caring multigenerational family is depicted. One character is picked on when her status as a temporary resident of a homeless shelter is inadvertently revealed.
Violence & Scariness
A diving board accident is portrayed in a non-graphic way.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Violence & Scariness in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Products & Purchases
Since the movie comes from the American Girl empire, it's bound to fuel desire for the Chrissa, Sonali, and Gwen dolls; as well as books, clothes, and accessories.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this movie packs a wallop of a message about bullying, but manages to entertain in the process. Watching as a family would be an excellent way to approach the topic of bullying as it may affect the children in the household. A new kid in town is picked on mercilessly by her 4th grade classmates. A recently deceased grandpa is discussed with tears and smiles. One character is mildly injured in a diving accident. Children of diverse sizes and ethnicities are depicted. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Let's hear it for great casting, understated child actors, and a strong vein of humor (in the form of Chrissa's imagined torment of her oppressors). Chrissa Stands Strong manages to skim the melodramatic after-school special feel that it might otherwise have. Hanratty and Tischler are perfect foils, and the evolution of side characters from doormats to strong girls is nice to observe. It's a relief, too, to see these modern 10-year-olds dressing and acting like children, not tiny adults. Michael Learned makes an appearance as a widowed grandma with a penchant for llamas, 30 years after The Waltons.
But the most valuable part of this movie is the way that it can pry open the door between parents and kids about the issue of physical, mental, and cyber-bullying. The parents, played by Annabeth Gish and Timothy Bottoms, make some missteps in how they handle Chrissa's woes, as do school administrators. Kids and adults alike may come away from this movie with a heightened awareness of the dangers of bullying, a better sense of how to identify it, and best of all, some approaches for addressing it.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.