By Nell Minow,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Beautiful, not factual depiction of missing Russian duchess.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Beautiful animation depicts simple sights, sounds, and culture of Europe in the early 20th century. The movie shows the geographical connection between Paris and Moscow, as well. Though based on overthrown Romanov royalty at the time of the Russian Revolution, this tale of Anastasia is a fairy tale rather than factual.
Fairy tales can come true. Goodness and perseverance are rewarded. Evil is destroyed by courage, honesty, and doing the right thing. Life is full of choices; make good ones and never give up hope.
Positive Role Models
Anastasia is a thoroughly modern, courageous role model for girls. She's feisty, honest, stands up for herself at all costs, and is effective even in the most dangerous of physical pursuits. Dimitri, the young hero, is her equal and they work together to achieve their goals. Though Dimitri is not 100 percent honest early on, his true goodness and loyalty surface by the finale.
Violence & Scariness
Anastasia faces a powerful enemy (often appearing as a rotting corpse) who has placed a mighty curse on her and her family. Cartoon danger in several sequences: the fiery destruction of a castle and its surroundings; a runaway train on fire, as it heads for a crumbling bridge; the heroine sleepwalking on a ship in torrential rains, precariously in danger of being thrown into the sea. After a scary attack, Anastasia believes Dimitri is dead, but he awakens almost immediately. In one scene the young princess slaps her "prince charming" in anger.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
A young woman and a young man fall in love over the course of the film, kiss at the end.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Anatasia is a very romantic, fun, animated fairy tale about a long-lost princess and her quest to find her family and rightful place in history, but it's intercut with scenes in which the evil Rasputin attempts to kill the young heroine. Thus, Anastasia and her helpmates are often in great danger (i.e., a runaway train, a fall into a raging sea). In many of the villain-centered scenes (which young or very sensitive kids might find scary) Rasputin's body comes apart and he's surrounded by green bats, dark music, and crashing noise.
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Based on 13 parent reviews
A bit violent and very un-historic, with pleasant songs
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Good but with strong horror scenes
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What's the Story?
In this retelling of the mystery surrounding Russian Tsar Nicholas II's daughter, little Anastasia and her adored grandmother (voice of Angela Lansbury) are separated after escaping the execution of the royal family during the Russian Revolution. Years later, "Anna" (voice of Meg Ryan), who remembers nothing of her early years, leaves the orphanage where she has been raised and goes off in search of her family. She's discovered by a couple of con men who have been searching for a young woman they can pass off as Anastasia, to get a reward from the dowager grandmother, who now lives in Paris. They convince her that they are just trying to help her find out whether she is in fact the missing Anastasia, never suspecting that she really is. Trying to stop her is the evil spectre Rasputin, who becomes so angry that pieces of his face and body fall off and have to be reapplied.
Is It Any Good?
A sumptuous (if completely inaccurate) animated story about Anastasia, this movie will captivate kids and their families. The animators learned their craft at Disney, and it shows. Other than the mostly forgettable score, the production is first-class, with an appealing heroine, exciting action, glamorous settings, and a tender love story.
Anna is smart, brave, and loyal. She is also a rare leading lady who vanquishes the bad guy on her own. This film may prompt older kids to learn more about the real story of the Romanov family.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about how Anastasia (as depicted in this film) compares with other royal film characters, such as Princess Fiona of Shrek, and Sleeping Beauty's Princess Aurora.
How do you feel about the scary parts of Anastasia? Does the funny bat character Bartok help make the scenes with evil Rasputin easier to watch?
Families can also use this film as a springboard into further research about the real Anastasia and Russian history.
- In theaters: November 21, 1997
- On DVD or streaming: February 19, 2002
- Cast: John Cusack, Kelsey Grammer, Meg Ryan
- Directors: Don Bluth, Gary Goldman
- Studio: Twentieth Century Fox
- Genre: Family and Kids
- Topics: Princesses, Fairies, Mermaids, and More, Adventures
- Run time: 94 minutes
- MPAA rating: G
- MPAA explanation: some scary scenes
- Last updated: March 1, 2023
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