A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What 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.
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 ...
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 and fairies, Adventures
- Run time: 94 minutes
- MPAA rating: G
- MPAA explanation: some scary scenes
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.