Arctic Tale

Movie review by
S. Jhoanna Robledo, Common Sense Media
Arctic Tale Movie Poster Image
Kid-friendly film serves up inconvenient truth.
  • G
  • 2007
  • 85 minutes

Parents say

age 7+
Based on 3 reviews

Kids say

age 6+
Based on 5 reviews

Did this review miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive, diverse representations in books, TV shows, and movies. Want to help us help them? Suggest a diversity update

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

It's a Darwinian world, where the strong prey on the weak and the weak sometimes don't survive. The animals, not surprisingly, act like animals. The subtext is that humans have disturbed their habitat, though the viewer doesn't see any people actually engaged in destructive behavior.

Violence & Scariness

Surprisingly disturbing moments when a male polar bear stalks, and catches, his prey. Some close-ups of animals feasting on bloody carcasses.

Sexy Stuff

Animals perpetuate their species, but not in close-ups.


Clean. Fun and un-stuffy for a documentary, as in "That's how they roll."

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that though Arctic Tale is basically kid-friendly and introduces kids to the idea of environmentalism with a light, engaging touch, there are parts that may be disturbing, especially for kids six and under. For example, a male polar bear nearly captures (and eats) one of the cuddly baby bears with which viewers may identify. In another scene, while trying to save Seela the walrus from a predator, her sweet "aunt" dies and her carcass is eaten in full view.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byclairemaxmom April 21, 2012

the site's review forgot about the part where they leave behind the baby

I think the review by this site was appropriate, because it lets parents know that the polar bears do some things that are disturbing. But it left out the scen... Continue reading
Adult Written byBvetti April 9, 2008

Global Warming 101 for kids

My 6 yr. old and I saw this movie at a preview screening. It was a good introduction to global warming for older kids. The message was a little over her head,... Continue reading
Kid, 12 years old December 12, 2009

a good film with some peril

this film is good but there is some peril in it that younger kids six and under may find scary or mildly disturbing.
Teen, 14 years old Written byForever2121 November 9, 2009
I a fourteen year old have just seen this movie and i just think it is brilliant it shows the effects of global warming and how it affects such magnificent crea... Continue reading

What's the story?

ARCTIC TALE (from husband-and-wife filmmakers Sarah Robertson and Adam Ravetch) documents the lives of Arctic creatures at a time when their habitat is increasingly endangered. (It's not a strict documentary, as a fictionalized narrative has been attached to the visuals.) By focusing on Nanu, a polar bear, and Seela, a walrus, Robertson and Ravetch have made the doom-and-gloom global warming discussion that much more approachable for children. It's equally potent for grown-ups, too: The inconvenient truth is made more inconvenient by seeing how it affects Arctic wildlife.

Is it any good?

In many ways, it's great not to be hammered over the head with this lesson -- we've heard it a lot lately. (It also helps that the movie's decidedly laid-back; in once scene where walruses are described as a tight bunch, the song "We Are Family" comes on loudly.) But Arctic Tale may be a little too subtle for young kids to truly learn. Older kids, though, will get the hint, especially when the credits roll and kids like them are shown onscreen doling out advice on how to make a difference.

By now, few remain unaware of Al Gore's inconvenient truth: that the planet, as we know it, is threatened and suffering, a distressing situation partly caused by the choices we make and the way we live. But how to drive home that message to young kids? By telling a story, and telling it well.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how walruses and polar bears are like human beings. How do the "families" in Arctic Tale act like yours, and how are they different?

  • Has the media ever depicted animal life in this way before? What about the changing Arctic environment? What is causing all the change? Is it unstoppable? How can humans help?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love animals and the environment

Themes & Topics

Browse titles with similar subject matter.

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.

See how we rate

Streaming options powered by JustWatch

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality.

Learn how we rate