Arthur Christmas

Movie review by Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media
Arthur Christmas Poster Image

Common Sense says

age 5+

Fabulous, funny holiday movie about the Christmas spirit.

PG 2011 97 minutes

Parents say

age 6+

Based on 44 reviews

Kids say

age 5+

Based on 34 reviews

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Community Reviews

age 10+

Enjoyable movie for older children (disagree with general 6+ rating)

Nothing I can add that hasn’t already been covered in depth by other reviewers. One reviewer makes a good case about how the inappropriately awkward depiction of Santa and Grandsanta are trying to demonstrate how outdated these characters are, but imho these concepts are too complex for 6yos to grasp. Instead they’re more likely to think “haha, women do random stuff while their husbands are at work” (according to Santa) or “haha, it was hard to teach women to read” (according to Grandsanta). Or maybe these comments will completely go over their head (hopefully!) in which case, why are they in the movie? Maybe adults or older children will get them and appreciate them which again is why I say the age rating here is wrong then. Beyond that another thing I didn’t much like is the constant state of stress and peril. Inevitable I suppose given there’s a literal timer that comes up on screen as the protagonists set off on their journey to deliver the missed toy, but i feel the urgency this is presented in through the movie creates a feeling that’s too hectic for young children. My 7yo and 6yo boys didn’t laugh ones as it was either too fast or too confusing for them. And the supposedly funny characters like Grandsanta were really not as funny as the creators might think and definitely not very likeable (which is a shame when you consider this is meant to be Santa, or at least A Santa... I mean it’s meant to be a kids movie not “Bad Santa” with Billy Bob Thornton). Lastly there were more unnecessary scenes like the guy with the shotgun shooting at Arthur, the fighter jet shooting down Grandsanta’s sleigh (while he jumps off with no parachute leaving kids momentarily wondering if he falls to his death) and the Africa scene which I’m surprised some reviewers brush off as “very mild peril”. I’m guessing because the movie was presented in 3d in cinemas this is presented with a lot of gratuitous “in your face growling/roaring” which again very unnecessary. There are many fans of Aardman in this family, but this particular film was a bit disappointing, if nothing else because it felt like it wasted the nice ideas and concepts. Arthur himself is definitely a saving grace (and James McAvoy’s performance is excellent, as is everyone else’s to be fair), but he feels a bit lost in a movie which mostly seems to be about... Santa’s dysfunctional family? In closing I think maybe it’s my expectations going into this thinking it’d be ok for 6+ that marred my experience, I think if we watched this a few years down the line with older kids who might be better equipped to understand what the movie was trying to do with its depiction of the Santa family, maybe it would have been better.
2 people found this helpful.
age 2+


It was cute until I noticed the blatant racism and misogyny/sexism.

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