Boy and the World

Movie review by
Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media
Boy and the World Movie Poster Image
 Parents recommend
Poignant hand-drawn story promotes family, environmentalism.
  • PG
  • 2015
  • 83 minutes

Parents say

age 8+
Based on 5 reviews

Kids say

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Observant/older kids will learn about the differences between country life and city life, as well as the perils of deforestation and the difficulties that laborers face when looking for work.

Positive Messages

Poignant messages about family and the desire to be close to those you love, the tension between industrialization and environmentalism, and the struggle to work and thrive in a busy city. Additional themes include courage and perseverance.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The boy's father sacrifices proximity to his family to work and provide for his wife and son. The boy is driven and on a mission to find his father and figure out the world. The parents are loving and kind. A couple of strangers help or look out for the boy.

Violence & Scariness

Mild peril as the boy almost gets hurt on a couple of occasions -- like when he's nearly hit by shipping containers. The family's separation could be stressful for younger/more sensitive kids, and scenes set in the big city may feel overhwelming.

Sexy Stuff
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Boy and the World is a Brazilian animated adventure with virtually no dialogue -- but you don't need words to follow this beautiful story of a young country boy searching for his father in the big city so his family can be reunited. There's no overly questionable content (though the boy does face some mild peril, and the family's separation could certainly be upsetting for younger/more sensitive kids), but there are some mature themes and overtones that are likely to go over little kids' head -- i.e. the tension between city life and country life (and the sometimes overwhelming nature of being in a big city), the struggle to make a living in an increasingly industrial world, environmental perils, etc. On the other hand, kids will definitely relate to the desire for a family reunion and having all loved ones nearby.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 6-year-old Written byLisa R. November 25, 2017

Gorgeous but Very Disturbing

Just a heads up, if you have a child like mine who is very sensitive (aka anxious) about environmental issues (Wall-E is also a movie she won't watch again... Continue reading
Parent of a 2 and 4-year-old Written byDanielle L. May 4, 2019

Perfect movie

This is one of my top 10 favorite movies and am so glad we choose it for our last movie night. My 2 and 4 year old loved it and asked to watch it again the next... Continue reading

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What's the story?

BOY AND THE WORLD follows a young boy who lives in the quiet countryside with his parents on their family farm. They have a close-knit little family, and things are fine until the boy sees big machines pop up on the horizon, spewing out black smoke. Eventually the boy's father heads to the city in search of work, and the boy, unwilling to see his family separated, follows him. The boy ends up on a journey to find his father that expands his world from his rural hometown to the big, sometimes-scary city with its parades and crowded living environments, slums, and factories.

Is it any good?

Brazilian animator Ale Abreu's hand-drawn animated tale is a beautiful, original story that's socially relevant but also sweetly entertaining for families. At first it might seem disconcerting that no one is speaking an understandable language, but dialogue is unnecessary. Audiences can easily fill in what everyone is saying/meaning, and Boy and the World's visuals and evocative score make up for the lack of language. As the boy travels in pursuit of his father, he realizes just how different the rest of the world is from his perceived paradise of a quiet farm town.

Abreu's hand-drawn style has a child-like quality that should entice younger viewers. The vivid palette, combined with the soaring Brazilian music, make the boy's journey a powerful one, because all he wants is his father back home. This is the kind of story begging to be analyzed for its multiple layers, so parents and kids (depending on their ages) can have several different conversations about all of the film's themes and imagery. But the boy's desire for his father is ultimately most compelling -- and how his journey takes him to places where he sees the extremes in which people can live is eye opening ... not just for the boy, but for viewers, too.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the boy's journey in Boy and the World. Why do you think adventures about kids on a mission are so popular? What are some lessons the boy learns on his voyage? Who helps him along the way?

  • How does the animation in Boy and the World mirror the boy's growing world? How does the animated city he encounters compare to his rural hometown?

  • How is this movie different from mainstream Hollywood animated films? Is it just the style, or are there other things that set it apart?

  • How does Boy and the World promote courage and perseverance? Why are these important character strengths?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love animation

Character Strengths

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