Brightheart: Let Your Light Shine

Movie review by
Tom Cassidy, Common Sense Media
Brightheart: Let Your Light Shine Movie Poster Image
Off-target animated insect adventure has killing, threat.
  • NR
  • 2021
  • 85 minutes

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Kids will learn about fireflies, insects, and solar power. The concept of short circuits also play a part in the story.

Positive Messages

Teamwork and not judging others before you get to know them. Characters -- even those perceived as being the heroes -- resort to violence and even kill their enemies.

Positive Role Models

Brightheart is a firefly superhero. She becomes jealous and sad when her friends pay attention to Aurora, a bigger, brighter, and new exciting arrival. For a while her happiness depends on the opinions of others but she learns to look within. Aurora is an explorer robot from space who is curious and helpful. King Mouse hordes stolen food and is mean and greedy. Solomon is a thief beetle who tries to make Brightheart steal. He has a change of heart when Brightheart saves him. Twigg tries to trick Brightheart into touching a bug lamp to kill her. All insects live together and use their different skills for the good of everyone. Baddies manipulate Brightheart by exploiting her bad feelings. Humans are portrayed as being bad with little regard for insects.

Diverse Representations

Positive and well-rounded gender representation. Some animosity between different species of insects. Some diversity among the voice cast.

Violence & Scariness

A beetle sits on a lit firecracker, a mouse king brandishes a spiked club, and characters are chased by a big fish. A character tries to kill a firefly by making them touch a bug zapper lamp. A human hits an insect with a fly swat. A character is trapped by a spider and wrapped up in its web. Character's robes catch fire and burn off. A group of characters trick a fleet of crickets into being killed by the bug zapper lamp. Another is kicked onto the lamp. Twitching corpses shown around it. Groups of bugs fight and throw each other around. A runaway tractor threatens to wipe out the village. A firefly fries themselves causing a short circuit and their charred corpse is shown before they're revived. Mention of murder and killing.

Sexy Stuff

A praying mantis character is infatuated with a robot.

Language

Frequent use of "butt." Infrequent use of "idiot," "imbeciles," and "stupid."

Consumerism

Frog with a big diamond bracelet mentions their "bling." A king says he can have whatever he wants, while showing various gold objects.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Brightheart: Let Your Light Shine is an animated movie with some mild threat, slapstick violence, but also insect characters being killed. Set within a village of bugs, the village's famous firefly, Brightheart (voiced by Justine Huxley), is forced to face up to feelings of jealousy and her own self worth when a robot comes to visit. Her happiness is dependent on how much others think she's special and important. But she eventually recognizes her shortcomings and learns to appreciate the new arrival. While much of the action is played for laughs, some scenes may prove too much for younger viewers. A group of crickets is tricked into being fried in a bug lantern with their leader being kicked into it. A character is eaten by a fish and the village is nearly wiped out by a runaway tractor. Brightheart's light -- found on her rear -- is a big plot point, so "butt" is said frequently, along with infrequent use of "idiot" and "stupid." A praying mantis is in love with the robot and becomes besotted. A frog is obsessed with his "bling" diamond ring, while a mean king says his power means he can have anything and shows off his gold objects.

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What's the story?

In BRIGHTHEART: LET YOUR LIGHT SHINE, a bug village's famous firefly becomes jealous of a brighter new arrival in the form of a robot called Aurora (voiced by Daisy Hamilton). Determined to beat Aurora, Brightheart (Justine Huxley) joins forces with her former enemies.

Is it any good?

For the most part, this animated adventure for younger kids merrily zips along as we learn about the bug village where the titular character lives. The language and threat level of Brightheart: Let Your Light Shine all appears to be appropriate for its target age group. And then the killing happens. Central to this change in tone is a bug lantern, which first appears when an enemy tries to trick Brightheart into touching it and dying. She avoids that fate but quickly sets up a trap in which a group of crickets do get fried.

When -- in a few scenes later -- Brightheart and her crew decide to save another group of enemies, because "they are not killers," it's difficult to know if they're deliberately being contradictory or if they've simply forgotten what happened earlier. The English language voice cast is good, the animation is bright and attractive, and the message of understanding is positive. It's just let down by the killings, which isn't a phrase best suited to a movie aimed at young kids.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the level of violence in Brightheart: Let Your Light Shine. Did it feel appropriate for a movie like this? Why, or why not? What's the impact of media violence on kids?

  • Did you like Brightheart as a character? Why, or why not? Did she have any positive character strengths. If so, what were they?

  • Discuss what kind of feelings Brightheart had when Aurora arrived. Why do you think she became cross and mean? Have you ever felt jealous of anyone? What are some good ways to deal with those feelings?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love animated adventures

Themes & Topics

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