I love Common Sense Media and usually agree with their reviews, but I was puzzled by their take on "Brother Bear." I think it's a wonderfully earnest, touching story about family, responsibility, and love.
I'm also thrown off by CSM's headline that this is for "kindergarteners only." My oldest is four so maybe I don't have a full sense of the kindergarten age group, but I do know that I wouldn't watch this with my child until I was ready to have some serious conversations about death -- a major theme in this movie. I can see it being helpful or inspiring to a kid experiencing loss, if the child is the right age. From start to finish, loss of immediate family members and threat of mortal peril are part of the story. As cute as those bears and moose may be, this is a parable with some heavy themes. I think that would make it a substantive, entertaining, and meaningful film for kids the right age, but I wouldn't share it just any preschooler or even kindergartener.
I think the movie raises some relevant and kid-accessible points about perspective, fear, and perceptions of good guys and monsters. The portrayal of the Inuit culture is beautiful -- I don't know enough about them to say whether it's on point, but I thought it was a wonderful community to get to know. The music is great, heartfelt but not corny.
I look forward to sharing this with my son someday. I'd feel good about sharing this movie with a kid who is ready for it. It's full of humor, entertainment and magic, while still being thought-provoking and good fodder for some important conversations. I'm not a big Disney fan of most Disney movies, but this one is making me rethink my stance.