• Review Date: January 22, 2014
  • Rated: PG
  • Genre: Family and Kids
  • Release Year: 2013
  • Running Time: 101 minutes

Common Sense Media says

Subtitled film about grief and cooking is heavy but sweet.
  • Review Date: January 22, 2014
  • Rated: PG
  • Genre: Family and Kids
  • Release Year: 2013
  • Running Time: 101 minutes





What parents need to know

Positive messages

Canela offers strongly positive messages about taking time to grieve and the importance of moving on. It also espouses strong family associations and the importance of community, tradition, and maintaining intergenerational relationships.

Positive role models

Characters are realistic and relatable. Most adults are present and engaged, and some are selfish or mean-spirited. Children are realistically innocent and knowing.


There are very minor instances of scary injury or roughness. In one scene, a woman shoves a man out of his seat. In another, a woman grabs a child by the arm roughly. A woman slips and falls and breaks her arm. An older woman has a heart attack but survives. Throughout the film is the heavy tone of grief and loss.

Not applicable
Not applicable
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

In one scene, adults have wine with dinner.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Canela's premise involves a young girl whose mother has died and who reappears on occasion to guide her. Additionally, the young girl's guardian grandmother has a heart attack but survives. Overall, it's an upbeat story, but children dealing with the loss of a parent could be keenly affected. It's also subtitled with a long run time of 101 minutes, so it's a must that viewers are quick, skilled readers with a good attention span.

What's the story?

Family restaurant El Molcajete and its traditional Mexican fare were once the pride and joy of Maria (Isabela Yudice), her mother, and her grandmother Dona Tere (Ana Martin), where, on occasion, they all cooked together. But when her daughter passed away, Tere couldn't go back into the kitchen, and now competitive chef Rosi is running the show. Maria just wants to get her grandmother back to cooking at the restaurant so they can continue the tradition together; only, now the two of them must try to stop Rosi from trading the cherished customs of the past in favor of the latest fleeting culinary trends.

Is it any good?


CANELA is a vibrantly shot, heavy, but uplifting subtitled film about a young girl's passion for cooking and her love for her family. Set in Mexico, it's a sweet tale of grief, intergenerational love, and what it means to honor tradition and still live in the present, and it nimbly intertwines the pain of grief with the joy of childhood and the mischief of adventure.

Kids (and parents) who enjoy cooking will appreciate the comical kitchen rivalry. Parents can appreciate the arguments here for tradition versus flash-in-the-pan trends as well as the terrific girl role model found in Maria. But, for all its humor, due to more mature themes of grief and loss, it's best for older kids.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about doing things the old way versus the new. What are good reasons for honoring traditions? What are good reasons for keeping up with the times?

  • Have you ever had a rivalry with a friend or schoolmate over something? What was it? How did it turn out?

  • Everyone processes grief differently. Have you or has your family lost a person or pet dear to you? How did you deal with it?

Movie details

DVD release date:April 12, 2013
Cast:Ana Martín, Isabel Yudice, Norma Angélica
Studio:La Casa de Cine
Genre:Family and Kids
Topics:Adventures, Great girl role models
Run time:101 minutes
MPAA rating:PG
MPAA explanation:Rated PG for mild thematic elements

This review of Canela was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

Find out more


Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

About our buy links

When you use our links to make a purchase, Common Sense Media earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes. As a nonprofit organization, these funds help us continue providing independent, ad-free services for educators, families, and kids while the price you pay remains the same. Thank you for your support.
Read more

See more about how we rate and review.

What parents and kids say

Write a user reviewThere aren't any reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.


Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?

Common Sense Kids Action