Cats

Movie review by
Kat Halstead, Common Sense Media
Cats Movie Poster Image
Animated adventure has violence, peril, references to death.
  • PG
  • 2019
  • 87 minutes

Parents say

age 14+
Based on 10 reviews

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 5 reviews

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

The movie focuses on growing up and accepting the realities of the world. It teaches that it is important to explore and find yourself, but that ultimately happiness comes from within. A character's weight is continually referenced, often in derogatory terms.

Positive Role Models

Kitten Cape is brave and determined, yet lacks the experience to see danger ahead. His father Blanket is lazy and closed off from the world, but steps up to become a hero in order to save his son. Stray cats are shown to be resourceful and community-centered, though lonely and traumatized beneath the surface.

Violence

An unexpected amount of violence and peril includes characters being chased, attacked, punched, kicked, hit with objects, trapped in cages, electrocuted, and given CPR. There are instances of characters falling from a balcony and presumed dead, lost and shivering in the snow, stuck underwater, suffocating and passing out, flying across the city from a dangerous height, and crushed in a machine resulting in them being crippled, going mad, or even dying. Plastic bags are filled with dead animals and a character gets stuck on a conveyor belt moving toward an incinerator. There is mention of the death of a parent and of bribes being paid for protection.

Sex
Language

Insults include "idiot." Consistent references to a character's weight, such as "fat" and "fatty."

Consumerism

Some bottles in the bar look similar to real-life brands, including Jack Daniels.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Characters drink alcohol in a bar on numerous occasions, including beers and spirits. Another consumes wine at home.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Cats is an animated adventure about a young kitten who runs away from home in search of a mythical land, and contains a surprising amount of violence and peril. The mythical land, called "Peachtopia," can be read as an allegory of heaven. There is mention of the death of a mother, and there are numerous occasions when characters find themselves in danger. The level of violence is unusually high for this kind of movie, with characters kicked and punched, while death is often alluded to. Alcohol is also prevalent, with many scenes taking place in a bar. While there is no strong language, frequent references are made to a character being overweight, with him referred to as "fatty" and constantly getting stuck. Overall, the story is about growing up, accepting the world, and finding happiness within yourself. The movie is also known as Cats and Peachtopia in some territories.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byLaura Storm December 30, 2020

Horrible and inappropriate

The villain of this film is a sadistic artist who kills animals and makes sculptures out of their dead bodies. So many uncomfortable conversations after watchi... Continue reading
Adult Written bymamaj2014 June 5, 2021

Horrible, terrible movie not fit for any age - especially not children

This movie is what prompted me to get on commonsense media at last - while the preview made the movie look suitable for younger children (age 5-8ish) actually w... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written bytheaternerd15 September 3, 2021

Just NO!

terrifying, graphic, and just wrong. This movie proves you should always read the reviews first. if i could give 0/5 stars i would
Teen, 15 years old Written byJhonny31 July 7, 2021

Pawsitively Depressing

Trash, don’t recommend watching it animal abuse and other stuff are shown here and other stuff, but overall it was depressing and the end was confusing…like wha... Continue reading

What's the story?

In CATS, young kitten Cape (voiced by Nicole Tompkins) is bored of his cushy life in a city apartment and longs to explore the world in search of his mother and a mythical land called Peachtopia. His father, Blanket (Dermot Mulroney), however, prefers the luxury of their day-to-day life. But, when Cape runs away, Blanket -- with the help of a female macaw -- must venture out into the city to find him, running into old friends and new enemies along the way. Captured by a terrifying sculptor, who uses real-life animals as molds, Cape must join forces with his family and new friends to save themselves and the other trapped animals from a fate worse than death, all the while coming to terms with the reality of the Peachtopia myth.

Is it any good?

Cats lacks the craftsmanship of its Pixar and DreamWorks counterparts, but it's not without merits. The animation is bright and colorful, the cityscapes and rural landscapes are rendered beautifully -- if without much panache in the detail -- and the characters are emotive with the required cuteness. The plot follows the familiar story of a curious child -- or kitten in this case -- in search of something that ends up existing inside themselves. It also, in good-old Disney style, throws in the death of a parent to really get those tears rolling.

Considering that the movie skews toward a young audience -- with few references or additional levels to appeal to older viewers -- it feels unnecessarily dark in its frequent violence and references to death. It does, however, maintain a level of excitement and hits all the emotional notes to keep viewers fully engaged in what is a fairly generic story told well, but one that lacks the final flourish to make it unique.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the cartoon violence in Cats. Did you find any of the scenes too extreme for a movie like this? What's the impact of media violence on kids?

  • There are several references to Blanket's weight. Did this seem mean? How do you think Blanket felt about being called "fat" and "fatty?" Why does language matter?

  • What does Cape learn from his father? What kind of things have you learned from your parents or guardians?

Movie details

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