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Parents' Guide to

Earwig and the Witch

By Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 8+

Book-based CGI fantasy has scares, lacks spark.

Movie PG 2021 82 minutes
Earwig and the Witch Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 10+

Based on 5 parent reviews

age 13+


The blue hair witch actually physically hits the little girl on her head in one scene, and roughly grabs and shake her shoulder in another... Verbally and emotionally abusive... The mandrake is beyond terrifying, hes the stuff of nightmares... Not appropriate for kids... very disturbing No learning outcomes whatsoever... Now i have to deal with the consequences of watching it with my kids... so much regret here... not studio ghibli material.. i feel like i got scamed
age 10+

Actually made an account to review this

I just watched this, and actually made a commonsensemeida account to review this movie. I have never in my life watched a movie that made less sense than this one. I get that it's been switched from its original Japanese to English, but that shouldn't affect the plot, if there had been one. The voice cast and animation were bearable, I guess, but I literally finished the movie and almost said aloud, "What on earth did I just watch???!" If I wanted to tell you the story line, I couldn't find the words - there is literally, but actually, no plot whatsoever. It's quite astounding, to be honest. I have no idea who is the villain and who isn't. Is the protagonist supposed to be good? Or an annoying brat? Is the witch supposed to be evil? Then why does Earwig have a picture of her on her mirror along with the people she loves? Does she like the witch? Hate her? Who really knows? Definitely not me, or anybody who still has a couple of brain cells to rub together. Please, if you have watched this and can find some semblance of a coherent plot, I beg you to let me know.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (5 ):
Kids say (5 ):

It's not just Studio Ghibli purists who will object to the merits of the company's first computer-generated film, because it lacks an emotional center, a robust plot, and a charming protagonist. Earwig is clever, curious, and fearless, but she's also undeniably self-centered and controlling -- even boasting that there's no point in leaving the orphanage because it would mean fewer people to boss around. The animation is an obvious, purposeful departure from Ghibli's iconic hand-drawn style, and while it's laudable that Goro Miyazaki (the late, legendary Hayao's son) is trying to expand the studio's offerings, the result might be too different. It's as if Pixar were to release a quirky stop-motion movie or something like Wolfwalkers or The Secret of Kells. Something just would not compute.

The departures might have been easier to digest if Earwig and the Witch were generally a better film, but it's underwhelming and unlikely to be a crowd-pleaser -- even with the English-dubbed version featuring Musgraves' singing and the gravitas of Grant and Stevens, both of whom are fine voice actors. Despite the movie's flaws, families and kids will still find moments to enjoy, particularly the relationship between Earwig and Thomas the cat. But it has a lot of unanswered questions, and you have to wonder whether Miyazaki simply chose the wrong book to adapt. Jones also wrote Howl's Moving Castle, but Earwig isn't a fraction as magical.

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