A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Meant to entertain rather than educate.
"Just because it's a story doesn't mean it's not real." "Mankind can never live without dreams." The world of imagination has more than just entertainment value. Don't judge from the way things and people look, because the treasure is hidden inside.
Positive Role Models
Aunt Eleanor was kind and encouraging. A junk dealer trying to steal Eleanor's collection of first edition books is a swindler. As the deadline for disappearing nears, the characters begin to fade into transparency, underscoring the urgency for Nat to save the day. The white rabbit bravely fights off the crab so his friends can escape. Nat shows courage in the face of peril. A child-eating ogre puts aside his normal appetites in favor of friendship. An annoying big sister turns out to be an ally.
Violence & Scariness
A storm shuts down the electricity and damages the roof as scary music plays. In what seems to be Nat's unpleasant daydream, letters come flying out of books, knocking Nat down. A wicked witch shrinks Nat. He is tossed through pages of giant books as the world goes temporarily black and white. He and storybook characters are chased by toddlers, crabs, and swirling ocean water.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Eleanor's Secret is a 2010 French animated family treat that will enchant kids with its reverence for fairy tales and emphasis on the importance of make-believe. The action begins after the death of a beloved aunt who read stories aloud. Her absence means that characters from the world's great children's literature she loved so much face the possibility of disappearing. Her young nephew Nat, who struggles with reading aloud, is anointed "The Great Reader" by his aunt, charged with saving the stories. A wicked witch shrinks him to the size of his books' illustrations, and, from that disadvantage, he must evade such terrors as a normal-sized toddler's grabby hands, a crab's pincers, and other magnified perils as he labors to save the fairy tales. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
This charming celebration of the imagination is a visual and emotional gem. The delightful animation in Eleanor's Secret is quirky and reminiscent of the vivid drawings of the Stinky Cheese Man illustrator Lane Smith. Although an ogre, a wicked witch, and mildly perilous adventures may worry smaller children, the idea that fictional characters from different stories are all friends who band together to save themselves so that more kids may enjoy them is something most kids can happily root for.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.