A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Meant to entertain rather than educate.
Christmas is about finding joy in the world. All kids deserve to have Christmas. Believe in oneself. Stand up to bullies.
Positive Role Models
Julius learns to stand up for himself, fight for what he believes in, celebrate the magic of Christmas. Three villains are bullies with no heart. Male characters move the story.
Violence & Scariness
Cartoon suspense and action. A young boy is in peril throughout: plummets from a cliff; falls through ice, is chased, threatened in multiple scenes by bullies and a cackling, scary-looking villain. Exaggerated "fairy tale" violence includes a "wrapping machine" that cuts everything into pieces (Santa, an elf, and a little boy are thrown into it; they survive).
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Insults and name-calling, i.e., "liar," "pig," "dumb."
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Finding Santa is an animated (2016) Christmas movie from Denmark that's being released in the U.S. (in English) in 2019 for the holidays. It's a fairy tale with appealing, old-fashioned animation and with some of the cartoon suspense, scares, and mildly ghoulish violence that has been associated with the fairy tale genre. A little boy is in danger in multiple scenes. He's tormented by bullies; chased by a cackling, grotesque villain; and appears to plummet from a cliff into a dark abyss. Other likable heroes are menaced as well. A diabolical "wrapping machine" is used as a frequent threat because it destroys anything placed in it, including humans. There's also some name-calling. Viewers should be aware that the film addresses the existence of Santa and much of it takes place in an orphanage. It's not for little ones and may be disturbing for any kids not fully comfortable with real versus pretend violence. On the plus side, the movie has positive messages about standing up for yourself, believing in the spirit of Christmas, friendship, and teamwork. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
The welcome appearance of hand-drawn, artful animation, along with a sweet Christmas score, give way to a story that simply has too much malice to make it a memorable, seasonal family event. The bullies in Finding Santa do learn a lesson, but their turnaround is flimsy. The dangers that Julius and his friends must overcome are powerful and, at their core, a bit gruesome: being chewed up and spit out in pieces, fighting for air in an icy lake, plummeting from a steeper-than-steep cliff. That doesn't take into account the actions of the despicable young villains and Santa's vicious ex-aide. It's iffy territory here for kids looking for a sweet holiday tale.
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.