Four Kids and It

Movie review by
Stefan Pape, Common Sense Media
Four Kids and It Movie Poster Image
Magical family adventure has positive messages, mild peril.
  • PG
  • 2020
  • 110 minutes

Parents say

age 10+
Based on 2 reviews

Kids say

age 6+
Based on 5 reviews

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We think this movie stands out for:

A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Predominantly made for entertainment rather than education, but as movie is based on a book, younger viewers may be inspired to read. 

Positive Messages

Curiosity, self-control, teamwork are all prominent themes. Messages about finding love and happiness after breakup of a family. Learning that friendship and family are far more important than money.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The four children exhibit positive morals and avoid using their newfound magic powers for any wrongdoing. Anthea, the oldest, is a patient, compassionate, thoughtful girl who strives to do the right thing. But all four do disobey their parents and head off on an adventure without permission.

Violence & Scariness

Mild threats and violence toward children. A child is held at gunpoint. Magical powers are used in self-defense -- a character is thrown against a wall. A character punches another, but it's comedic in its execution. A character briefly catches fire but comes to no harm. Dangerous driving.

Sexy Stuff

Mild references to sex and infidelity. When two characters go to kiss while wearing African masks, a character describes the scene as "ethnically insensitive erotica."


The word "bloody" is used. Arguments involve hurtful comments but no profanity. Some potty humor: burping and farting.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Characters drink wine casually in the evening at home. A child reaches for a drink but is swiftly told off.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Four Kids and It is a sweet magical adventure based on Jacqueline Wilson's children's book Four Children and It. Full of positive messages and life lessons, it's about smart, compassionate kids who understand that you don't need materialistic objects to enjoy life. Though they disobey their divorced parents' wishes and leave town without permission -- and argue with them frequently -- over time, they understand that their parents can find love again. The primary antagonist, Tristan (Russell Brand), does pose a threat, though he's presented as a caricatured mustache-twirling villain. He intimidates the children with a gun in one scene, and they use their powers in self-defense to throw him against a wall. There's also a moment when he catches fire, and there's some dangerous driving, too. But in the end, themes of curiosity, self-control, teamwork are clear.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 7-year-old Written byCecile H. August 8, 2020

Fun modern turn on the classic book.

This story takes the children and It to the modern day, Russell Brand is great value, nice acting of the children. Is fun, unexpectedly story different from the... Continue reading
Adult Written byThatveganteacher September 30, 2020

Way to sexual and not vegan friendly

From the outside this movie seems like a family friendly movie. That’s what I thought when I took my family of 8 to see the movie but I was in horror when the u... Continue reading
Kid, 10 years old April 7, 2020

Four kids and it review

Watched the other day with my mum and we loved it. If there wasn’t an age limit to 2+, I would of so put 0+. This is a great film to watch so give it a try.
Kid, 6 years old July 19, 2020



What's the story?

FOUR KIDS AND IT tells the story of Alice (Paula Patton) and David (Matthew Goode), two single parents who fall in love and decide to unite their families on a surprise holiday to the seaside. It's here that their four combined children discover the magical creature Psammead (voiced by Michael Caine), who has the power to grant them all wishes. But not without a catch, as local eccentric Tristan (Russell Brand) wants this power for himself.

Is it any good?

There's an enchantment to this movie that's enriched by positive messages, even if they are a little contrived at times. Four Kids and It is based on the popular Jacqueline Wilson book, which in turn is based on the famous E. Nesbit story Five Children and It -- itself turned into a movie in 2004. Capturing the essence of both imaginative novels, director Andy De Emmony has crafted a movie that can be enjoyed by all members of the family.

The casting is excellent, not just of the four young leads. Brand, as the movie's playful antagonist Tristan, steals the show. In fact, the one major shortcoming of the movie is that actor's lack of screen time. Caine is also brilliantly employed as the voice for the creature Psammead. It's fair to say that the budget was clearly modest, with the special effects somewhat lacking, giving Four Kids and It a TV movie feel. But this doesn't take too much away from a fun-filled and entertaining fantasy that easily passes the time.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the role of families in Four Kids and It. How does the family dynamic change throughout the movie? How does divorce impact a family -- both for children and parents?

  • Discuss the idea of friendship. The children in the movie make friends despite coming from different backgrounds. How does communication help with this? How can you use media to help your kid's communication skills?

  • The children are granted wishes in the movie. If you could wish for something, what would it be? What could you wish for that could help change the world for the better?

  • One of the children fulfills a dream of becoming a pop star. What do you want to be when you're older? Why? How might you start to achieve these dreams?

  • The four children display compassion, patience, and kindness. Why are these important character strengths? Can you give any examples of when you've demonstrated any of these traits in real life?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love fantasy

Character Strengths

Find more movies that help kids build character.

Themes & Topics

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