Want more recommendations for your family?
Sign up for our weekly newsletter for entertainment inspiration
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Meant to entertain rather than educate.
Focus is on bullying with confusing message. Bullies are shown to be those who lack confidence and have low self-esteem. When it's the hero's turn to be the bully, he enjoys his new role for a time, gradually realizing that it does not suit him. At film's end, however, Ivan appears to believe that it's better to be bullied than to be a bully and accepts his role as "victim" with a smile.
Positive Role Models
Ivan's father is a bullying, verbally abusive dad with poor values and little love or compassion for his son; he learns the error of his ways, but unconvincingly. With the exception of a miracle-working "witch," other adults are portrayed as either ignorant, shallow, weak, or unreliable -- usually a combination of these traits. Made in Denmark, there is no ethnic diversity.
Violence & Scariness
Cartoon action throughout, much of it hateful and directed against vulnerable characters. Bullies (including the hero's father) intimidate a variety of victims throughout. They punch, throw, spit, and are verbally abusive, with lots of name-calling. A woman hits her pet bird over the head with a banjo, then knocks him out to sleep. In a wild ride, Ivan and a schoolmate race through town upending everything and everyone in their path. A butcher appears with blood covering his white apron in several scenes.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Violence & Scariness in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Sex, Romance & Nudity
Female characters are drawn with prominently sagging bosoms throughout; one young girl's budding breasts are drawn with nipples. It's implied that Ivan is naked in a few scenes, though no nudity is visible.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Sex, Romance & Nudity in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Insults abound. Ivan is called a "yellow-belly," "jelly Tarzan," "little runt," "mega dork," and he's told that he is "no good at anything." Ivan's father is constantly mean and belittles his son. Spitting, peeing, belching are intended as humor; a book is entitled "Arty Farty."
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Language in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Ivan's dad drinks wine and another adult beverage in two scenes. A female bully appears to be chomping on a cigar in several scenes; it's actually a sausage.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Drinking, Drugs & Smoking in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Ivan the Incredible is the English-language version of a Danish animated movie. Kids used to the upbeat rhythm of American cartoons and movies will find this film's pace slower and some scenes repetitive. In an odd departure for a story with bullying as its theme, the underlying and puzzling message is that it's better to be bullied than to become a bully yourself. Ivan's father is a disrespectful blow-hard who cares little for his child's well-being throughout most of the movie. Cartoon action consists mainly of chases, punches, strong-armed intimidation, and name-calling. Though the animation is unique, often funny and inventive, most of the female characters are distinguished by great sagging breasts. Be prepared for some coarse behavior (i.e., spitting, peeing, belching). To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Some imaginative animation and a few funny, even endearing, characters and scenes can't make up for what at its core is an unpleasant tale. It's about a mean-spirited father taking out his own insecurities on his very vulnerable young son. Constantly comparing Ivan to Tarzan (his ideal), Ivan's dad is not only verbally abusive, but he's also materialistic, selfish, and ignorant. Mr. Olson's ultimate redemption is easy, but also very shallow and unsatisfying. And what Ivan learns over the course of his journey? It's that he doesn't like being a bully, but strangely, with a greater sense of self-worth, he can endure being a victim. Originally a Danish release, the film is more slowly paced than what U.S. audiences are used to, and the scenes of Ivan's humiliation soon become repetitious.
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.
Suggest an Update
Our Editors Recommend
Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.See how we rate