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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Children can see other kids using their imaginations rather than being on screens. Kids who have read the book can think about how the medium of film contrasts with print.
Be kind, tell the truth, listen to others, don't name-call, don't play tricks on others. Getting into trouble doesn't define your character. Imagination is a wonderful thing, but it must be used responsibly and respectfully.
Positive Role Models
Parents demonstrate patience and kindness when kids get into trouble. A teacher demonstrates patience and grace with her pupils; the school principal doesn't. Two sisters taunt and annoy each other endlessly. Two girls are the best of friends despite their differences. They stick with each other despite others' questioning their friendship.
The students at a local elementary school are racially diverse.
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Violence & Scariness
Kids believe there are ghosts beneath the school, which they say was built on top of graves. They create a potion to cast a spell to do away with the ghosts, and their descriptions and visualizations of the ghosts and their skull-ridden den could scare very young viewers. The principal is threatening to students, who believe she has kids locked up in the school. She's depicted as a dragon. Kids read books on voodoo and the occult. A girl chops off a lock of her sister's hair; the sister wakes up and is frightened to find an intruder in her room.
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"Moronic," "tushie-tush," "stupid," "weird." Pee and fart jokes.
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Products & Purchases
The Ivy + Bean book series and other adaptations.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Ivy + Bean: The Ghost That Had to Go, based on the bestselling book series, is about two little girls with vivid imaginations who sometimes envision potentially scary scenarios. In this movie, the girls imagine ghosts haunting a skull-ridden underworld cemetery beneath the school. A scary, dragon-like principal punishes students, who believe she has kids locked up in a closet. Kids read books on voodoo and the occult, and one girl chops off a lock of her sister's hair in the dead of night. There are pee and fart jokes. Ultimately the film's messages are about the value of friendship as well as the value of a responsibly managed imagination. Language includes "moronic," "tushie-tush," "stupid," and "weird." 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 formula for Netflix's adaptation of the bestselling book series becomes clearer in the second entry to the series, where the titular dynamic duo confront an adult baddie and get into trouble. Again. Jane Lynch plays the mean adult in Ivy + Bean: The Ghost That Had to Go, and she does it with gusto, staring down her nose and dismissively sending the littles to detention. A funny scene has her trying on a pair from her beloved shoe collection and accidentally farting in the process.
The ghost plot feels like a pretense to get the gang together to embark on yet another imaginative adventure, this one involving circumventing parents, cutting a lock of hair from an enemy (big sister Nancy), and accidentally flooding the school bathroom. The girls are duly punished but stop to make a very sweet oath of friendship before they're sent to their rooms. The series captures childhood energy (like cartwheels across the school lawn) and ingenuity. It's good, innocent fun.
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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.
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