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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
This production provides an introduction to African art, music, culture, and the structure of tribal communities.
Numerous clear, positive messages throughout. Most important, instead of Kirikou seeking only to destroy the sorceress, he wants to find out why she's mean and evil. When he does that, he is able to change the course of his village's history without violence. Other salient messages: "You can live without gold; you cannot live without water." There will always be people who are mean no matter how you treat them. The sorceress fights to keep her people from wisdom in order to retain her power over them. The more frightened her people are, the more powerful she is.
Positive Role Models
Kirikou, despite his age (barely a toddler) and size is a true hero in the purest sense. He models loyalty, bravery, wisdom, compassion, and honesty. The sorceress appears to be evil solely for the sake of power and evil itself. But when the source of her wickedness is uncovered and she is relieved of it, she, too, becomes a good person. Even her henchmen (called fetishes and animated as robots) are "delivered from evil" by the heroic Kirikou.
Violence & Scariness
There are some mildly scary images. An evil sorceress holds an entire village hostage with her malevolent voice, threats of magic, and an army of "fetishes" (not-very-scary robots). A skunk with bared teeth chases a toddler; a wart hog threatens the little boy as well as some animals; a snake is let loose to frighten the innocents. A boat appears to carry off a group of children. In two sequences, there are moments during which the audience may believe that Kirikou, the toddler hero is dead, but he soon revives.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
There is non-sexualized nudity in this highly-stylized animated film. The female characters, drawn simply and without great definition, are seen naked from the waist up throughout. Their breasts come in all shapes and sizes. Children are naked; a male toddler's genitals (again simply and without definition) are seen as a natural part of his body. Opening sequence depicts the outline of a mother ready to give birth. The baby, ready to be born, speaks to her from inside her body, then is seen crawling out from beneath her skirt, delivering himself.
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Some mildly insulting name-calling: "little toad."
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that while most kids (and grownups) will be charmed by and fully engaged in this film, there are some moderately scary images that might frighten the very young or very sensitive. The main child character is challenged by a skunk with bared teeth, a wart hog chases him, a boat carries off some of the village children against their will, and a villainous sorceress makes powerful threats and uses magic. The simple animation depicts the population of an African village with women naked from the waist up (breasts of all shapes and sizes are seen) and children sometimes naked or with a loin cloth. Kirikou -- the main character -- is a toddler, and his genitals are sometimes visible in profile but without any detail. 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 unique, beautiful film is thoughtful, funny, imaginative, and, at the same time, speaks to the best human impulses and behavior. Kirikou, the heroic toddler, with the wisdom of the ages and unwavering love for the world around him, does not wish merely to defeat the evil sorceress, but also to understand why she behaves as she does. Magically, because of Kirikou's tenacity and courage, the villain is not defeated, but redeemed. With vivid, simple animation that evokes African culture and its art, with music that enhances the always-engaging story, and with rich, full characters KIRIKOU AND THE SORCERESS is highly recommended. It's a movie that grownups and kids of all ages can delight in together.
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.