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Parents' Guide to

Kirikou and the Sorceress

By Renee Longstreet, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 5+

Enchanting folk tale with toddler hero, for all ages.

Movie NR 2000 75 minutes
Kirikou and the Sorceress Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 7+

Based on 13 parent reviews

age 4+

Precocious compassion and problem solving

This may be the most revered of films I have watched with my child! The film is so beautiful to watch and listen to, and the pacing gives lots of opportunities to be still and listen; it encourages the patience and attentiveness not fostered by so many children's films. It's also a good glimpse into a way of life that may be in some ways very different from our own. There's educational value in learning about another culture and how resources are used/shared in rural villages. I am absolutely blown away by the strong messages of compassion and resilience that this movie has helped me share with my son. Kirikou is born, or rather births himself, and is immediately asking questions. His mother is patient and nurturing, but still firm and honest with him. The parent-child dynamic they model is heartening. Precocious Kirikou is not satisfied with the oversimplification of Karaba the sorceress' character. (He later uncovers a subtle message that it's more about truth vs fear or ignorance than good vs evil.) What's more, he not only seeks to solve Karaba's evilness, but is able to see beauty in her despite her cruelty and greed. As Kirikou encounters challenges, we are let in on his problem solving processes, including his feeling tired, scared, etc. We see him persevere with indomitable optimism and courage, but also a solid understanding of who he is and what his limitations may be. SPOILER: Karaba's evilness and magical powers both stem from a thorn once forced into her back (a possible allusion to rape?). I constantly refer to "thorns" that people might have that cause them to make bad or mean choices. As my son matures, we discuss ways that we, like Kirikou, might help ourselves and others to resolve the underlying causes of our pain and sometimes subsequent bad behavior. It's been a gift to have this poignant metaphor to discuss such deep themes with my younger child. The illustrated nudity in this film is refreshingly respectful and non-sexual, though I see how Karaba's body jewelry might be surprising. Our family did not find it distracting. A child who's experienced breastfeeding and seen little kids naked won't see anything shocking. Also, there's a sequel: Kirikou and the Wild Beasts. I think yet another is on its way.

This title has:

Educational value
Great messages
Great role models
1 person found this helpful.
age 5+

Enrapturing and endearing!

A fabulous children's film that is culturally appropriate and offers a complex story with heroes from unlikely places, the wisdom of children and the stumblings of superstition. Kirikou is a delightful hero who reveals their insecurities, weaknesses and struggles and invites the audience in to bear witness to their vulnerabilities endearing him even more to those that believe in him. My six year old was enraptured into the story in the first five minutes.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (13 ):
Kids say (2 ):

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.

Movie Details

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