La Leyenda de la Llorona

 
(i)

 

Highly original kids' ghost story with scares and subtitles.
  • Review Date: December 10, 2012
  • Rated: NR
  • Genre: Family and Kids
  • Release Year: 2011
  • Running Time: 74 minutes

What parents need to know

Educational value

An introduction to a well-known Mexican legend "The Weeping Woman." Depiction of some aspects of Mexican culture and mysticism.

Positive messages

A mother's love is boundless and protective. In this story based on a prominent Mexican legend, when two well-meaning children help a grieving mother's soul reunite with the souls of her children, peace and harmony is restored.

Positive role models

Funny, engaging characterizations of Mexican children, families, and their brave, but sometimes bumbling heroes. No true villains here; even the scary ghost is given strong motivation for her behavior and is redeemed by the film's end.

 

Violence & scariness

A shrieking, angry ghost haunts scenes throughout. With red eyes, bathed in green shadows, and with fearsome expressions she chases and abducts children, threatens their rescuers, and generally wreaks havoc in Xochimilco, Mexico. A brief scene shows a woman trying to put out a house fire as her children are set adrift in a nearby river. In addition, bizarre creatures on the infamous Puppet Island menace the heroes who try to stop the ghost. There are lots of pratfalls: slides, bumps on the head, a green monster with bad breath, a raging storm, and a Punch-and-Judy bashfest played out with creepy critters.

Sexy stuff
Not applicable
Language

A few iffy words: "Jesus," "damn;" some mild potty language: "pee," "the runs," "butt."

Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that La Leyenda de La Llorona, though funny and inventive, may not be right for kids who don't read easily, due to subtitles, or who can't handle the theme of untimely death at its heart. Based on a popular Mexican legend, "Llorona" is the ghost of a desperate, grieving mother who cannot find peace and holds herself responsible for the death of her children. She's a scary ghost who glides, chases, startles, wails, and captures innocent children. An additional collection of odd, menacing, but comical creatures inhabit an island into which the heroes fall from the sky. Despite multiple bumps, falls, fires, crashes, and ghostly attacks, there are no deaths or serious injuries; everything resolves happily.

Kids say

Not yet rated
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What's the story?

Llorona, a young mother of Mexican legend, has been terrorizing the town of Xochimilco since the death of her young son and daughter. Angry and unsettled, she wails and swoops through the city at night abducting other innocent children. The latest casualty is Beto, the beloved brother of young Kika (Monica del Carmen in an endearing portrayal), stolen on Halloween night. The town priest has sent a letter desperately asking for help from Mr. Andres (cleverly reminiscent of Don Quixote), who with his fire-breathing dragon and an orphan boy, rides the skies over Mexico in a hot-air balloon solving mysteries and rescuing the helpless. This band of heroes is renowned: well-intentioned, brave, and pure-of-heart. Unfortunately while on their way, the balloon crashes in a terrible storm. Mr. Andres and company land on Puppet Island, where they have other bizarre creatures to contend with. Falling to earth before his friends, the orphan -- Leo San Juan -- is rescued by Kika near Xochimilco and the two set out to stop the terrible ghost.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Filled with wonderfully inventive animation, witty dialogue, and rich characterizations, LA LEYENDA DE LA LLORONA is a treat for kids who read well enough to manage the subtitles, and who won't be upset by the legend of a dead woman who believes she is responsible for the death of her young children. There are scares, laughs, and, underlying all, a soothing premise -- that a mother's love is "a boundless and most precious gift protecting children in this world and the next."

This is a good movie to share as a family and might be a good subtitle starter movie.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about Kika and Beto and Leo San Juan. How are these children similar to or different from your friends and schoolmates? How can you find out more about kids from Mexico?

  • How do subtitles change the experience of watching a film?

  • As a little sister, Kika was both annoying and lovable. If you have brothers or sisters, how are they both annoying and lovable?

Movie details

DVD release date:October 21, 2011
Cast:Andres Couturier, Monica del Carmen, Yair Prado
Director:Alberto Chino Rodriguez
Studio:Anima Estudios
Genre:Family and Kids
Topics:Brothers and sisters, Monsters, ghosts, and vampires
Run time:74 minutes
MPAA rating:NR

This review of La Leyenda de la Llorona was written by

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Parent of a 6 and 6 year old Written byMichelle_Yvonne October 30, 2013
 

Disturbing

This film disturbed my children when they saw it at age 5. My son still has nightmares about La Llorona 18 months later. The idea of these children dying and the mother stealing "replacement" children is not appropriate for young children. Too many frightening characters and inappropriate potty language. One positive is that the storyline was changed (from the original that I heard growing up) so that the children's death is accidental.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much swearing

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