A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What 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.
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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?
LA LEYENDA DE LA LLORONA is filled with wonderfully inventive animation, witty dialogue, and rich characterizations. It's 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.
Talk to your kids 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?
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