Little Spirit: Christmas in New York
By Emily Ashby,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Boy's magical travels are holiday fun for the whole family.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Leo's parents are devoted to each other and to him and work hard to help him adjust to their new surroundings after they move. A couple of young characters use cell phones to text friends and snap pictures.
Violence & Scariness
Neighborhood kids gang up on Leo and pelt him with snowballs during a snowball fight, but he's not hurt.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
A married couple exchanges kisses a few times (to the embarrassment of their young son). In one scene, a dog hides under a bra in a department store.
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Products & Purchases
A few scenes show Macy's department store decked out for the holidays.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this heartwarming holiday story is perfectly appropriate for the entire family. There's no worrisome content and plenty of adventure and Christmas spirit to be found in the main character's magical travels and encounters with friendly, caring strangers. At the heart of the story is a strong family headed by devoted parents who always put their son's feelings first.
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Where to Watch
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What's the Story?
In LITTLE SPIRIT: CHRISTMAS IN NEW YORK, a friendly cab driver (voiced by Danny DeVito) entertains a pair of sisters with the story of a young boy named Leo (Michael Hall D'Addario) and his unexpected adventures in New York City. Leo and his parents move to Manhattan when his mom gets a promotion at work, and Leo is worried he'll never fit in in the Big Apple. But when his dog, Ramona (Fred Newman), gets lost, a magical creature named Little Spirit (also Newman) arrives to help Leo find his pet. His subsequent travels introduce Leo to some new friends who help him feel more at home in the big city.
Is It Any Good?
It's rare to find a holiday special that entertains both kids and their parents, but Little Spirit fits the bill: It's full of holiday cheer and joy that the whole family will love. Viewers will be drawn in to the story by the endearing characters, whose need for a little holiday magic comes from relatable, real-world issues like uncertainty over a major life change or worries about parents' troubled relationship.
The story's messages of hope and joy are heartwarming; viewers familiar with the Big Apple will be particularly entertained by the show's inclusion of landmark New York sights like crowded city streets, Central Park, Macy's, and the Rockettes. Even NBC newsman Brian Williams lends his voice to the story as roaming reporter Rock Granite.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about the spirit of the holidays. How does the media affect our expectations of the holidays? Does seeing something on TV make you want it more? Why or why not?
What gifts did Leo receive from his adventures with Little Spirit? How do you think they changed him? What holiday experiences have you had that changed the way you look at your own situation?
What does the saying "It's better to give than to receive" mean to you? How might society be different if we all acted on that thought?
- In theaters: December 10, 2008
- On DVD or streaming: October 13, 2009
- Cast: Danny DeVito, Lucy Liu, Michael Hall D'Addario
- Director: Leopoldo Gout
- Studio: NBC Studios
- Genre: Family and Kids
- Run time: 60 minutes
- MPAA rating: NR
- Last updated: June 2, 2023
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