Long Way North

Movie review by
Yvonne Condes, Common Sense Media
Long Way North Movie Poster Image
Thrilling tale about a girl's search for her grandfather.
  • PG
  • 2016
  • 81 minutes

Parents say

age 7+
Based on 3 reviews

Kids say

age 5+
Based on 1 review

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Educational Value

Some nautical/navigation information, and a bit of history about the period the movie takes place in, as well as how expeditions were mounted at the time.

Positive Messages

Strong messages about loyalty and doing what's right instead of what's convenient or easy. Courage and perseverance pay off in the end, and a sheltered, pampered girl learns to be humble and self-reliant.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Sasha is smart, resourceful, and hard-working, and she saves the day more than once -- but she makes some iffy choices. She follows her instincts and believes in her grandfather's work -- so much so that she runs away from home and sets off on a dangerous adventure. She also gets on a boat with sailors she doesn’t know, with only one other person in the world knowing where she is. The ship's captain puts his crew before everyone else. The first mate takes Sasha's valuable earrings as payment for taking her on a voyage, then leaves without her (though he's redeemed later). Nadya shelters Sasha and helps her grow stronger.

Violence & Scariness

Frequent danger and peril. Sasha runs away in the middle of the night and jumps onto a moving train. She's dared to climb up the side of the ship. There's a dark and terrible storm at sea. The ship is crushed in the ice. Secondary characters die, and main characters' fate is sometimes iffy. Ice cracks as characters walk on it. Sasha is blamed and threatened. The sailors fight each other. The captain threatens to shoot his crew if they don't follow orders. A polar bear threatens the group. Spoiler alert: It's shown that Sasha's grandfather died in the snow. For a moment viewers may think Sasha has died.

Sexy Stuff

A man tries to kiss Sasha. She's working on the boat with the boy she likes, and she falls over on top of him. Flirting. Boy gives Sasha CPR. They hug.


Some taunting -- "fool," "idiot," etc.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Social drinking throughout the movie, including at a ball held by Sasha's parents. Sasha works in a bar where there's drinking and smoking; a drink is thrown in her face.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that A Long Way North is a beautifully made, hand-drawn animated film set in late 19th-century Russia. It follows an aristocratic teenager as she goes in search of her grandfather, whose presumably failed quest to find the North Pole has left her family in disgrace. Sasha is brave and resourceful and often in peril: She runs away from her family, jumps on a moving train, survives a shipwreck, and is lost in a snowstorm. Other characters are also in danger, injured, and even presumed dead; they also argue and threaten each other (at least once with a gun), and some men insult/leer at Sasha, both on the boat and in the bar where she works for a time. There's very mild language ("fool," "idiot"), as well as some drinking and smoking. Although some of Sasha's choices are a bit iffy, her courage and perseverance pay off, and ultimately the movie has strong messages about loyalty and doing what's right instead of what's convenient or easy.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 8-year-old Written byLewisFamily42 January 1, 2020
Adult Written byRonjasMom November 13, 2019

We enjoyed this

It's a bit bleak, but the story is riveting.
Kid, 9 years old January 28, 2017

Really good moivie

It's really good because the animation is supreme and the storyline is amazing. Also it shows you that you can do anything

What's the story?

At the start of LONG WAY NORTH, in late-1800s Russia, young, aristocratic Sasha is devastated when her beloved grandfather's ship goes missing during his quest to find the North Pole. When the search for him is abandoned and her family is left in disgrace, Sasha is determined to find out what happened. Despite her parents wishes to see her married off to an appropriate suitor, she runs away, leaving her comfortable life behind to embark on an epic adventure to save the person she loves most.

Is it any good?

This is a beautiful hand-drawn animated film with a wonderful story. Sasha's parents want her to stop dreaming, act appropriately, and get married, but she does none of those things, instead finding her inner strength and believing in herself as her instincts take her on the adventure of a lifetime. The movie could have been a typical princess story, but instead it explores how Sasha rises to the challenge of surviving on her own.

Long Way North isn't in a rush to tell its story. Viewers are allowed take in the gorgeous animation and see Sasha grow into a confident leader who's both knowledgeable and quick to learn. She's told over and over that she doesn't know what she's talking about and that she's not capable of finding her grandfather, but she proves everyone wrong. There's so much to like in Long Way North -- from the beautiful images to the powerful story -- that older kids and parents will love watching it together.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about Long Way North's scary moments. What makes them feel that way? Does something have to be violent to be scary? How much scary stuff can kids handle?

  • How does Sasha demonstrate courage and perseverance? Why are those important character strengths? How does her adventure help her learn humility?

  • Sasha leaves her comfortable life with no money and no help. Have you ever had to strike out on your own? Or learn something new by yourself? How did it go?

  • Sasha knows her parents are looking for her, yet she doesn't try to contact them. Do you think she was justified in leaving them with no word of where she was going? What are the dangers of running away?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love adventures and animation

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