Parents' Guide to

Mia and the White Lion

By Tara McNamara, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 10+

Save-the-lions tale shows beauty, beastliness of humanity.

Movie PG 2019 98 minutes
Mia and the White Lion Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

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

Community Reviews

age 14+

Based on 5 parent reviews

age 18+

Agree with other 1 star reviews.

My 10 year old voluntarily stopped watching this. Horrible messaging. Very sad I allowed 13 year old to finish. What expert rated this 4 star?
age 13+

Mixed Messages

Although I think it’s an important film to bring awareness to the horrible practice of canned hunting, I was distracted and confused by the story because of the amount of family drama tied into the plot. It caught me by surprise to see the relationship between the father and the daughter just deteriorate throughout the film and it took the focus off the main message. Parents watching it with their kids younger than 13 should guide and bring the focus to the main Lesson.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (5):
Kids say (5):

Mia and the White Lion is so captivating that it has the potential to create a new generation of animal rights advocates. For tweens, there's the appeal of seeing someone their age have an adorable white lion cub as a pet. Ten-year-old Mia loves, snuggles, and plays with Charlie on her family's South African animal farm; it's pure fantasy for animal fans. In a remarkable feat, the movie was filmed over the course of three years, so everyone truly ages: Mia gets braces and grows long and lanky, Charlie morphs from adorable cub to dignified beast, and dad John (Langley Kirkland) has a beard that ebbs and flows while his own mane starts thinning. The unusual technique may have been done for practical purposes (apparently the only way to keep a child safe with a lion is for them to grow up together), but it's also an amazingly effective way to draw viewers in tighter to the family's concern for Mia.

That said, while audiences are set up to worry about Mia's safety, Charlie's may be the bigger concern. There's an alarming twist, and while the story is fictional, the reveal was inspired by a real-life event. And it delivers a gut punch with purpose, to create shock and outrage at the current state of legal trophy hunting in South Africa. Mia and the White Lion doesn't address some of the other underlying issues at play in South Africa (especially the long-lasting impact of colonialism), but it achieves what even some of the best nature documentaries can't: personalizing the experience of loving an animal at risk of extinction.

Movie Details

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