A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Positive messages about friendship, identity, partnership. Shows why it's dangerous to want to preserve status quo and prevent change at all costs. Encourages people to put relationships, connections above aggrandizement and other selfish goals. Empathy, teamwork are prominent themes.
Positive Role Models
Sir Lionel is a courageous adventurer. He's determined but also self-serving and glory-seeking. "Susan" is gentle, kind, searching for connection. Adelina is fearless and brave. She helps Lionel and Susan, and encourages Lionel to see how his actions affect others. She's far from helpless "damsel in distress" type expected in Victorian-era/westward-expansion-set stories.
Violence & Scariness
Mostly gun violence, since there's an assassin after Sir Lionel and Susan; later, Adelina brings her own weapons to fight back. Pub brawl includes guns, fists, and Susan's super strength, which makes people crash through walls. Several pursuits. Physical comedy: property destruction, falls, minor injuries -- e.g., Susan running through a wall, pushing people through buildings, Sir Lionel hitting instead of clearing a wall. A grandmother is threatened at gunpoint, her infant grandchild also. A character is accidentally pushed, nearly falls off boat. A few people die, including one who's more lackey than villain. Sir Lionel, Susan, and Adelina are pursued with spears, later thrown in pit that's seemingly impossible to escape. Loch Ness monster starts to swallow a man but doesn't kill him.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Flirting between Lionel and Adelina, including a near kiss. While walking through a Western town, a woman throws Sir Lionel a kiss from a window; it makes her seem like a prostitute, but that will likely go over kids' heads. A moment later, a burly male prisoner also blows a kiss. A newspaper headline says of Sir Lionel: "Randy Aristocrat Caught In Flagrante with Russian Ballerina."
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"Oh, bother," "fiddlesticks," "poppycock," "sucks," "bugger," "oh God." A character is interrupted saying, "this cave smells like sh..."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Gentlemen's club offers adventuring men a sanctuary where they can talk, smoke, and drink. Adults drink beer at a saloon.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Missing Link is a stop-action/computer-generated animated adventure from LAIKA, the studio behind Kubo and the Two Strings, The Boxtrolls, and ParaNorman. Starring the voices of Hugh Jackman, Zach Galifianakis, and Zoe Saldana, the movie -- which feels like a cross between a road trip comedy and a buddy adventure -- follows a 19th-century English adventurer (Jackman) who teams up with a lonely Bigfoot (Galifianakis) to find his distant relatives, the Yetis of the Himalayas. Expect some violent scenes in which guns are used, as well as a few character deaths (though they're all in the "bad guy" camp). One climactic sequence is particularly tense, as is a terrifying moment when a villain threatens a grandmother and her infant grandchild at gunpoint -- but (spoiler alert!) it all ends well for the main characters. Language is limited to "bugger," "sucks," and historical slang like "poppycock." There's a bit of flirting but no actual romance, although there are references to Sir Lionel's rakish past. There are positive messages about friendship, identity, and partnership and themes of empathy and teamwork, but given the storyline and the humor, Missing Link is better suited for older elementary schoolers. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Charming and beautifully animated, LAIKA's buddy Bigfoot adventure is funny and sweet, if not quite as poignant as Kubo or as memorable as Coraline. There's slightly more style than substance here, but the style is amazing. As the end-credits sequence illustrates, LAIKA's combination of elaborate stop-action animation enhanced with computer animation is simply stunning -- no detail is spared, from the texture on the era-appropriate clothes and the fur on Susan and the Yetis to the grand landscapes of snow-capped mountains and the clutter of Victorian-era London's busy streets. LAIKA's films are so intricately made that you can rewatch them and catch something new to focus on each time, particularly backgrounds and secondary characters.
As for the story, it's a fairly straightforward unlikely-friendship adventure. Lionel and Susan learn from each other and become a comical odd-couple duo, with Adelina a much-needed force turning them into a functional trio. Adelina's competence and quick wit (her marksmanship is as notable as her beauty) are matched by her empathy for Susan's plight. Adelina's fast-paced banter with Lionel makes it seem like a romance between them is inevitable, but the movie isn't a love story -- it's about friendship and progress. The villain, Lord Piggot-Dunceb, is a fabulous reminder of what happens when privileged elites scoff at change or at those who challenge authority. Of course, there's no class element, since Lionel and Adelina are both rich, too, but the message is still clear: Pride comes before the fall (quite literally), and empathy and generosity are more important than self-absorption and glory.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.