Missing Link

Movie review by
Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media
Missing Link Movie Poster Image
Visually dazzling adventure is earnest, sometimes intense.
  • PG
  • 2019
  • 95 minutes

Parents say

age 10+
Based on 23 reviews

Kids say

age 9+
Based on 18 reviews

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We think this movie stands out for:

A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

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 & Representations

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.

Sexy Stuff

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."


"Oh, bother," "fiddlesticks," "poppycock," "sucks," "bugger," "oh God." A character is interrupted saying, "this cave smells like sh..."

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Gentlemen's club offers adventuring men a sanctuary where they can talk, smoke, and drink. Adults drink beer at a saloon.

What 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.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byHollieben April 7, 2019

Do not take young kids to see this movie

We won pre screening passes to this movie before it’s release date. There were balloon artists, face painters, sticker and coloring book giveaways- it was clear... Continue reading
Adult Written bynduns April 11, 2019

Absolute genius (though maybe not for the young ones)

I'm just gonna say it right now. This is one of the most brilliant films I have ever seen. This movie is chocked full of wit and charm and great writing.... Continue reading
Kid, 12 years old February 14, 2021

This film is so bad.

I can’t even describe how bad and poorly made this film is. Just don’t bother with this film.
Teen, 15 years old Written byLoranikas303 November 29, 2020

What's the story?

MISSING LINK follows Sir Lionel Frost (voiced by Hugh Jackman), who's determined to be admitted into London's prestigious members-only club for adventurers. He believes that finding the Sasquatch in the American West will provide the "missing link" between humans and early man. So Lionel makes a wager with the club's president, Lord Piggot-Dunceb (Stephen Fry): If Lionel can prove that Bigfoot is real, he must be allowed into the club. But the haughty lord isn't interested in Frost's Darwinist's theories and hires a hit man (Timothy Olyphant) to kill Lionel before he can return to England. In America, Lionel finds the Sasquatch (Zach Galifianakis), who can speak English and prefers to be called Susan. Lonely as the only one of his kind, Susan convinces Lionel to help him find his "cousins," the Yetis. Lionel agrees, but first they must get a map to Shangri-La from a fellow adventurer's widow, the fearless and fiery Adelina Fortnight (Zoe Saldana), who accompanies Lionel and Susan on a cross-continental trip to the snowy Himalayas.

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.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the violence in Missing Link. Is it necessary to the story? How much scary stuff can kids handle in movies?

  • How do the main characters demonstrate empathy and teamwork? Why are those important character strengths?

  • What audience do you think the movie is intended for? What aspects make it more mature than the average kids' flick?

  • How does the movie depict privilege and prejudice? Why do you think people are resistant to change?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love animated comedies

Character Strengths

Find more movies that help kids build character.

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