Parent reviews for Moana

Common Sense says

Great characters, memorable music, some monsters/scares.
Based on our expert review

Parents say

age 6+
Based on 74 reviews

Kids say

age 6+
Based on 117 reviews
Adult Written byB L November 23, 2016

Moana

Took our 6 year old to this and really liked it. Glad we went to this instead of Trolls-a worker at our theater told us a little girl left because she was scared/upset about trolls being eaten :( Our daughter is very sensitive so we are pretty picky about what she sees & this was not scary to her, no fears at bedtime tonight after it! There are a few parts that I would call more suspenseful than really scary images, like a storm, a creepy crab & sea creatures trying to get Moana, & the lava monster. This did not scare my dtr, but she was scared by the black panther (?) in Zootopia & the clown in Inside Out & even the bears in Brave lol. I absolutely loved the beautiful bright colorful imagery & music in this movie & the message of a brave strong adventurous girl, her touching moments/strong ties with her family, their culture, and Maui learning how to be a good friend. It was fun & overall lighthearted. One of our new favorites.

This title contains:

Positive messages
Adult Written bySchternli November 24, 2016

Lovely and nuanced...

We took our 5 children (ranges from ages 2 up to 12) to see "Moana" and were not disappointed. All the kids loved it, except for the 2 year old. It was a bit scary for her, and she required some breaks outside during a couple scenes. The storytelling is brilliant, with a lot of facets. My husband and I both liked that we could come up with multiple "morals" for the story, and our kids each came away with different talking points. We loved the visuals, as well as the music. Moana herself is in the model of Merida--a strong, brave girl who is figuring out who she really is, while rejecting the idea of a typical "princess." We loved her relationship with her grandmother and the message that people older than us can give us valuable insights into who we are and what we are capable of. With the figure of Maui, and some great comic relief characters, it also has a broad appeal to both boys and girls. One of the best Disney films in recent years, and one we'll definitely own.

This title contains:

Positive messages
Adult Written byTeanna B. November 22, 2016

Come Sail Away!

Realizing I was a bit culture/history/mythology impaired when it came to Planet Ocean, the vast swath of the Pacific settled by Polynesian voyagers millennia ago, I did some research. I am certain Disney did too, I seem to have followed in their wake. First, look up some Maui legends. They're ubiquitous across the Pacific. They're "superhero stories" in the same vein as our modern comics, only these were told down the generations without ever being written down. There are a number suitable for kids. I found a number of documentaries and books on the wayfinders, the voyagers who with their wa'a, vaka, or wakas (spelling depends on what part of Polynesia you're from), their double hulled voyaging canoes, navigated using the sun, stars, shape of ocean swells and movements of birds across insane distances when our European ancesters were terrified to go out of sight of land. The song "We Know the Way" (by south Pacific group Te Vaka... yes, it means The Canoe) outlines this entire history beautifully. There is a line in the song "we see the island in our minds", a direct reference to a conversation between one Nainoa Thompson and Mau Pialug. Nainoa was a young native Hawaiian who joined a group of folks called the Polynesian Voyaging Society. they had built a replica voyaging canoe, Hokule'a, in Hawaii. No one knew how to navigate the old way, the knowledge had been lost. On a tiny island called Satawal, one last navigator remained, Mau, and he taught others as a kind of "Yoda of the Sea". In one lesson he asks Nainoa if he can see the island. Of course not, it is thousands of miles away. Nainoa thinks, and finally says "I can see it in my mind"... the right answer. Hawiki Rising tells this story and would be great for older grade school or high school kids. The music not only has some great Disney composers, and that dude who did Hamilton!... it has some fabulous South Pacific music in Te Vaka and Pasifika Voices. Look up some of their other work and share it with your kids. Te Vaka in particular, puts up videos with the Polynesian language lyrics as well as the English translations. I think this film brings us closer to a culture we mostly have known little of, or have stereotypical views of. This gives us a deeper glimpse into a part of human history and exploration, a set of skills and knowledge, that is even more important today as we lose our connection with Planet Ocean. See this, research some of the wonderful things that went into it, talk about it with your kids, and "malama honua" as the crew of Hokule'a would say... care for Planet Ocean.
Adult Written byCosette V. November 25, 2016

Great message but difficult to follow for the younger crowd

I took my 7 year old and 4.5 year old to see Moana this weekend. Overall there was nothing that was overtly questionable or inappropriate (unlike Secret Life of Pets, which I thought was extremely inappropriate at times). The music was awesome and has already been requested in the car. (UPDATE: We bought the soundtrack and listen to it daily!) The "Lava Monster" towards the end was was a bit scary, but no more so than the final scenes of "The Little Mermaid" when Ursula becomes the sea witch. Without spoiling anything, the Lava Monster even has some redeeming qualities that help with the overall story at the end and make him seem less scary when it's over. They also battle a giant hermit crab who was kind of dark and creepy, but again, nothing that most children (though maybe not the most sensitive) would be overtly bothered by. My only comment is that the story line, which is based off of Polynesian folklore, was a bit hard to follow for my kids, especially the 4.5 year old. I had to explain exactly what was going on and she missed many of the parallels throughout as I suspect most small children will, especially if they're not really paying attention during the first 3 minutes when the folklore tale is told. Neither knew what a "demigod" was which made it hard to understand why Maui was different than Moana. Also, at one point the Moana and Maui are fighting the hermit crab underwater, which confused my 7 year old as to how Moana was breathing. (I don't think my 4.5 year old even realized that they were supposed to be underwater.) Both kids said they liked it, but I think a lot of it the storyline will be missed by younger kiddos. As far as promoting children not listening to their parents as some reviewers have said... that's basically the premise for every single Disney movie so I don't see how this is any different. And while I am a Christian parent, I took the opportunity to educate my children that there are some people in the world (especially where Moana lives) that believe that there are many gods, even though that's not what we believe to be true. I'm not really sure why some are so threatened by that. Overall it's a great film with a great message for all kids but you may have to walk the younger kids through it.

This title contains:

Positive messages
Positive role models
Adult Written bymatt c. December 10, 2016

Shape-shifter demi-god, bad movie!!

Shape-shifter demi-God! Tattoos! Disobedience to parents, reckless behavior, and a song glorifying a demi-god to give him thanks for all of creation!
Educator and Parent of a 3 and 5 year old Written bySara L. November 28, 2016

Not great for youngsters still learning their faith

I once again wish I hadn't taken kids to PG movie (can someone release a G film, please). At ages 3 and 5, Moana had my kids asking questions about gods and demigods. And in a later discussion, my 5 year old questioned why parents wouldn't want a baby (and why they'd throw the baby into the sea). I recommend for ages 6+, when children have a better concept of fantasy.
Parent of a 3, 12, and 12 year old Written byMaggieTT November 25, 2016

Disney hits one out of the park

I went in not knowing anything other than that they'd cast a young Hawai'ian girl as the voice of Moana and that Lin-Manuel Miranda had co-written the soundtrack. I assumed it was set in Hawaii. But I quickly realized that it's set in a kind of pan-Polynesian culture that mixes elements from Tahiti, Fiji, and Samoa. As an adult who has spent time in Polynesia and who loved the book Kon Tiki as a child, I just got happier and happier as this movie went on. A lot of funny and sweet moments. And the soundtrack is VERY Hamilton-like. This makes it a little less singable for kids but it's very clever and well done. There are a few scenes involving escape from / fighting monsters, both undersea and above. My three year old, who is a total chicken about scary movies, moved to sit on dad's lap during these scenes but didn't get upset or need to leave. One character, Maui, is a demigod in the Polynesian tradition. His tattoos and the ocean are sentient creatures in their own right. Another character comes back as a benevolent ghost spirit. Typical Disney magic is featured. The moral of the story is to listen to your inner voice about who you are and what you stand for, and what risks you're willing to take to protect your home and family. We LOVED this movie and are going back tomorrow to take the rest of our family!

This title contains:

Positive messages
Positive role models
Adult Written byKate C. February 28, 2017

Nice movie, but beware domestic violence issues

I did enjoy this movie, and my child loved it too, but I was painfully aware of the man-woman interactions in this movie being violent. Moana and Maui are both strong characters and have their disagreements, but Maui constantly uses his massive strength to throw Moana off the boat, and overpower her in other ways. When he got angry he reacted really badly and I was shocked and ashamed to have my daughter watching this and thinking that's how men should behave. Typical charmer when he's happy he's all smiles, but when things don't go his way gets violent and uncontrollably angry. A scenario that's unfortunately repeated in domestic violence scenes across the world behind closed doors - it's a worry when it makes it to kids movies and isn't even dealt with or frowned upon - on the contrary Maui is the hero of the movie. On the other hand, the non-angry bits are great, cute quips, good messages about believing in yourself, but the Angry man spoiled it for me.

This title contains:

Violence & scariness
Written byAnonymous November 26, 2016

Very good but a bit werid

Very good but a bit werid for Christians.

This title contains:

Positive messages
Positive role models
Violence & scariness
Sexy stuff
Consumerism
Adult Written byNerdymom411 December 6, 2016

Great movie for the entire family

Please note that when I say "3 and up" I mean that it is safe for your 3 year old. However, there are some deep messages in the film that they probably won't fully understand until they're just a little bit older. My 3 year old didn't say much of the movie apart from their love of the chicken and Maui being so funny. My 5 year old, 7 year old, and twin 9 year olds had lots to say about the film. I think this is a movie that adults can enjoy a lot, although there are some moments that feel very kiddish, but that's to be expected. For the most part, it has the classic Disney feel and that's great! The film is receiving a lot of praise due to the fact that Moana has no love interest/there is never any romance even mentioned, like a betrothal of some sort. Hey, I am totally fine with this - I think it's good to have a princess here and there that remains single, but I don't like that people are "romance shaming" as if the other Disney princesses are weak because they found love. Moana's awesome, but I'd say Pocahontas is just as heroic if not more, and she found love. So did Mulan, who my youngest daughter adores. That being said - it's only the critics that say these things. There is no love shaming in Moana, but my 9 year old twins (girl and boy) have seen the movie praised for that on the internet, and have heard kids at school say "It's awesome that she didn't get a prince!" And I just don't like that. I don't like it seeming weak that princesses find love. I want them to feel encouraged to find it. Of course, they don't need it, but what's wrong with wanting it? I absolutely love my husband and have worked hard to make sure we always display a good example of what a relationship should be to them. I don't want them to see that as wrong. Again though - that's no fault of Moana, but if you feel the way that I do on that subject, just know that they will probably hear someone praise the film's lack of romance a lot and it may make them think that a girl is stronger than another because she's single. Aside from that, I don't have any qualms about this film as far as anything being too much for children. There are some "scary" scenes, but some of the least intense as far as Disney usually goes. Nothing bothered any of my kids, not even my 3 year old. My 7 year old son is obsessed with Maui, and while my other kids don't match his level, they all had lots to say about Maui and how funny he was. My 5 year old daughter especially took a liking to Moana, said her favorite scene was the "slow motion walk" at the end. They all loved the chicken. They also loved Pua, the pig, who I wish had been in it more! He really was cute and my daughters kept awwing when he was on the screen, but he's hardly in it. Anyway, a lot of great things to be seen in this movie. From an adult perspective, I personally prefer Zootopia, but I still loved it. I don't think there's anything that even a more sheltering parent would have to fear from Moana. (Fair warning - there is a character death, but it is probably the most mild of all Disney deaths. The grandmother dies of old age, and it is very sudden. We never actually witness her die, we just see her on the verge of it. She briefly mentions that when she dies, she wants to come back as a manta ray, and after Moana leaves the island, a manta ray follows her boat. Two of my kids didn't even realize she died until toward the end of the movie when she appears as a ghost. I liked this, though, because the message with this one was that even when people die, they are always with us. Great thing for my kids to see considering they're still coping with the a loss from the previous year.)

This title contains:

Positive messages
Positive role models
Adult Written bymagicalducktape November 28, 2016

Really, Really, Great!

Moana is an amazing movie for the whole family. There are a few intense scenes that might not be great for easily scared children, but overall it sends a positive message. In my mind, the music is some of the best from Disney yet, (being written by Lin-Manuel Miranda of course!) This story has lots of different meanings, not to be selfish, friendship, trust, and many more sideline views. I did find it a little bit hard to catch on with lots of action, but overall you get the main idea. I believe Moana is a very great movie, that you should definitely go enjoy!

This title contains:

Positive messages
Positive role models
Adult Written bySarah H. November 25, 2016

Perfect

Amazing movie, loved it so very much.

This title contains:

Positive messages
Positive role models
Parent of a 5, 9, 12, and 18+ year old Written byTerryGips February 19, 2017

WAY TOO VIOLENT but wonderfully done. DITCH so much Scary Violence Disney!

It's really too bad that Disney had to deliver SO MUCH VIOLENCE in many different forms for so long in what otherwise was an incredibly well-crafted movie with some great messages, important subject matter, powerful songs and beautiful images. I just don't understand why so much time had to be devoted to really scary, dark images. I find this seems to be a common theme in Disney films and I'm shocked that so few of your reviewers seem to mention it. It really troubles me because I believe our country and our children are being desensitized to violence, which is being further reinforced by video games, tv shows, movies, ads and gun violence. We aren't standing up and demanding films and a culture that is free of such un-needed violent images. Come on parents! Is this really the world you want your children to inherit? I love Common Sense and rely on it for reviews. While Common Sense gives an option for liking a review, it should give an option for not liking. I would have clicked unlike for any film that either didn't mention violence or downplayed it. However, the only option is inappropriate. I would only click inappropriate if there were really something deeply problematic. I hope you will add "don't like."

This title contains:

Positive messages
Positive role models
Violence & scariness
Adult Written byhaxsd November 23, 2016

An Exciting Family Adventure

Disney's done it again. The movie is beautiful and exciting, and there's plenty for children to enjoy. I think the only offensive thing in this movie is some bodily-function humor. There are some slightly scary scenes, but it's nothing compared to Disney's last movie, Zootopia.

This title contains:

Positive messages
Positive role models
Adult Written bymimijunebug November 24, 2016

best disney movie

i saw it last week and it was great lots of good songs

This title contains:

Positive messages
Positive role models
Educator and Parent of a 4 and 7 year old Written byKimP 4 November 27, 2016

Finally

As someone who grew up watching Disney princesses literally saw Ariel in theater like 6 times when I was 2year old. I'm tired of trying to make my children realize that princesses do very important things, they are responsible for a whole country or community of people. If you have a first born sheltered child who watches Barney and sprout all day and nothing else do not see this movie!!! If you have a child who has seen almost every disney movie that CSM has rated 7 and under or any my little pony friendship is magic movie this movie is on the same lines. My just turned 4 year old daughter loved it! My 7 year old son loved it! My husband and I didn't want to pull our hair out from boredom. The story was great, theme song was more tolerable then "Let it Go" and it finally showed what a real princess does.

This title contains:

Positive messages
Positive role models
Parent of a 5 year old Written byNathan T. December 4, 2016

scared my 5 1/2 year old

A little too scary for my 5 1/2 year old - he was scared of the monster underworld and the lava boss, but loved the rest.
Adult Written byhanky s. November 28, 2016

Positive Message For Little Girls

Moana teaches little girls to be fearless in life, and to not be afraid to challenge the impossible.

This title contains:

Positive messages
Positive role models
Parent Written bymom2twogirls1boy December 5, 2016

Beautiful Tale of Knowing Yourself

Common Sense did a wonderful job of reviewing this film, giving all of the details a parent would need to decide whether this film is appropriate for your children. I took my 6 and 9 year olds to see it and I was elated that Disney (finally) put out a movie I felt was appropriate for them. Moana does a beautiful job capturing the spirit of the Polynesian people and their stories. The movie definitely inspired me to go out and find more of these stories; I feel it's important to educate my children about many different cultures so that they develop a sense of understanding, love, and compassion for all. I love and appreciate the gentility of the culture, the deep respect for Nature. Yes, Moana's father gets mad and yells at her, but it eventually comes out that his anger came from a place of deep fear due to an experience he had. This movie is beautifully written and I really enjoyed the many layers to the story. Each of the main characters had a back story, which created an enriching depth absent in most current Disney movies. Plus there is a deeply spiritual aspect to the message about finding yourself and believing in yourself; regardless of what others say and/or believe about you. It's a story about being true to whom you know you are in the center of your heart/soul and following that call from within. The music was outstanding as well. Even with the volcano "monster"; if your child can get through it without being frightened, there is a really big and important message there as well; about what happens when we lose our heart-center.

This title contains:

Positive messages
Adult Written byLowell D. November 29, 2016

Moana

Moana is a great family movie that has multiple life lessons for the young and old. A must see animation that should become a part of everyone's movie collection.

This title contains:

Positive messages

Pages