Monsters, Inc.

Movie review by
Nell Minow, Common Sense Media
Monsters, Inc. Movie Poster Image
Parents recommendPopular with kids
Cute, kid-friendly monster movie; may scare sensitive kids.
  • G
  • 2001
  • 92 minutes

Parents say

age 6+
Based on 83 reviews

Kids say

age 5+
Based on 168 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.

Educational Value

More for entertainment than education, though kids might learn a bit about factory work and how adults deal with hazards, like potential contamination (in this case, by children).

Positive Messages

Strong messages about the value of friendship and that facing your fears is a positive thing. Also, you can do the right thing and still succeed. Themes include courage, compassion, and integrity.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Mike and Sully are loyal friends. A monster learns to make kids laugh instead of scare them. Monsters try to do the right thing and protect a little girl. A powerful figure turns out to be a bad guy, but he pays for his poor choices.

Violence & Scariness

Comic peril, cartoon violence. The monsters are terrified of children for most of the film, which takes out some of the scariness. In the scariest climactic scene, the villain monster straps a toddler to a chair to catch her screams in a machine, and she appears very frightened. Her monster friend saves her.

Sexy Stuff

Some flirting and discussion of dating.


This movie is part of the Disney-Pixar dynasty, with plenty of merchandise associated with the film. Toy Story toys are on the floor in one child's room.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Monsters, Inc. is about closet monsters, but from their point of view -- scaring kids is their 9-to-5 job. Kids might be scared of the movie's concept initially, but they'll soon figure out that the monster Sulley is a softy who takes care of the little girl in the story who isn't the least bit afraid of him. However there's one scene where a monster the child does fear straps her to a chair and tries to steal her screams. Kids will find it funny that most monsters fear any contact with kids -- when one monster gets a child's sock on him the whole factory panics and biohazard workers quarantine and shave him. Young kids may need help understanding what the monsters in yellow suits are doing to him and why. Note: The 3-D version amps up the intensity.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 6-year-old Written byKkrista November 28, 2015

Language Warning

Common Sense missed several comments that parents should know about such as "shut up", "stupid", "jerk", and "idiot".
Parent of a 2 and 7-year-old Written bySuper Mommy 1980 August 9, 2012

Monsters Inc

This is an adorable monster movie.... until Randall comes in. My 7 year old has a good head on her shoulders, so she knows that "Randall" can't c... Continue reading
Kid, 11 years old May 19, 2011

Very violent

I do not like the monsters roaring or the machine that catches kids screams. My little brother watched it with me once and he was afraid of the crushing machine... Continue reading
Kid, 10 years old August 1, 2011

Good but Scary

Full of monsters. You know your child. Would he or she be able to handle a giant spider, a gross lizard, and other disgusting beasts?

What's the story?

The monsters in MONSTERS, INC. are more afraid of kids than kids are of monsters. But monsters need to collect kids' screams to fuel their world, and children are getting so hard to scare that the monsters' world is suffering from rolling blackouts. Top scarer John "Sulley" Sullivan (voiced by John Goodman) and rival Randall Boggs (Steve Buscemi) work as hard as they can to break the scream-collection record. But when Randall inadvertently lets a human child into the monster world, the monsters find out what being scared is really like.

Is it any good?

This movie has the same delicious mixture of heart, humor, and technical wizardry that made A Bug's Life and the two Toy Story movies into instant classics. It's utterly delightful. It should be put in the dictionary to illustrate the word "adorable." Like Jim Henson, who decided to make his Sesame Street characters monsters so that kids would never be afraid of monsters again, the people behind Monsters, Inc. have created monsters that even the shyest child will find completely unscary. In fact, kids may decide that multiple heads, removable eyes, and hair made from snakes are kind of cute.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about what Sulley learns about kids and how he changes the factory for the better in the end of Monsters, Inc.

  • They can also talk about how each kid was scared by a certain kind of monster. Why was Boo scared of Randall and not Sulley? Why was Sulley considered such a top-notch scarer then?

  • How do the characters in Monsters, Inc. demonstrate courage, compassion, and integrity? Why are those important character strengths?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love monsters

Character Strengths

Find more movies that help kids build character.

Themes & Topics

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