All parent member reviews for My Neighbor Totoro

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  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging, good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging, good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging, okay learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Parents say

(out of 75 reviews)
AGE
4
QUALITY
 
Review this title!
Parent Written bysquili July 11, 2009
AGE
4
QUALITY
 

Sweet, funny, unique

This is a terrific film. There is a bit of scary stuff with the talk of huanted houses and some loud growling and strange scurring creatures, but all that is side-stepped by the girls giggling and delighted reactions and their overall curiousity of the unknown. I found this movie to be delightfully sweet and wonderfully devoid of the usual fare of action-packed chases and predictable dramas. I love the strong girl message and the wonder and magic found in the mysterious creatures the girls befriend. The movie embraces and celebrates the magical world of childhood. I recommned this movie for the whole family.
What other families should know
Great messages
Adult Written byDeborahMama April 9, 2008
AGENot rated for age
QUALITY
 

My 2-year-old loves Totoro best of all

My daughter needed a little hand-holding when Totoro (a friendly forest spirit) made loud noises, but this is her absolute favorite movie. Even though she didn't understand the whole movie at first (and may still not understand parts of it), she loves the imagery, the forest spirits, and the characters. I like that there is no villain -- too many kids' films for my taste feature the presence of absolute evil whose existence is never explained, and I'd rather not have my child see the world in terms of good and evil this way. Totoro has conflict, misbehavior, and scary bits, but all the characters have motivations we can understand and discuss.
Parent of a 2 and 4 year old Written bydorland July 31, 2010
AGE
3
QUALITY
 
The fact that it gives a solid view of a past Japanese culture (that still survives on the same foundations today in many respects) makes it educational for older children. The role-model presented in the older sister should be an inspiration for younger girls looking for how to handle the younger sibling, especially the ones that are a handful. If more people looked and acted towards this way to each other, even in families themselves, so many issues we see today would be much more controllable in a social sense. While the soot sprites and initial encounters with the various Totor's and Catbus might be a bit scary to younger children it's also something that you can use to help children get past the bogyman phase on several levels as well as teach a spiritual aspect to nature that we so often try to push on young ones but don't give them the concrete connection they need to understand it. The tie to Shintoism and nature and ancestor spirits is yet another learning area for people unfamiliar with Japanese culture. This is one of my 1 year old and 4 year olds favorite movies and with the message and ideas it presents it's definitely one I don't mind them watching again and again.
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models
Parent of a 5 and 8 year old Written bycrazyannie September 5, 2009
AGE
3
QUALITY
 

A pleasure for everyone.

This movie has been a family favorite since the first time we put it in the DVD player. My husband and I think that either every artist on the movie had a 3 year old, or they imported some to watch for hours and hours --- the depictions of Mei were so *perfect* in capturing the zest for life and curiosity of that age. We enjoyed talking with our kids about Totoro as a spirit, as a guardian angel, and as part of a belief system different from, but just as magical, as our own.
Parent of a 7 and 11 year old Written bySuzuki Mom August 19, 2009
AGE
2
QUALITY
 

Go for the Vintage version for all ages

there is the "old" version and the newer Disneyized version. The Disney version is very dissapointing when compared to the nuances and little revelations of the vintage version. The older one is the translated Japanese version. The Japanese viewpoint on the reverence of nature is more apparent and more meaningful. Disney is almost insulting in its main streaming changes.
Parent of a 6 and 6 year old Written byRecordsMom August 15, 2009
AGE
5
QUALITY
 

What a kids' movie should be

A loving father is always a plus. No stupid adults is another. Add a sense of wonder and caring, and you have a movie that should be a cornerstone of a child's film literature. Children may need help understanding some of the emotional content, but that's not a bad thing. Messages: Trust. Wonder. Concern for the sick. Role models: Father who cares for his children. Neighbor who tells stories. A child who undertakes a daring journey to comfort her ill mother. An entire village who looks for the missing girl.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Parent of a 5 year old Written byskwarepeg November 6, 2009
AGE
4
QUALITY
 

Well-made, endearing film for kids & adults

My daughter and I both love love love this movie. We can both watch it over & over.... My doing so says more than hers, though, I suppose. ;) The animation, the story, the relationships, the imagination behind the story and characters/objects... all make this a heart-warming, timeless, endearing film. I wish every movie for children were at least a little bit more like this. I also fell in love with Elle Fanning (see her in _Phoebe in Wonderland_ -- not for kids) from this movie. She and sister Dakota do the voices for Satsuki (Dakota) and Mei (Elle). I was concerned the ill mother or Mei running off might be bothersome for my sensitive daughter, but it is handled so sensitively -- and not at all "Hollywood-ized," exploited, or otherwise over-dramatized -- that she just rolls with it. I highly recommend it as a quality movie for both parents and kids.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Parent of a 3 year old Written byBob Loblaw August 11, 2009
AGE
3
QUALITY
 

Great for 3 year olds and parents alike!

What a wonderful film! Not only is it my 3 year old daughter's favorite movie, but it holds up to repeated viewings by Dad as well. It's hard to find movies that are appropriate for toddlers - to find one that adults can watch as well is even harder! I know there are some concerns about the scene where the father is bathing with his girls - all I can say is that there is absolutely nothing sexual about it, and I'm guessing (as I'm not Japanese) that this is simply a cultural difference. In any case, I don't feel it's anything to be concerned about.
What other families should know
Great messages
Parent of a 7 and 9 year old Written bydavidmal770 March 15, 2011
AGE
5
QUALITY
 

Universal appeal without the cheap gags

Miyazaki's movies all cherish imagination and wonder. This one is no different. There seems to be a new trend in children's movies of trying to pull in the grownups by adding adult situations/humor into a child's world. Miyazaki's movies prove that you can have universal appeal simply by solid storytelling. Not cultural Lady Gaga jokes.
What other families should know
Great messages
Adult Written bybabysitter89 March 28, 2011
AGE
5
QUALITY
 

One of my favorites!

I love this movie, and watched it countless times as a kid. But I think this review downplays the emotional intensity of it just a bit. There are parts when the younger sister goes missing, and also when the mother's health is very uncertain, and these moments were quite scary. It has a happy ending and all these conflicts are resolved, but I was glad that I was there to reassure them, in the moment, that everything would be okay.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Parent of a 2 and 5 year old Written byTomDarla October 12, 2009
AGE
2
QUALITY
 

Wonderful film for all ages

Our kids (5 and 2) absolutely love Totoro and have watched it countless times already. It is so unlike other movies for children, devoid of the typical violence and special effects, yet is wildly imaginative and engaging. It's a very tranquil movie, perfect with popcorn before bed.
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models
Parent Written bymyab September 17, 2010
AGE
5
QUALITY
 

A Don't Miss Movie w/ Positive Messages

An excellent film for family movie night. A loving father who works hard, siblings, friends, and neighbors who care for each other, and the idea that not everything that looks different is a monster. Beautiful animation, scary situations handled gently and sensibly, and lots of imaginative characters and happenings that are enchanting. Nothing objectionable for any age; even the mother's illness is dealt with carefully. I say 5 years up because the softness of the story might seem boring to a much younger child. Watch this and you won't be disappointed.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Parent of an infant and 5 year old Written bylibrarianpm November 12, 2008
AGE
3
QUALITY
 

Will spark the imagination of your child!

My 5 year-old daughter has been enchanted by this film for over 2 years, and the rest of the family still looks forward to watching it after countless viewings. It is so refreshing to have an animated film featuring girl characters (the 2 sisters) who are not Disney princesses. And the story is just a sweet fantasy, with very little to scare young ones (mostly when the younger sister wanders away.) Incredible score, too, hard to believe the music was never released in the US. Please give it a try, especially if you have daughters.
Adult Written byMamaMegan April 9, 2008
AGENot rated for age
QUALITY
 

A Wonderful Film

Oh, this is a wonderful movie, one that I felt really comfortable with my kids watching, and I even enjoyed it myself. The animation was beautiful, and the pace of the movie was perfect. I really appreciated the positive family & community dynamics (NO violence at all!), and at the same time the plot was interesting enough that it held my children's attention perfectly. My 2.5 yr old daughter watched with her 5.5 yr old brother, and they both loved it. My daughter was bothered by the part at the end where the little girl wants to find her mom and gets lost, but she was reassured by the fact that the older sister was looking for her, and the whole situation is resolved with warmth & affection. Both my kids thought Totoro & the cat bus were hilarious. We've seen it 3x and will see it again. Highly recommended.
Adult Written byMsCyn December 29, 2011
AGE
3
QUALITY
 

If you're looking for the perfect family movie that you and your kids will enjoy, here it is.

This movie is extremely underrated. My absolute favourite animated movie. It captures the magical, adventurous nature of children wonderfully, so that children of all ages can relate and enjoy. Awesome story line, cute characters, good message, completely original. No violence, bad guys, or anything of the sort- any sadness is dealt with softly and appropriately. Recommended for children and adults of all ages. You will not be dissapointed. NOTE: I reccomend the original version (english, not Japanese of course), not the newer Disney version.
What other families should know
Great role models
Parent of a 8 and 13 year old Written bylightworker23 February 20, 2011
AGE
5
QUALITY
 

One of the Best Kids Movies Ever

In a sea of G and PG movies that are too scary & intense (because they're made to appeal to adults & older kids) it's so wonderful to find Totoro. Both my 8 and 13 year-olds love this movie and have watched it over and over again.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Parent of a 5 and 8 year old Written bykarinajohnson November 27, 2011
AGE
4
QUALITY
 

A good movie for all ages.

A good movie. Not scary at all, not even for my preschooler. It presents many good role models and positive messages. Very highly recomended!
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Parent Written bykrog family September 30, 2011
AGE
5
QUALITY
 

Just know your kids- LOVED It

We love Hayao Miyazaki's family films... there is the sickness and my 5 yr old is very sensitive. And totoro is a spirit or sprite type creature. Both my kids loved the cat but he is a bit scary looking. Overall we love this movie just know your kids. Some may have trouble with the mom being ill and the sprite aspect.
Parent of a 5 year old Written byJsMum July 25, 2010
AGE
4
QUALITY
 

A Charmingly Real Fantasy

While this is a fantasy, and involves supernatural creatures and events, it is remarkably real in it's portrayal of the inner life, and the inner fantasy life, of young children. The characters are believable and easy to like. Their concerns and joys are ones even young children can understand and share. After several years in my son's rotation, I have yet to tire of watching this lovely movie.
What other families should know
Great messages
Parent Written byMattSkelly May 6, 2012
AGE
4
QUALITY
 

Magical Totoro—and Catbus!

A magical, sweet movie. Some scary moments—a lost child, a sick mom—but handled better than most children's media. Totoro and Catbus are memorable, for kids and adults.

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