Common Sense Media says

Beautifully animated fantasy about friendship fit for all.

Users say

(out of 156 reviews)
age 4+
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Parent of a 2 and 8 year old Written byDan Ouellette May 25, 2015

Fantastic movie. Disney cannot compare.

Hayao Mizayaki's movies are incomparable. And this is probably the favorite one with my kids. Unlike Disney, his stories are filled with mystery and not every situation is explained or completely logical... which is a great primer for children growing up. Additionally there are a few tense moments which resolve wonderfully, releasing the tension in a beautiful way not a false way as Disney is prone to doing. Almost all of Miyazaki's female characters are strong, independent and courageous without the sexist stereotypes so predominant in Disney/Nickelodeon fare. This is a huge benefit to these movies in my opinion. Pixar comes closest but nothing compares with Miyazaki/Ghibli.
Teen, 13 years old Written byskwunkel May 24, 2015

Was intrigued to watch but disappointing

There were some messages in this film about family and imagination but no real plot to interest me. Young kids should enjoy this, but I personally didn't. Some funny moments but no plot and 2 of the most annoying girls ever.
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Parent Written bymalibumum March 22, 2015

Fantastic film... but beware of sick mother and talk of death.

All-in-all, I think this this is a great film. But be aware the mother is very ill. The children are very concerned and in one tense scene, the young girl asks "is mother going to die?" In the end, she recovers. But I think this scene is worth noting for younger viewers.
Parent of a 1, 3, and 6 year old Written byQuakesDad March 5, 2015

Good for 3yo

My 3yo daughter was engaged the whole movie. I'm not sure how much she truly understood but she loved it. Sensitive 3yo's might get a little frightened by the soot sprites.
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Parent of a 6 and 9 year old Written byStacyVR February 25, 2015

Seriously SO good and beautiful

Why can't all kids movies be so well-written? Clearly, Miyazaki loves and "gets" kids -- how they can be so sweet, so impatient, so shy and insecure, and then so secure and confident, all in the same day. I love the characters (and so do my young boys) -- they love watching the girls run and laugh and explore! And who wouldn't want to find a Totoro while out exploring? Honestly, this movie is a treasure.
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Parent of a 8, 9, and 10 year old Written byParentof3animefans February 23, 2015

It's perfect for the whole family

I let my kids watch it when they were just toddlers
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Too much violence
Adult Written byzeekattacklee January 30, 2015

Studio ghibli Makes yet another nice Film for me..

A very imaginative and creative Film.. The Film wasn’t to bad and would be A perfect film the whole family can enjoy...
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Parent of a 10 and 11 year old Written byDuckfloss January 9, 2015

Odd and funny that literally all ages will enjoy

My 11- and 10-year-olds enjoyed this movie as much as I did. It's sweet and simple, but also a little bit weird. There isn't much action or even plot, but it's still engaging.
Kid, 11 years old December 16, 2014

Beautiful Film

The animation in My Neighbor Totoro is the amazing work of Hayao Miyazaki, creator of many beautiful films, including Spirited Away and Ponyo. Nothing intimidating, the soot sprites may be a bit scary for younger kids, as there are a few scenes in which they jump out at the main characters. The older sister, Satsuki, takes great care of her little sister, Mei. If you're interested in a magical animated film, My Neighbor Totoro is the best choice.
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Kid, 12 years old November 22, 2014

Watch this movie!!

this is one of my favorite Miyazaki movies, it's so cute and it's great for any age. Totoro is a really cute character and the two girls are just so high spirited! I love this movie and you should definitely watch it.
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Parent Written byScratchDad November 3, 2014

So sweet, fun, and beautiful. One of the best animated films if not best films ever

A staple in our home that just gets better on further viewings. My son has been watching since he was 3 and my daughter 4. The fantasy mixed with real life family worries I think really makes this stick for kids. The "spirit world" characters are captivating and gentle. The relations between the parents and children are tender. The siblings fight but their love for each other is moving too. Since the film deals with the stresses of an ill and absent parent many adults will probably let a few tears slip out. Artistically, the movie is a milestone for animated films and really one of the greatest movies period. There's not a lot reasons to avoid showing this kids under 4 IMHO.
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Teen, 15 years old Written byAnimeFan3000 September 29, 2014

A great Miyazaki classic

This beautiful Japanese animated classic is loved by literally everyone who watches it, like most of Miyazaki's work. There is a bathroom scenes where they are taking a bath as a family which is normal in Japan but it made my mom stop watching it. You will most likely see this in many Japanese family movies but don't let that stop you. It is slow going till the little sister goes missing but it is filled with beautiful and peaceful scenes. It is enjoyable to all, you shouldn't even need to be a kid to watch it. Have fun with this great classic.
Kid, 11 years old June 25, 2014

Really good movie

I think that this movie will help kids like me learn about friendship and kindness at a really young age
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Kid, 11 years old June 1, 2014

Very Impressive

I watched the movie when i was 8. Its was very sweet but might be a tiny scary to younger viewers, with all the talk about haunted houses. You might want to know this but Totoro is now a major character to the community, so that means probably alot of people have watched it and enjoyed it
Parent of an infant and 7 year old Written byBlueAngel19thirty May 4, 2014

Best baby gift we ever received!

This was given to us as a late baby shower gift. My husband and I watched it and fell in love with Totoro. Often times we would opt to pop this in the dvd player for our oldest child (age 2ish at the time) instead of relying on cartoons on tv. 5 years later and it's still her favorite movie. We've had many discussions about the Japanese culture, how important the environment is and how important family is. All Miyazaki fills are great, but IMO this one is the best.
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Parent of a 2 year old Written byjinx-wolf March 21, 2014
Kid, 12 years old March 8, 2014

For all ages!

Very good movie, for babies, kids, tweens, teens and adults! NOTE: There is one scene where the two girls and the dad are taking a family bath, but we see NO NUDITY. Maybe just a little glimpse of one of the girl's butt. Also, since there is no violence, the mother is sick at a hospital. The cat bus may be a little freaky.... Totally friendly though. (The reason I did green 2, is because I don't know how to do green 0)
Teen, 17 years old Written bySeth S. March 8, 2014

Miyazaki at his very worst ... pointless:

Well Spirited Away, it looks like you're finally off the hook! I have now seen seven Hayao Miyazaki movies, with widely varying degrees of enjoyment. Princess Mononoke and Porco Rosso are legitimately fantastic films, animation or otherwise. Castle in the Sky is a largely enjoyable movie, bogged down with a weak 3rd act and a bloated run-time. Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind and Howl's Moving Castle both had interesting parts, but were ultimately too scattershot and tedious to be fully enjoyable. And Spirited Away was easily the most overrated and unsatisfying of the whole bunch ... until I saw My Neighbor Totoro. Now, let me preface. I will say that I probably enjoyed My Neighbor Totoro more than Spirited Away. But I also think that Spirited Away is the more competent film, from a storytelling standpoint. At least Spirited Away has conflict, and threatening situations, and characters that have to face real adversary. My Neighbor Totoro just kind of ... exists. It comes and goes without saying or doing anything of particular note. It has nothing interesting to say. The Kusakabe family arrives in their new home with unbreakable spirits, but heavy hearts. The mother of the family is in the hospital with a nameless illness. They go through the normal excitement of moving into a new house, but always yearn for the day when their family will be complete once again. Young Satsuki and Mei gape at their new surroundings in complete wonder. What starts out as a relatively normal domestic drama, suddenly turns into quite the fantasy when Mei, the younger of the two girls, stumbles upon a massive sleeping Totoro! Which is basically a giant, furry, rabbit-like forrest spirit. After that, there's really nothing more to talk about. Certainly nothing in the way of conflict. And that's one of the main problems with this film. Some say it's a blessing, some say it's a curse; but My Neighbor Totoro just doesn't have much in the way of interesting story. There's very little in the way of strife betwixt characters. The worse it gets is a heated conversation between Satsuki and Mei, where Satsuki points out the painfully obvious fact that Mei is acting like an obnoxious brat. Which leads to an equally trivial finale where Mei runs away from home and gets lost. It all feels so inconsequential. But what does (thankfully) work is the family drama side of things. I wasn't expecting the whole "sick mom" sub-plot to work so well, but it actually does. Even with only a few brief scenes, we really do care about Mrs. Kusakabe's recovery. For once in his life, it would have been fantastic if Miyazaki had a simple, down-to-earth story. But no, gotta throw in that ridicules Cat-Bus, right?! And here we have another flaw. The more fantastical side of the story is allotted just the right amount of screen-time to make it as awkward as possible. Is the movie going for full-on fantasy? Is it being a realistic drama? No, and no. It's really doing neither of these things. The fantasy elements show up whenever the movie needs a little extra oomph. Which is okay, if the film actually committed to that aspect of the story. But it never does. Right after something preposterous, we're right back to the contrived, but mostly effective domestic drama. It seems like Miyazaki really wants to cram in his trademark Eastern spirituality, even when the story didn't really lend itself to it. The existence of Forrest Spirits and Soot Spirits feels rather inappropriate for the story. For the most part, I've been able to accept this spirituality as a matter of course. But not in this movie. When Totoro (who does have some pretty adorable moments) and his two little Totoro friends (who are constantly adorable!) show up in the Kusakabe's garden to start growing trees and to fly around on that floating, spinning top thingy - I just had enough. I wasn't entranced. I almost laughed out loud. No, I do not accept this as a supposed "masterpiece" of animated filmmaking. No sir. And then the Cat-Bus happens. I appreciate the fact that it's a feat of imagination. But that doesn't mean I have to like it. It seems like everybody is enchanted with the Cat-Bus, but I was personally left shaking my head in horror and (much to my chagrin) condescension. The characters are mostly likable, but they're also fairly flat. As Miyazaki main characters go, Satsuki is pretty solid. Dakota Fanning, who has proved herself time and time again to be an exceptional actress, does all she can with the character. Both Miyazaki, and in turn, Elle Fanning, try really hard to make Mei a lovable character. And by trying really hard, I mean she basically yells all of her lines very enthusiastically. Tim Daly does give a nice supporting performance as Mr. Kusakabe. The final musical choice in the film is what ultimately pushed me over the edge of actively disliking this movie. So the last scene of the movie features Satsuki and Mei joyfully being flown back home by the exponentially creepy Cat-Bus, with "My Neighbor Totoro (The Ending Song)" playing in the background. During this scene, I came dangerously close to shouting "Nope!" at my screen at an uncomfortably high decibel level. I've rambled on enough. So, long and short: I didn't like My Neighbor Totoro. But at least I can congratulate it on (somehow) being worse than Spirited Away. In my opinion, that's not an easy achievement to pull off. "To-to-ro? You're Totoro! ... I bet you're Totoro." 3.5/10
Parent Written byRedLibertine February 9, 2014

Really lovely film, quirky and offbeat...nice change from Disney princess !

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Parent of a 4 and 7 year old Written byamandolin December 14, 2013

Good movie

When my kids were younger they took issue with the mother being sick and when Mei is lost, but they still liked it.
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