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Parents' Guide to

Napoleon Dynamite

By Nell Minow, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 11+

One-of-a-kind high school comedy for the family.

Movie PG 2004 82 minutes
Napoleon Dynamite Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 9+

Based on 38 parent reviews

age 6+

A Movie for The Whole Family

Napoleon Dynamite is a movie designed to be appropriate for the entire family to enjoy. It is a feel-good movie and it never uses any profane language and makes no inappropriate references. This shows audience awareness because there is nothing a child could not see or hear, making it family-friendly. Personally, this is why my family loves this movie so much. Although we are all older now, at one point in time, my family ranged from young adults to little children. It was very important for us to have a movie that everyone would enjoy and would also be appropriate for us all to see. There is a lot of truth-filled in the way that the high school environment is portrayed. Napoleon and his friends are misfits and it shows the truth in how people who are not seen as popular are treated. They are bullied and made fun of at parts because they sometimes do things in ways some people might find weird. This is a sad reality that almost every high-schooler today has witnessed or experienced personally. However, Napoleon and his friends are not perfect either. They smash a pinata that looks like a popular girl at their school and this action obviously violates the dignity of the human person. However, this is addressed and they are punished. While this action violates the dignity of the human person, the movie also promotes it. For example, Napoleon's friend Pedro is Hispanic and some people are racist towards him. However, Napoleon and his friends accept him and his racial background makes no difference in their friendship. This really sets a good example of the dignity of the human person and how everyone is created equally. The movie lacks balance in the sense that it is sometimes hard to pick up on exactly where it is going. There are so many different things going on that have no rhyme or reason. For example, the writers will introduce you to a character and then you won’t see this character again for a very long time. For example, in the beginning of the movie, Napoleon's Grandma is introduced and plays a major role for a part of the movie. However, she then leaves to go on a trip for the weekend. We hear she got hurt but she is not seen again until the very end of the movie. Even when she is seen, she does not speak, she is just shown. This shows a lack of balance because one minute she is a main character and the next she is basically irrelevant. However, in a way it is what makes the movie so special because it is not like something you have ever seen before. The review of the movie states that it is inspiring to people because Napoleon and the other characters in the movie are so unapologetically themselves. Over the course of the movie, you fall in love with these quirky characters. This is skillfully developed to show and paint the picture that being different isn't bad. The script of the movie was also obviously well thought out because the way that this movie has constant changes but all manage to tie back together shows skill. This movie is relevant to experience because through everyone's life there are times when we feel out of place. The characters portrayed by this movie are not normal in any way. In fact, they are probably weirder than most people one finds themself surrounded by. This was on purpose because by illustrating an extreme, the point of the movie becomes more clear and relatable to more audiences. This movie makes people feel good about that and shows that differences should be celebrated.
age 6+

Great for kids, teens, and adults

This movie is super funny and really good. There is NO language which is good for kids. The only things are people bully Napoleon, his uncle says stuff mean about Napoleon to make him sound bad, his uncle shows papers to women about making the breasts look bigger, and a girl says something racist about Latin X’s. Great movie!

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (38 ):
Kids say (138 ):

What's great about this satisfyingly humorous movie is that it keeps us laughing with Napoleon, not at him. And that's thanks to Napoleon Dynamite's deliriously specific detail, superb use of the Idaho setting, affection for its characters, unexpected developments, and most of all its genuine sweetness. He may be clueless, but he has a great heart, and we know he will be fine, not just for a satisfyingly happy ending for the movie but beyond.

Movie Details

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