Movie review by
Barbara Shulgasser-Parker, Common Sense Media
Nocturna Movie Poster Image
Unique animated adventure is emotionally intense.
  • NR
  • 2007
  • 80 minutes

Parents say

age 7+
Based on 2 reviews

Kids say

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Educational Value

Meant to entertain rather than educate.

Positive Messages

Even when people we love disappear from our lives, they still stay inside us forever. When you stand up to your fears, they go away. Working as part of a team is effective.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Tim is bright and self-sufficient. He loves astronomy and is a keen observer, so he notices when his star suddenly disappears from the sky. Tim tells a lie to continue on his quest to save the stars from disappearing.

Violence & Scariness

A soccer ball rolls down steps into a scary dark basement no one wants to go into. Stars in the sky start disappearing. A boy falls from a roof but is rescued by a cat before he hits the ground. Tiny security guards threaten a large creature by wielding pitchforks. A scary, nightmarish shadow is the villain, and frightening music accompanies him.

Sexy Stuff

A cartoon female appears briefly in a red bra.


"Pee," "punk."

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

An adult in charge of the night drinks a lot of coffee to stay up.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Nocturna is a Spanish-French animated production (in English) that depicts a child's nightmare about loss and overcoming fears. Tim lives in what seems to be an orphanage. Every night in a large room full of bunk beds with other children, he opens the shutters to look at the stars he loves. One night he has a nightmare that his favorite star has disappeared, and it's up to him to save the world from total darkness. Tim's dream includes the disappearance of a protective parental figure, his acceptance of the loss, and his sense that the lost person will always be with him. A scary, nightmarish shadow is the villain, and frightening music accompanies him, which may prove too intense for young or sensitive kids. A cartoon female appears briefly in a red bra. Language includes "pee" and "punk."

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byOliviaReviewsIt January 30, 2021

Movie About Confronting One's Fears Delivers Solid Animation, Mediocre Plot

Tim is a young boy who's scared of the dark. When his playmates tell him to retrieve a lost ball that fell into the basement of their orphanage, Tim feels... Continue reading
Adult Written byShaRose49 November 15, 2018

Beautiful in it’s simplicity

This seemed kid-friendly to me, with the exception of a shadow monster who eats light and has yellow eyes. I don’t this he was super scary, only for sensitive k... Continue reading

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What's the story?

The night is an enterprise run by an administrator named Mocka, who drinks a lot of coffee and sends out hair-messers to clump up the hair of sleepers, a cat shepherd and his herd of cats to make sure children stay asleep, dream-tellers who narrate dreams, a fellow in charge of bed-wetting, a conductor to orchestrate the many creaking, scary noises of the night, and watery blobs who squeeze dew onto the grass. When young Tim can't sleep because he discovers his star and others in the sky above have disappeared, he stumbles into an adventure that leaves him no choice but to save the light from disappearing in the world. A frightening, villainous shadow that eats the light fights with heroic characters and is accompanied by scary music.

Is it any good?

The beauty of this animated adventure lies in its characterization of childhood. It's depicted as a time when bright and sensitive children find themselves able to recognize problems and perils that grown-ups can't see until it's too late. NOCTURNA is a lyrical depiction of a child's battle against adult assumptions, which are sometimes dangerously incorrect. Tim ignores the naysayers and sets out to save the disappearing stars, sometimes telling lies that help enlist grown-ups as assistants in his quest to, as it turns out, save the light in the world from destruction by evil forces. A lovely tale for kids who can handle the emotional intensity and mature themes.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how the film portrays the kinds of things kids are often afraid of: the dark, abandonment, being ignored by grown-ups. What frightens you, and how do you handle your fear?

  • Which parts of the movie suggest that all the action might be a dream? Do you think cats really are in charge of keeping children asleep at night?

  • What other stories does this movie remind you of? Do you think the filmmakers might have been inspired by Alice in Wonderland? Do all the odd characters, including hair-messers and dream-tellers, signal that the events in the movie are happening in Tim's imagination?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love adventure and fantasy

Themes & Topics

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