Pinocchio (2019)

Movie review by
Stefan Pape, Common Sense Media
Pinocchio (2019) Movie Poster Image
Italian live-action version has mild scares and peril.
  • NR
  • 2019
  • 125 minutes

Parents say

age 12+
Based on 4 reviews

Kids say

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

Courage and curiosity are prominent themes throughout. The story famously highlights the importance of telling the truth, with Pinocchio's nose growing with each passing lie. Love and listening to elders is also important. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

Initially Pinocchio doesn't listen to Geppetto, acting disrespectfully and disobediently. But he eventually comes round and realizes the that Geppetto only wants what's best for him. Geppetto is a trickster who will pretend that things are broken in order to have something to fix and make money from it. But his heart is in the right place and he becomes a loving father when Pinocchio is made. There are several characters, such as the Fox and the Cat, who wish to con Pinocchio in order to take his money. They both display dreadful table manners too, and continuously attempt to swindle the innocent boy.

Violence

Little violence, but much peril. Character throws a hammer at another's face, who subsequently cries. Character is taken away by the circus and chased through woods. A disturbing image of a character being hung from a tree. When ill and refusing to take medicine, a character is woken up to pallbearers insisting the coffin they are carrying is for them. Someone is washed up on the beach after swimming against aggressive waves. A teacher is shown hitting students on the hands in front of the class. Unsettling scene when a character transforms into a donkey. A whale swallows a character whole, although they escape unharmed. Each time they tell a lie, a character's nose grows longer, which may alarm younger viewers.

Sex
Language

Characters argue and raise their voice at one another, but there is no bad language to speak of.

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Wine is seen but not drunk in a cafe. Character swigs from a small bottle, presumed to be alcohol. Character accuses another of "drinking too much" after revealing a young puppet has evidently come to life.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Pinocchio is a live-action Italian (with English subtitles) retelling of the famous story about a puppet boy, with some perilous and unsettling scenes for younger viewers. Those familiar with the original story won't be surprised by the plot. But this version is far more quirky and darker than previous versions, including Disney's 1940 animated offering. The values and morals of Pinocchio (Federico Ielapi) are explored as he initially refuses to go to school or respect his maker, Geppetto (Roberto Benigni). But eventually as the story progresses he understands the strength in family and respect, as well as, famously, the importance of telling the truth. Pinocchio does encounter many villainous characters along the way who attempt to manipulate and steal from him. But it's so surreal and characters often do not even resemble people, which makes it seem more fantastical and less real. There is brief violence when Pinocchio throws a hammer in the face of the talking cricket. There is also much peril throughout the tale. Pinocchio struggles to swim in the sea, is kidnapped by a traveling circus, and of course is swallowed by a whale. There is also brief alcohol consumption, but it's subtle enough that children may not even realize.

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User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byRachael1985 August 25, 2020

Like a kids horror

Don't see this film with little children...my four year old was very upset when they literally drownd the donkey with rocks at the end of the rope. And i w... Continue reading
Adult Written byMumG August 16, 2020

Be warned...

It wasn't awful just very artistic which is not every child's cup of tea, as a PG we took a 7&9 year old who stuck with the artistic theme our... Continue reading

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What's the story?

PINOCCHIO is the story of a young puppet who dreams of becoming a real boy. Downtrodden woodcarver Geppetto (Roberto Benigni) one day makes a puppet, and much to his surprise, it comes to life. Pinocchio (Federico Ielapi) should be at school leading a normal life, but curiosity gets the better of him and he winds up on an adventure far away from home.

Is it any good?

This  movie comes from the creative mind of director Matteo Garrone who brings his distinctive surrealist and dark cinematic style to a much known and loved tale. This live-action version of Pinocchio -- in Italian with English subtitles -- is very much a retelling of the original Carlo Collodi story as opposed to the 1940 Disney animation, and it thrives in the absurd world that's spawned from the writer's mind. Garrone doesn't shy away from being strange, and this movie wears it's bizarre tone and aesthetic like a badge of honor.

The look is somewhat unsettling though, and what transpires is quite a scary film. Even though it remains accessible to all the family, the sheer oddity of it may well lead to a restless night, even for adults. Benigni -- who played Pinocchio in a terrible 2002 live-action version -- is brilliant as Geppetto. In fact one of the downsides is that he's not given more screen time, as he's undoubtedly the best thing about the film. While Pinocchio's adventures are more integral to the plot, it's a joy when back in the presence of the aforementioned woodcarver.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the more scary scenes in Pinocchio. Which bits did you find most intense? Did the fantasy element make it any less scary? How to choose a scary movie for your kid.

  • Discuss the relationship between Pinocchio and Geppetto. How does it change over the course of the movie? Geppetto proves to be a strong role model in Pinocchio's life. What positive role models do you have in your life?

  • Pinocchio's nose grows every time he lies. Talk about the notion of lying. What are the repercussions of telling lies in real life? Why is it important that we tell the truth?

  • How does this version of the story compare to others, such as the Disney animation? Which one did you prefer and why? Why do you think this is a story that keeps getting retold?

Movie details

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