A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
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
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 & Scariness
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.
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Characters argue and raise their voice at one another, but there is no bad language to speak of.
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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.
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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. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
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.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.