Movie review by Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media
Ponyo Poster Image

Common Sense says

age 5+

Miyazaki's stunning adventure is geared to younger kids.

G 2009 103 minutes

Parents say

age 5+

Based on 96 reviews

Kids say

age 5+

Based on 114 reviews

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.

A Lot or a Little?

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

Stands out for , , and .

Community Reviews

age 4+

Not Miyazaki's best...but it's still pretty good!

I am a big Miyazaki fan and this film is beautiful and full of whimsy, but there are a few big flaws that I found a bit difficult to overcome. The main one being that it is implied that Sosuke has to decide at 5 years old if he is going to love Ponyo forever or not...seems a bit much. Then of course that Ponyo's desire to be human becomes tethered to Sosuke and his love for her at 5 years old. It was a bit fantastical and cliche. The independence of children surrounded by supporting (or absent) adults seemed to be Miyazaki's films strengths and was a bit sorry that it took such a patriarchal "Little Mermaid" turn. On the other hand, my 4 year old LOVED it although he was visibly upset whenever Ponyo was manhandled or it appeared there was real wave danger.
1 person found this helpful.
age 3+

Second favorite after Totoro for our 3yo

In the search for movies my husband and I actually enjoy watching that are also appropriate for our three year old, this is our second favorite after Totoro. There are scenes that were a little scary for our sensitive 3yo: the rainstorm scene was tense, he was a little worried about the boy's mom when the boy couldn't find her (we see she's fine a couple minutes later), and the dad is quirky and a little scary in his overbearing concern in the beginning. But these fears were easily calmed by just pausing and talking about how it will all work out. I love that there are no evil characters and no violence (making it infinitely more appropriate than anything by Disney). It's also particularly beautiful, even by Miyazaki's standards. Is it weird that it ends in two five year old's having an almost faux-wedding? Yes. However, I have to disagree that it's sexist - in fact the father doesn't give her over - Ponyo's mother is the one to give consent and is all-around clearly the more powerful and influential person in the relationship. Finally, though the boy is told to kiss the bubble to make Ponyo a human, Ponyo herself initiates the kiss - she is clearly in charge of her own fate, both at the end and throughout the whole film.
1 person found this helpful.

Movie Details

Our Editors Recommend

Character Strengths

Find more movies that help kids build character.

  • Holding hands
    See all
  • Young girl playing
    See all
  • Kid looking through telescope
    See all
  • Young girl staring at her dad
    See all

Themes & Topics

Browse titles with similar subject matter.

  • Cartoon magic wand on orange background
    Magic and Fantasy
    See all
  • Cartoon princess crown
    Princesses, Fairies, Mermaids, and More
    See all
  • Cartoon picture of luggage and a map
    See all
  • Cartoon picture of a shark and fish
    Ocean Creatures
    See all

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate