Common Sense Media says

Miyazaki's stunning adventure is geared to younger kids.

Users say

(out of 147 reviews)
age 5+
Review this title!
Parent of a 4 and 6 year old Written bytlanderson August 16, 2009

Not for 6 and below

In my opinion, this movie is not acceptable for age 6 and below. I would say it should be for older children only. There are several very scary scenes. Additionally, a 5 year old is show being left alone during a storm, entering the ocean by himself and lighting matches.While I realize this is fiction and a fantasy film, it was too much and did not deserve it's G rating. My 6 year old was terrified. I rely on this sight to help guide my movie choices and I feel let down regarding this film.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Parent of a 4 and 4 year old Written byandsoitgoes August 19, 2009
Fantastic. My children have loved one of Miyazaki's earliest films, My Neighbor Totoro, since they were 2. This was no different. The story was simple, sweet and about as positive as you could get. There were very few situations that were "tense" and put any of the characters in great danger, so if your kids are older and they thrive on having some major "bad guy" in a movie, this isn't for them. Personally it's a favorite movie for myself, and for my 4 year olds. They loved it and wanted to see it again. The pro-environment messages are good, I'm getting a bit tired of them, simply because they seem so forced, however they're a bit too subdued here and never really fleshed out to the point that little kids would GET what they were hinting at. And the ending... Let's say it's far from the best ending Miyazaki has given in any of his movies. But at the end, it doesn't ruin the rest of the film, which is fantastic. The worst part about all of this, really, is the lack of response. There's been so little interest here that it makes me fear for movies in this quality. The same thing happened with Spirited Away, which was a fantastic movie as well. If you get the chance, and have kids that love sweet, endearing and funny movies, this is it. It's "The Little Mermaid" with far more heart and less of a bratty main character.
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models
Parent of a 6 and 8 year old Written bybethmorris1125 May 2, 2010

Great for 6 & 8 yr olds

My kids (ages 6 & 8) really enjoyed this movie. We discussed during the film that it was weird that his mom let him down by the water alone, and left a 5 yr old alone with a "fish girl" during a storm. My 8 yr old comment she was glad THAT was not a real life story because the mom let the kid alone too much. I thought the beer seemed odd, but kids do see their parents disagree, so the bug off scene didn't phase me much. I could not decide if the mom was passed out in that scene, but the way she bounced back just made me think she was sort of down. I thought it was cute, and I love the animation. If you like this one, check out My Neighbor Totoro -- my kids loved that one too.
Teen, 13 years old Written bytricianguyenn February 8, 2012

Stupid movie.

Even though a lot of children might like it this is not the movie for me. I hate it.
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models
Parent of a 7 year old Written byasb5 August 22, 2009

A fanciful tale

We love Miyazaki films in our family. This was a nice one, but behind Totoro and Kiki in my opinion. As usual for Miyazaki, the animation was magical. The story was nice but a little difficult to believe at times, even if you're prepared to believe that some fish can turn into humans sometimes. I don't think any of this distracted from my 7-year-old's enjoyment of the film, just from mine. What my son did have trouble with was the part near the end when it appears that the little boy Sosuke's mother might have been lost to the sea. At this point in the movie, he said it was too scary and wanted to go home. FYI, this part comes very near the end and is resolved pretty quickly, so if you can stick it out with a good cuddle for a few minutes like we did, you'll be over the tension and uncertainty.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Parent of a 2 and 6 year old Written byachilleseffect August 22, 2009

Terrible Messages About Gender

Same old, same old for gender stereotypes. The women are thin and beautiful. Ponyo cannot, ultimately, decide her own fate since it depends on whether the little boy Sosuke loves her. Perhaps most troubling is the scene where Sosuke's mother leaves Sosuke during a very scary storm. This single scene was the most disturbing to my son. The fact that it came with some tired speech about how Sosuke has to become a man makes it even worse. The idea that a boy must be separated from his mother to achieve manhood is an all too familiar trope in kids's entertainment.It does a tremendous disservice to boys who learn from scenes like this one that vulnerability is not acceptable and that being too close to Mom is silly and immature. This film was a big disappointment.
Kid, 10 years old May 12, 2016

great

OK so ponyo is a mutant ham loving fish. There are 1000 ponyos but the main one is the oldest.My sis likes it shes like 3 so good.I love it too.
What other families should know
Great messages
Teen, 17 years old Written byBlue-Bunny September 10, 2011

Adorable anime from the mind of Miyazaki...

Although not quite as great as My Neighbor Totoro or Spirited Away, Miyazaki still delivered a promising movie. Ponyo was cute and charming, the animation was brilliant (as usual), and the visual effects were stunning! The violence is quite tame. There is some romance between Ponyo and Sosuke. I still don't get why a five-year-old had to make a love promise, though. Other than that, it was a nice movie.
Parent of a 5 and 7 year old Written byalhj October 2, 2010
What other families should know
Great messages
Parent of a 8 year old Written bymattsdad April 27, 2010

Another Stunning Miazaki movie

Yes it's got the odd scarey moment and the parenting isn't Norman Rockwell but the imagery is amazing and my 8 year old son was absolutely captivated.
Adult Written byAnnoyedteenguy April 3, 2010

One of Miyazakis best little kid movies, and im 16 and loved it.

Well, I say I loved it, but I did not really like the theme song, which was mutated from its cute catchy japanese theme by Noah cyrus and Frankie Jonas. Im getting a set of his movies, and this comes with it, thank god it like the others is in Japanese, so I will just use subtitles to enjoy this masterpiece like it was ment to be. Great life lessons, Mild suspense plot, Comedy, and overall innocence. 2 thumbs up and 5 stars.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Parent of a 6 year old Written bycpy March 4, 2010

Nice, but watch out for scary waves for little kids

There are some scary parts eg waves with faces chasing a car, that my 6-yr-old found scary. I liked it but it seemed quite slow, though this is a welcome change from the fast-paced dialogues of a lot of recent American animations.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Parent of a 4 year old Written bybecky.j.hall November 7, 2009

Very weird movie.

A very odd movie. many confusing parts that made NO sense to my kids and little sense to me! Skip it and save the money!
What other families should know
Too much violence
Kid, 8 years old August 23, 2009

Perfect for 5+

I LOVE hayao mizaki (I problably spelled it wrong) I love all his movies?? he is the best! Some of his other movies are: Princess Mononoke, My Neighbor Totoro (my favorite movie ever) and, Ponyo. ;D
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models
Parent of a 7 year old Written bysuperkichi August 14, 2009

DO NOT WASTE YOUR MONEY IN THIS MOVIE

I didn't like when mom gets upset and drinks and throws the food in the sink. They talk about two worlds?? Ponyo gives some hot beverage and the mom says "I'll drink it and it'll make milk for baby (She is a breastfeeding mom). The movie is tooooo long. I SAY " DO NOT WASTE YOUR MONEY IN THIS MOVIE"
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Teen, 13 years old Written byAlejandro0000000000d September 17, 2016
Parent of an infant and 7 year old Written byBlueAngel19thirty May 4, 2014

Totally adorable movie for kids of all ages

This is an adorable movie, full of love and wonder. It's colorful, sweet and heart warming. Ponyo falls in love with a little boy and wants to become human, after following her heart her male companion declares his love for Ponyo and she is turned human. It's visually stunning. My family loves this movie. Something that may be of concern of others is that the mother does drink.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Kid, 12 years old August 31, 2012

Totally Amazing

I am a huge fan of Studio Ghibli's films. The animation is fantastic and the plot is very cute. I don't know why people are having a cow over the breastfeeding line though, because THATS WHAT THEY'RE FOR! It's better for kids to learn here instead of school, right? Anyways, yeah I love all of Mizayaki's works and this is definatley a good movie.
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Parent of a 7 and 7 year old Written byjoannaguerra July 25, 2010

Suspend your reality in order to enjoy the positive messages

Because it's a fairy tale based on cultural folklore, it wasn't surprising to me at all to find so many themes that wouldn't really make sense to more modern viewers. And if you can suspend your reality for a bit, you won't be disappointed. It was a really sweet, really loving, very positive little film with lots of strong female characters and some great messages about friendship, old age, relationships, parenting, and unexpected strength of character. The monsters gave it a two thumbs up On Demand, which means, of course, we must now make our weekly trek to Target to find, purchase, and possess it.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Great messages
Great role models
Safety and privacy concerns
Parent of a 5, 8, 10, and 10 year old Written byCSM Screen Name... October 3, 2009

GO PONYO!

This movie is an amazing masterpiece! My kids have memorized the theme song in Englisn AND Japanese, which gave them a great multicultural experience! It also taught them about true love! The only bad part, as fellow reviewer cabbe said, is the part with the mom, the baby, and the soup. Other than that, this was a beautiful touching movie! I cried 7 times!
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models

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