A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Viewers may be inspired to read the original novel Esio Trot and other Roald Dahl classics.
Positivity abounds, starting with the idea that quiet, unassuming people often turn out to be the most interesting. Value is placed on good manners, courage, selflessness, and simple gestures of kindness. The importance of having faith in yourself. That life is not about winning, it's about having a go. There is an underlying theme of deception throughout, but even this is justified by good intentions and a desire to bring happiness.
Positive Role Models
Mrs. Silver is full of joy and optimism. Mr. Hoppy is shy but determined. He struggles with low self-esteem but nevertheless pushes himself to reach his goal. He is fundamentally kind, caring, and selfless. Both characters show that age is no barrier to enjoying your life and finding love. Among the (few) kid characters, Roberta is smart, confident, and funny.
Violence & Scariness
Two moments of mild, momentary peril -- firstly when a character nearly falls off a balcony and secondly when a tortoise does fall off the balcony (and survives).
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Some gentle flirting and mild innuendo ("the squeak of bedsprings"). Brief moment of tortoises mating.
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Two instances of "bloody." One "arse."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Characters drink wine with dinner. Drinks are on display at the community center dance. Character drinks whiskey -- quietly and without glorification.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Roald Dahl's Esio Trot is a warm-hearted comedy drama with positive messages, charming role models, and lots of tortoises. Based on the popular kids' author's novel, and narrated by James Corden, there are poignant moments throughout that will evoke empathy, and sometimes sadness, for the lead character Mr. Hoppy (Dustin Hoffman). But his warm demeanor and kindheartedness bring overriding joy to the story. Even his somewhat sneaky plot to befriend Mrs. Silver (Judi Dench) is executed with great love and selflessness. There is some mild flirting and one instance of innuendo between Mr. Hoppy and Mrs. Silver, and a scene in which tortoises are briefly seen mating. There are two instances of very brief and minor peril, one involving Mr. Hoppy nearly falling from a balcony and another when a tortoise does fall off the balcony, but survives. At one point, Mr. Hoppy makes a misjudged remark to a lady in a wheelchair, but he is visibly embarrassed and it's made clear this was an inappropriate faux pas. There are also two uses of "bloody" and one of "arse." Characters are on occasion seen drinking, but never to excess and nor is it integral to the story. The implication that pets are easily replaceable makes for a slightly uncomfortable theme. But at its heart, this movie is all about having faith in yourself and finding happiness. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
The very epitome of a gentle comedy drama, this charming tale of senior romance ticks along at a leisurely pace, somewhat befitting of its heavily tortoise-based cast. A made-for-TV adaptation of the popular 1990 kids' book, Roald Dahl's Esio Trot has a quiet intensity, combining humor and silliness with poignancy and, occasionally, melancholy. Unrequited love, loneliness, and old age are all laid bare but -- fortunately -- so are joy, wonder, kindness, and lots of tortoises.
You know you're in safe hands with a story penned by Dahl, a script co-written by Richard Curtis, and two Oscar-winning actors on the payroll. They don't disappoint. Hoffman is perfectly understated as the shy, big-hearted Mr. Hoppy, while Dench sparkles as the colorful Mrs. Silver. There is an easy chemistry between them that has you rooting for them right from the off. James Corden too has just the right warmth and empathy to narrate a tortoise-y love story, pulling off his multi-location jaunt across London with a natural flair. There's nothing flashy or sensational about this movie. No special effects or dramatic set pieces. Fundamentally, it is a simple love story. But you can't help being utterly charmed by the characters, enchanted by the story, and thoroughly amused by the antics of an apartment full of tortoises. It's a safe bet that, by the end, you won't be able to stop smiling.
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.