All parent member reviews for Spirited Away

Parents say

(out of 59 reviews)
age 9+
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Educator and Parent Written byrowlands September 30, 2013

This is a must watch movie - but watch it with your kids and discuss it afterwards

This is a movie with lots of gross monsters, spirits, witches and magic. It gives you a great insight into Japanese culture and mythology. And it is a really great story. In fact this is the best animated movie of all time. I am sure that many kids younger than 5 will enjoy this movie (kids generally like gross monsters and the mild level of violence in the movie), but may be disturbed or confused by it afterwards. This is definitely movie to watch with your kids, and talk to them afterwards. This is not a Disney movie. It has a complex plot and complex themes. My judgement is it is best to wait until your kids are old enough to understand and talk about the issues in the movie with you. This is not a movie where the good guys kill the bad guys. Rather it is a story about a spoiled girl who is forced to overcome her fears and her selfishness to rescue her parents. Both she, and the other people around her (both the nice and not so nice ones) are transformed for the better though the story. It is not a movie that shows any ambiguity about good and bad, but it does show that even bad or flawed people are redeemable. Of all the movies in the commonsense media database, this has one of the widest range of reviews. In part because for many of the reviewers this possibly the first Japanese anime they have watched, and the Japanese do not play by the same rules was Disney or Warner Bros, neither in their plot line, their mythology, or in what is normal to have in a kids movie. Secondly many parents are very sensitive to anything gross and want to protect their kids from it. So they find the scene with the river spirit vomiting up all the pollution that has made it sick very gross. Great children's writers like Hans Christian Anderson and Roald Dahl have recognized that kids & toddlers love this kind of gross. To further the irony, one of the themes of the movie concerns an overprotective parent, placing her baby in a protective prison away from germs and other harmful influences.
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Parent of a 9 year old Written byPatrick.L January 26, 2010

No way for kids!

Definitely not recommended for kids! Only suitable for Young Adults and above.
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Too much violence
Too much swearing
Parent of a 8 year old Written byMamawolf83 February 5, 2014

Well made but a bit scary & dark

I saw this movie when I was 19 years old. While some parents feel this movie is okay for an 8 year old I dont think so. This movie has many very fightening images including: charaters being swallowed whole, a dragon nearly bleeding to death and many, many images of spirites that even at 19 scared me several times. If your child is more on the sesitive side as I was I strongly recoment against having them see this film untill they are a bit older.
Adult Written bycourtwork October 15, 2013

Wacky and Wonderful for Over 10

This movie is really wacky, but since it's by Miyazaki, it is beautifully wacky. I began to wonder if there were some mushrooms involved in its creation. I'm a big Miyazaki fan and originally bought this dvd for my 10 year old after reading the CSM rating and parent comments. I forgot about that plan and we watched this for family movie night. Both of my kids (ages (just turned) 7 and 10) found it disturbing. The 10 year old was ready to pull the plug early in the film out of boredom, but later he found it upsetting. I'm glad we stuck with it and saw the plot resolve; I think it would have been more troubling if we had not. My 10 year old is pretty sensitive, and did have nightmares after seeing this movie right before bed. The part that was most disturbing to my guys is when Chihiro's parents can't stop eating and are turned into pigs. They are then whipped by the restaurateur as they try to continue eating. That part was intense for both of them. We took a break midway through the film and both kids were hugging me saying, "I never want you to turn into a pig!" The frightening elements for young kids include: the fact that Chihiro is separated from her parents (and they are turned into pigs) for the whole movie; Chihiro is alone in a (very) strange place and is visibly frightened for much of the film. She is at the mercy of and mistreated by many characters early on; and her internal compass is superior to that of her parents and other authority figures. These ideas, particularly the last one, are scary and confusing for young kids. For these reasons I agree with CSM's 11 year old rating. There are some other creepy characters - namely Yubaba and No Face. Having said all of that, the quality of the film is superior, though the content is strange. I don’t regret that my kids saw it, but I’m glad I was right there with them, and I anticipate much conversation about it for a long time. In some ways this movie is on par with a movie like Pinocchio – not a pleasant experience for a young child, but the messages are loud and clear. As always, Miyazaki does a brilliant job of evoking a wide range of emotions using sounds like foot steps, silence, wind, and voices. The movie is visually stunning, like all of his films. The evolution of the characters is well done and the viewer feels part of that experience emotionally and sensually. And, even though Chihiro finds herself in frightening and perilous situations, she becomes calmer and more convicted as the story goes on, and we get to watch that transformation. There are so many lessons and themes that run through the film. Particularly reflective of the Asian culture, is that Chihiro's success comes from constantly consulting her inner compass, and having a care about her actions, often using deference as a strategy to persevere. We rarely see such protagonists in American films. She does not get caught up in the material pursuits of the people around her and stays true to her heart. I particularly appreciate the cultivation and manifestation of love in this film. It is very true and in no way sexual, which again, is rarely seen in American films, unless the love is parent/child or sibling related. In summary, I think this is an amazing film, on par with Eraserhead for its eccentricity, and typical of the high quality we expect from Miyazaki. I recommend this movie for everyone ages 11 and up. It’s probably OK for younger kids, depending on your kids, but I highly recommend that you watch it with them, and I wouldn't go below 7 or 8.
What other families should know
Great messages
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Too much violence
Parent of a 5 year old Written byRebrandSoftware June 16, 2011

Okay for intelligent three year olds who aren't easily scared

My 3.5 year old daughter and I love this movie. I was concerned about the parents to pigs scene so I told her about it before we watched, and worked up to it over a number of viewings. She was a little bit scared of the giant baby that threatens to break a girl's arm until I told her they became friends in the end. This is a wonderful movie, and the lighting of the lamps scene is so absolutely perfect that I could watch it 1,000 times.
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Adult Written byaeryn November 22, 2011

Wonderful look at Japanese folktales

Rather than simply echo all the great things everyone else has said, I'll say this: I am a 25-year-old with a degree in anthropology with a focus on Japan and a minor in Japanese - so trust me when I tell you that this film is CHOCK FULL of Japanese culture. In fact, it's one of the best films out there (probably tied with Mononoke-hime) to present a nice overview of Japanese traditional culture and folklore. Parents who homeschool or just want their kids to have a good understanding of other cultures would be very, very well served by watching this movie with their kids! However, do yourselves a favor and read about Japanese folklore first. This movie is so very Japanese that it can be hard to understand it if you don't have some knowledge of Japanese folk beliefs. It's useful to learn about the cultural context of the movie and to study differences between Western fairy tales and Asian fairy tales - because at its heart Spirited Away is a modern Japanese fairy tale. For example, Haku is a dragon, a creature that in the West we tend to think of as evil and destructive - but in Japanese folktales, dragons are harbingers of good luck and felicity, and protectors of good people and entities like the Buddha. This film can be a wonderful way to experience another culture! But parents would definitely be well-served by learning a little about Japan with their kids before watching.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
Parent of a 6 year old Written byjavamama926 March 11, 2011

Great movie, wonderful animation; good for relatively mature youngsters with supervision to help explain story elements

This is not a straight-forward movie that spoon-feeds the story to you, where it has a lot of symbolic elements in the story. This is not a movie you just turn on for your kids and leave the room, but I would argue that you shouldn't do that for most kids movies. Are there some scary elements to the movie? yes, the faceless "monster" can be scary and the witch can also be a little scary. There are magical elements to this story, which helps make it a fantasy and helped my daughter label it as an interesting story and not real. She first saw this when she was 5 y.o. and absolutely loved it; she was much more freaked out by an episode of Scooby Doo than this movie. I think there are positive messages in terms of the independence that the little girl, Chihiro, gains through the movie. The animation is as expected -- wonderful. The age appropriateness depends on your child (as always) and their ability to separate fantasy from reality.
Parent of a 3 and 5 year old Written byANewell23 December 10, 2010

best movie ever!

LOVED IT!!!!!!! great movie! great story line graet animations GREAT EVERYTHING!!!!!!!!!! a must watch! best anime movie ever!
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Adult Written byFreedomFromCens... August 12, 2009

I LOVE this movie!!! And always will! A classic!

I have to admit my affinity for dragons was one of the main reasons I wanted to see this movie as a kid. And oh boy did I love it...It warmed my heart and gave me that good feeling at the end of the movie where you think anything is possible...and life just seems to drift away for that moment. I especially loved the scene where she nuzzles her dragon-friend, that made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside as a kid ^.^
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Adult Written byDiary Ainzon September 12, 2013

Spirited Away - A MUST SEE MOVIE!

This movie is a masterpiece of its own. Though it might not be appropriate for very young audiences but you will never regret the values and its amazing story that the movie holds. Everyone will be inspired for the courage, determination and love by the protagonist's role. It's a must watch movie for a lifetime.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Educator and Parent of a 4 and 9 year old Written byconnielove93 February 21, 2010

A perfect Family Film

This movie is fantastic. This movie is not violent exept for a few paper cuts. The movie is about a ten year old named Chihiro who is a spoiled child and is worried about moving away. Her parents stop at a tunnel off-road to check it out and they find a shop with food and eat it, they turn into pigs and Chihiro must find a way to change them back. She finds herself in a magical world of spirits and she gets a job at a local bath house from a kind boy spirit. As weird as it may seem, at the end Chihiro learns a lesson about growing up. After her journey she becomes less of a small child and more of an independent adult. This movie was a fantasic journey into adulthood and away from the safety of childhood.
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Adult Written bythewittyman27 April 9, 2008

wierd!

how duz every1 luv this movie so much? it wuz one of the wierdest movies ive eva seen, and impossible to follow. instead i suggest princesws mononoke for any1 looking for a good anime movie.
Parent Written byelldee October 16, 2012

Wish I didn't sit through this.

Disliked it more than words can say. It may be cinematically appealing to some, but it's dark and disturbing at any age. Absolutely not for young kids.
Educator and Parent of a 7 and 11 year old Written bykmillsma April 17, 2011

second only to "castle in the sky" movie

not as great as castle in the sky, but still very interesting
Parent of a 7 year old Written bykejksnkfn October 10, 2010
This is my favorite movie! I love it so much, that I watched it about 25 times!! This movie is fantastic!! ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
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Parent of a 3 and 7 year old Written bymiss panda September 24, 2010

i think this movie is terrific for older children

I enjoyed watching this movie with my 9 year old cousin and she definatly got the point of it, i wouldnt however let my younger son watch it as he is not old enough to understand some of the more intense scenes which are not violent but shocking and strange.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Great messages
Parent of a 5 year old Written byjessaboaz March 10, 2010

MY favorite movie

Classic coming of age flick. The movie is about a girl who moves to a new town and has to leave behind her friends and start over. She's nervous, and a little scared. But by the end, she figures out that she can handle anything. This is my favorite movie. Not my kid's favorite, MY favorite. But my five year old loves it too. However, it is scary. My kid doesn't scare easily. I don't recommend it for the average five year old though. I'd say ages 8 and up.
Parent of a 7 and 9 year old Written byNiche March 7, 2010

A thoughtful visual treat

This is one of our family's favorite movies. Very clever, imaginative, inventive, and features a somewhat spoiled girl who develops independence and strength in a foreign land. A visual treat and pitch-perfect for our family which appreciates our children's entertainment flavored with less saccharine and more art and thought.
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Parent of a 17 year old Written bylove2 September 29, 2009

loved it

i watched when i was 5 and i loved it!!!!!!!!!
What other families should know
Too much violence
Parent of a 8, 10, and 12 year old Written byRedzet August 29, 2009

Positive flick

Chihiro learns her strength in this movie. She finds a clever way to set things right. She is motivated by danger to her family and uses her wits to reunite them.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models

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