Stick Man

Movie review by
Barbara Shulgasser-Parker, Common Sense Media
Stick Man Movie Poster Image
Parents recommend
Book-based animated short celebrates love of family.
  • NR
  • 2015
  • 27 minutes

Parents say

age 4+
Based on 9 reviews

Kids say

age 5+
Based on 4 reviews

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We think this movie stands out for:

A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Meant to entertain rather than educate.

Positive Messages

Family is the most important thing. When you help people, sometimes they help you back. Perseverance is a major theme; if you want something, don't give up and keep trying.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Stick Man never loses hope. Even when he falls into danger, he tries to notice and enjoy whatever good might come out of it. Stick Man runs to save himself, then runs back into seeming danger to help someone in need. His animal friends all try to warn him of imminent threats.

Violence & Scariness

Stick Man is constantly mistaken for the perfect flag mast, cricket bat, fetch toy, boomerang, pen, hook, and sword as he vainly protests that he is not any of them but rather "Stick Man, that's me!" He is tossed by ocean waves and woven into a swan's nest and ends up sleeping on a fireplace grate, unaware that he may be kindling for a family's next fire.

Sexy Stuff
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Stick Man is a British animated short that is based on Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler's charming book, Stick Man. The story has a kid-friendly Christmas backdrop. Although there is mild comic peril (a large dog grabs Stick Man for a game of fetch, and Stick Man drifts into the ocean and is tossed by waves), Stick Man's friendly nature, strong sense of self, and unbending will to return to his family make this a great choice for young children.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 3-year-old Written byLauren W. April 13, 2018

Minimal dialogue, surprisingly dark/sad theme

The majority of this movie is kind of a bummer. Even I (the grown-up) felt stressed watching it. (Spoiler Alert: eventually Stick Man does get home to his famil... Continue reading
Adult Written byCathy T. January 14, 2018

Stressed my 6 year old to tears

This started out really promising, beautiful animation and kids were into the family life part of the film. But then most of the movie Stick Man was in peril, r... Continue reading
Kid, 5 years old March 26, 2021
Teen, 16 years old Written bynoiamnotaparent June 11, 2020

It's good, but the trailer is wrong.

I watched this movie on PBS KIDS and it was really good. I also watched the Gruffalo and the animators did no bad job, totally recommend for 8+ because it can g... Continue reading

What's the story?

Happy Stick Man lives in the family tree with his Stick Lady love and three children. They celebrate the winter holiday with a decorated spruce twig serving as Christmas tree, sharing presents, sledding, and waging snowball fights in their peaceful patch of forest. Sometimes humans (who can't see that Stick Man is a real being and not a lifeless twig) and their dogs invade, posing danger. While Stick Man is out for a jog, one such canine clamps him in his jaws, beginning a series of unfortunate incidents that drag Stick Man further from his family for nearly three quarters of a year. After surviving a dunk in the ocean and being woven into a swan's nest, he sleeps on a fireplace grate and then is chosen as tinder for a human family's next cozy fire. He is ultimately rescued by Santa, who becomes lodged in the chimney above while trying to deliver gifts. Stick Man saves the Stuck Man and hitches a ride home on the Man in Red's flying sleigh.  

Is it any good?

STICK MAN handles adversity with aplomb and grace, but it's his palpable longing for his lady love and children that give this delightful rhymed cartoon its bittersweet heart and soul. Martin Freeman (Dr. Watson of British television's Sherlock and Bilbo Baggins in The Hobbit) voices Stick Man cheerfully and plaintively while Hugh Bonneville (of Downton Abbey) voices a buoyant and helpful Santa. Rene Aubry's jaunty music perfectly sets the tone for Stick Man's inadvertent adventures. Lots for families with young kids to enjoy together.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about what this movie wants us to feel about families. Does Stick Man love his family? How can you tell?

  • What does the movie think about humans? How do they treat Stick Man?

  • Does the movie tell you how long Stick Man is away? Does it show the seasons changing?

  • How does the story show perseverance? Why is this an important character strength?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love the holidays

Character Strengths

Find more movies that help kids build character.

Themes & Topics

Browse titles with similar subject matter.

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