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The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
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.
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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?
- On DVD or streaming: December 25, 2015
- Cast: Martin Freeman, Hugh Bonneville, Jennifer Saunders
- Directors: Jeroen Jaspaert, Daniel Snaddon
- Studio: Magic Light Pictures
- Genre: Family and Kids
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Book Characters
- Character strengths: Perseverance
- Run time: 27 minutes
- MPAA rating: NR
- Last updated: May 7, 2020
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