Stuart Little

Movie review by
Nell Minow, Common Sense Media
Stuart Little Movie Poster Image
Sweet book-based tale has some emotional intensity.
  • PG
  • 1999
  • 84 minutes
Popular with kids

Parents say

age 5+
Based on 10 reviews

Kids say

age 5+
Based on 13 reviews

A lot or a little?

Parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Educational value

May inspire kids to read the book this movie is based on.

Positive messages

Talk of the true definition of family. Kindness and compassion toward those who are "different." 

Positive role models & representations

Stuart's adoptive parents are kind, patient, and loving to both Stuart and their biological son, who initially has a difficult time warming up to Stuart. 

Violence & scariness

Characters in mild peril. Stuart is attacked by the family cat, who puts Stuart in his mouth. Cats chase Stuart and corner him. Stuart gets stuck in a washing machine. Some comedic pratfall violence -- a cat inadvertently gets flung out the window. 

Sexy stuff
Language

"Damn" and "hell" plus plenty of mild mean words and phrases such as "shut up" and "loser." Cat flatulence and a cat joking about licking himself.

Consumerism
Drinking, drugs & smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Stuart Little is a 1999 movie loosely based on the E. B. White book about a kindly couple who adopt a sweet mouse who faces danger from the house cat and his feline friends, as well as a pair of duplicitous mice, as he tries to get accustomed to his new life. While on the whole this is a sweet movie, there are some moments of iffy humor, including cat flatulence and a cat joking about licking himself. There is more profanity than you would think for a family movie: "damn" and "hell" plus plenty of mild mean words and phrases such as "shut up" and "loser." There are also some moments of peril, as Stuart is in constant danger from the cats who do not want to accept him as being part of his adoptive family. In fact, cat lovers might take exception to the movie's depiction of cats as being little more than selfish and hateful murderers, even as the house cat finds some bit of redemption later in the movie. As the movie addresses the issue of adoption and the emotional transitions parents and kids face, adoptive and foster families may want to think carefully about whether the themes will be upsetting or reassuring to their children.

User Reviews

Adult Written bymamatruth May 15, 2009

PG due to language

Use of the word D--n at least 6 or 7 times, referring to a female as a "broad, " using the term, "h--l of, " and saying, "what the h--l...
Parent Written bysquili July 11, 2009

a lemon all the way around

I thought this movie was awful. There were too many hells and damns and talk of 'scratching out' the main character for a young audience; and certainl...
Teen, 13 years old Written bygregguy March 12, 2016

Good movie for kids

This is a really good movie for families with young kids to watch together. The only bad thing about the movie is that it says hell in a bad way twice. One revi...
Kid, 9 years old October 31, 2012

STUART LITTLE

little kids willl think this is a good movie

What's the story?

Mr. and Mrs. Little (Hugh Laurie and Geena Davis) drop son George (Jonathan Lipnicki) off at school on their way to the orphanage to adopt a child. They fall in love with Stuart (voice of Michael J. Fox), who is charming, insightful, unselfish -- and a mouse. Despite warnings against "interspecies" adoption, they bring him home. George is disappointed and doesn't see how Stuart will ever be able to play with him. And maybe he is a little more jealous than he was expecting. The Little's cat, Snowbell (hilariously voiced by Nathan Lane), is furious and plots to get rid of Stuart. Stuart manages to surmount enormous obstacles. He even wins over George, after proving his courage and loyalty in a boat race. But he still wonders about his birth parents. Stuart faces the biggest decision of his life when two mice show up claiming to be his birth parents.

Is it any good?

E.B. White's story of a family whose son happens to be a mouse is lovingly Hollywood-ized. In other words, it bears very little relationship to the book but has a lot of great special effects. Fans of the book will do well to stay at home and re-read it, but families looking for some good action scenes, appealing characters, and a wise-cracking cat will enjoy it very much.

This is a terrific movie for families who can overlook the potty humor and profanity. Stuart, created entirely through computer graphics, is perfectly integrated into the live action, especially the exciting boat race and chase sequences. The script by M. Night Shyamalan does not talk down to kids and has some genuine insights about sibling rivalry, the fear of failure, and family.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about books based on movies. Are the movies ever as good as the books? Have you read the book upon which this movie is based?

  • How were the moments of violence and peril shown in the film? Did they seem necessary to the story, or did they seem forced in to make the movie seem more interesting? 

  • How does this movie address the issue of adoption? How is this similar to and different from the ways in which other movies and TV shows depict adoption? 

Movie details

Themes & Topics

Browse titles with similar subject matter.

For kids who love animals

Our editors recommend

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality and learning potential.

Learn how we rate