Stuart Little

  • Review Date: May 20, 2003
  • Rated: PG
  • Genre: Family and Kids
  • Release Year: 1999
  • Running Time: 84 minutes

Common Sense Media says

A terrific family movie based on a terrific book.
  • Review Date: May 20, 2003
  • Rated: PG
  • Genre: Family and Kids
  • Release Year: 1999
  • Running Time: 84 minutes





What parents need to know

Positive messages
Not applicable
Violence & scariness

Characters in mild peril. Cats chase Stuart and corner him. Stuart gets stuck in a washing machine.

Sexy stuff
Not applicable

"Damn" and "hell" plus plenty of mild mean words and phrases like "shut up" and "loser."

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this movie is rated PG for brief mild language and scenes of peril. At one point the adopted Stuart thinks his new parents don't want him. Adoptive and foster families may want to think carefully about whether the themes will be upsetting or reassuring to their children.

Parents say

Kids say

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 "inter-species" 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 family movie. Stuart, created entirely through computer graphics, is perfectly integrated into the live action. And I do mean action -- the boat race and chase sequences are pretty exciting. 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.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about what makes people feel that they "fit in," about jealousy, and the way it makes us think that hurting others will help us feel better (but it doesn't), and the importance of Mr. Little's advice about trying -- and George's success in reminding him about it at the right moment.

Movie details

Theatrical release date:December 17, 1999
DVD release date:May 21, 2002
Cast:Geena Davis, Hugh Laurie, Michael J. Fox
Director:Rob Minkoff
Studio:Columbia Tristar
Genre:Family and Kids
Topics:Book characters
Run time:84 minutes
MPAA rating:PG
MPAA explanation:language and tension

This review of Stuart Little was written by

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

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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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!" When i read a review of this movie, i thought that it would be alright to show based on the comment. I've included the unsuitable language used for 5 year olds so that you can make a well informed decision without having to rent it for yourself.
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 certainly it was too tedious and boring for older viewers. I watched it with my 4 yr old who thankfully didn't get what 'scratch him out' meant but she did get the underlying nasty tone of the movie. The cat, Snowball, at one point tells Stuart to 'talk to the butt.' I cringed when that came out hoping my daughter wasn't going to catch that and repeat it (which she didn't, whew!). This is not a film I would comfortably recommend for children 8 and under. Frankly I won't recommend it for anyone, it just isn't good.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much swearing
Parent of a 6 and 10 year old Written byGrateful Mama July 20, 2010

Not like the book.

I asked my kids what they thought about the movie. My six year old was disappointed that it had very little to do with the book (which we loved). My ten year old said that the cats would be a little scary to little kids under age 7. The movie was sort of good, she thought. Personally, I didn't like the mean kid aspect during the boat race (bullying), nor did I appreciate the whole kidnapping theme. I'm not a big fan of movies for kids, so take this review with a grain of salt if you love kids' movies. I would have given it two stars, but I love to hear and/or see Michael J. Fox (I was a teen in the 80s), who was Stuart in this movie.
What other families should know
Too much violence


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