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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Death and how it's an essential part of life is central to the plot. The idea that memories are important as they keep the people we care about with us. Perseverance, courage, and curiosity are also on display.
Positive Role Models
Salma is a 16-year-old girl who is mostly cheerful, positive, and friendly. Searching for information on her dead parents, she becomes determined and adventurous. She is led by emotions but sees through a plan for revenge. Nana brought up Salma. She tries to protect her by keeping a secret and later apologizes for lying. Brothers Pedro and Jorge have a good sibling relationship. Jorge tells his brother he loves him before he saves him and risks his life doing so. Pedro and Jorge's father is a burly man. He shows chauvinistic tendencies, in one instance telling one of his sons he has "arms like a girl" and calling them both "wussies." The brothers' mother defends them. The Grim Reaper is female, which goes against traditional portrayals.
Violence & Scariness
Violence ranges from light slapstick to brawls with punches and kicks that have a hard impact. During one bar fight with broken bottles and snapped pool cues, a character yells, "this is fun!" Scenes include armored giants with big axes and a huge giant made of green flames. The "lost souls" escape from limbo and attack citizens of the Land of the Dead. A character's mission is to "kill death." Scenes of threat include bridges breaking and falls from heights. There is also some fantasy violence with magic. References to the death of loved ones, including parents.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Two characters fall in love and kiss.
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Characters are called "crazy," "scum," "wussies," and "chicken."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Character mentions a "beer belly."
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Big Wish is a Mexican animated adventure based on the Day of the Dead celebration, which leads to a look at death and what it means when people pass on. The lead character is a 16-year-old, headstrong and adventurous, orphan girl called Salma (voiced by Cristina Milizia), who sets off with her two foster brothers to try and find her long-lost parents. The movie deals with the death of parents and loved ones. It depicts the dead revisiting their relatives, which may prove unsettling for younger viewers. There are some violent scenes, including brawls with broken bottles and snapped pool cues. The movie's takeaway message is that memories are important in grieving and remembering loved ones, but that death is necessary, despite the sadness it can bring. The movie is also know as Dia de Muertos, Salma's Big Wish, and Day of the Dead in some territories. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
A grief-stricken man is determined to kill the Grim Reaper, while an orphan searches for the secrets of her family. Some of The Big Wish's themes are heavy going, and younger viewers will either be left behind or hung up on some of the more worrying or scarier parts. Framed within the Day of the Dead festival, the movie's key concepts are familiar to those with an awareness of this Mexican holiday. But for those that aren't, the film's literal depiction of people merrily meeting up with their dead relatives each year, could be confusing to younger kids. The overall message is about the importance of memories and how death is a sad but necessary part of life. But this is muddled by the film's magic-heavy third act.
Still, there's lots to enjoy. It's bright and colourful and there are a number of fun action scenes, while the creepier aspects will appeal to kids with an interest in scary stories. Around the midway point, the film does begin to feel like a cheap animated TV cartoon rather than a movie. But the dip in quality thankfully doesn't last long. Yes there are better offerings that deal with similar themes. But you can also do worse than The Big Wish.
Did we miss something on diversity?
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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