Parents' Guide to

The Book of Life

By Yvonne Condes, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 7+

Beautifully animated film has some scary imagery.

Movie PG 2014 95 minutes
The Book of Life Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 7+

Based on 28 parent reviews

age 12+

Violence, sexism, just junk

The Book of Life So much hate. Non-stop insults, tons and tons of unnecessary violence. Put sexist ideas into my kids’ minds that weren’t there before. Flow was awful- just non-stop heavy action. I can’t believe this movie had an editor. I still don’t understand why this movie was made; I don’t see any positivity coming from it, just a ton of negatives. There was almost no Mexican culture, the actors didn’t even have Mexican accents, almost all the music was old recycled music from the U.S., not Mexican. No good music in the whole movie. I’m not Mexican but I felt they really disrespected Mexicans and their culture with this movie. It was trashy American junk, and I could not figure out the target audience. There was WAY too much violence, insults, and meanness for kids under 10, and yet I don’t see any reason for anyone older to watch it. I did not like the style/animation. I found the unrealistic wooden block characters distracting. The acting was poor as well. We saw “Coco” last month and WOW that was spectacular, and everything this movie wasn’t. It shared some ideas such as Day of the Dead but actually very well-made, not like this junk. Coco gave an insight to Mexican life and culture, and I found that movie to be entertaining and educational. We all loved Coco, so I highly recommend it. Back to the Book of Life. I wanted to shut it off lots of times but the kids (7, 10) protested and I thought perhaps we were through the worst of it. Nope! It got even worse toward the end. Lots of “bad guys”, and they were scary! I would never let a kid five or under watch this. There were probably well over a hundred slaps, kicks and punches, people throwing each other, as well as a bomb. Lots and lots of bull-fighting with tons of close-ups of the big bull’s scary teeth. If you are concerned about your children watching violence, please preview all of this movie before showing your children. In addition to the violence, there were several bets (“wagers”) being made. I did not appreciate at all the basis of the plot- two boys who grow up into men fighting for one woman. The woman, who is in full makeup and dressed and animated like a Disney princess, clearly states towards the beginning that she does not belong to any man, but the movie misses the mark and I think a young audience might come away with the idea that women are just meant to be beautiful trophies for their husbands. The men constantly fought for her affection and over and over again tried to prove who was more worthy of her love based on their strength, courage and fighting skills. Also did not like when they had a main character singing “If you think I’m sexy...” My husband said he would describe this movie in four letters, starting with a “c”. I deeply regret renting, watching and sharing this movie with my children.

This title has:

Too much violence
4 people found this helpful.
age 8+

Enthralling story that highlights mexican culture

It seemed a little slow to get started. The story certainly built apon itself. I thought the movie was brilliant by the end. Truth, love, loyalty, bravery, and being true to oneself. So many wonderful themes. Many scary scenes for sensitive children. My 6 yo was unsure for one part, but then decided it was Ok. I recommend watching the movie with your child if they are under 8 years of age or have a sensitive nature.

This title has:

Great messages
3 people found this helpful.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (28):
Kids say (41):

This is a beautifully animated film about Dia de los Muertos that combines essential Mexican folklore, ancient mythology, and pop culture. Luna is charming as Manolo, the guitar playing bullfighter who's too kind to kill the bull. Tatum has just the right amount of bravado to play Joaquin, who shouts his own name as he rushes into battle, and Saldana is sassy and adorable as the smart, independent Maria.

Most impressive is the visually stunning underworld that director Jorge Gutierrez has created. The Book of Life immerses viewers into the environment, traditions, colors, and sounds of Day of the Dead celebration; La Muerte is the most gorgeous animated queen since Maleficent in the original Sleeping Beauty, and Xibalba is perfect as her scary king. The characters and the music (excellent reworkings of classic and alternative pop songs) are absorbing and memorable, and you'll be thinking about the world full of color and fun that Gutierrez has created long after you've seen the movie.

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