A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
The idea that you should commit random acts of kindness for others is encouraged in the movie. Both Tatischeff and Alice are empathetic and generous, even with the little they have themselves. Tatischeff is especially selfless, working other jobs on top of his magician work in order to feed and clothe Alice.
Positive Role Models
Tatischeff is a kind and loving man who just wants to do his sleight-of-hand shows for as many people as possible. Even in the face of commercial failure, he never succumbs to despair, and he manages to maintain his dignity. Alice is sweet and generous, but she's also overcome with longing for material gifts, like new shoes, coats, dresses, and expensive meals.
Violence & Scariness
There are a couple of upsetting scenes involving stage performers. In one case, a mime is kicked and shoved by schoolboy bullies. Later, he's about to commit suicide by hanging himself, but he's stopped by an act of kindness. Young children will not understand the sense of sadness that surrounds many of the characters in the movie.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Violence & Scariness in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Sex, Romance & Nudity
A couple walks arm-in-arm and seems to have feelings for each other. A random couple is shown kissing in the park. A man and a woman see each other from afar, grow infatuated with each other, and end up in a romantic relationship -- hugging, holding hands, and sharing a brief kiss.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Sex, Romance & Nudity in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Most of the movie is wordless, but there's a use of "dang it."
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Language in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
A character is shown getting drunk at a party -- he can't walk straight, bumps into things, and ends up causing a minor catastrophe at the reception. There are also valets passing out champagne. In Scotland, the magician works at a pub, where most of the patrons are in various stages of drunkenness. Adults also drink at restaurants; on one occasion, a ventriloquist is shown passing out at a table. One character is melancholy after a personal loss, and he drowns his sorrows at the pub.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Drinking, Drugs & Smoking in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that although this film is animated and rated PG, it's not aimed at very young children. From the same French filmmaker who made the award-winning The Triplets of Belleville, this melancholy look at the touching, platonic friendship between an older French magician and a younger Scottish barmaid has grown-up themes that are best appreciated by adults. In several scenes, characters drink and in certain cases are drunk. A key sequence in the movie takes place in a pub. The language is limited to a "dang it"; in fact, the story is nearly wordless -- which may mean that children will have a hard time understanding it. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
In The Illusionist, French director Sylvain Chomet proves once again that impressive animation isn't solely the domain of Pixar. His tender tale about Tatischeff and Alice isn't going to draw in hordes of kiddies, but it will compel adults who yearn for quality storytelling and nuanced animation. Tatischeff, who's based on the real French illusionist Jacques Tati (and if you pay attention, you'll see Tati in a brief movie-theater scene), is so patient, loving, and kind that you almost hope that his May-December friendship will blossom into romance.
A Pygmalion-esque story that makes you wonder about all of the old-school performers without a stage, this is an excellent film. It's not a fast-paced Pixar dazzler or a high-stakes Miyazaki adventure, but it's fantastically depicted and so touching that it's sure to make you shed a tear (or more!) for the kind of magic that transcends age and language -- true friendship.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.