A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Legend of Sarila contains a brief scene of an elderly community member dying, as well as frequent mentions of life and death and numerous scenes of peril. Though no animals are killed on-screen, the film deals frequently with issues of hunting them. Deceased parents are referenced, and the fear of starvation is a pervasive plot point. However, the film overall is a triumph for the ideas of community, respect, and intergenerational support, as well as for the importance of living in harmony with each other and the land.
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What's the story?
When an evil shaman curses his own Inuit village, youths Markussi, Apic, and Poutulik head off in search of the land of Sarila, said to contain a bounty of food and sustenance according to the clan's wise woman, only available to the pure of heart. Along the way, the trio's relationships are tested -- to themselves, their tribe, and each other -- as they face one perilous obstacle after the next, and all struggle with their identities among their people.
Is it any good?
There is a high amount of sustained peril in the film, and it deals frankly and directly with life and death as natural phases in the existence of the tribe members. Parents will see a lot here to recommend in terms of dutiful young people with integrity and loyalty to their roots, though it's probably too frightening for younger children.
LEGEND OF SARILA got a lot of flak in initial reviews for the film's repackaging and the changing of its former name (Frozen Land) to compete with Disney's runaway success Frozen. But, taken out of that hopeless game of comparison, it stands on its own as a unique look at a different way of life, that of the Inuit people at the turn of the 20th century struggling to balance the needs of the tribe while living in harmony with the land. It has positive intergenerational relationships, respect for elders and all living things, spiritualism, and enchanting landscapes in a sometimes dazzling 3-D animation that is the first such effort to come out of Canada.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about living off the land. How do the characters balance their respect for animals with their own need to survive?
How do the community members support each other in hard times? Does your community feel this tight-knit? What things can people do in communities to feel closer?
Why do you think Markussi has difficulty being the community shaman? What makes him decide to accept his role? What is your role in your house right now?
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