A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that The Little Ghost is a 2013 German movie about a ghost who has never seen daylight. Although the story does feature a computer-animated ghost, the ghost is more on the "Casper the Friendly Ghost" side of the spectrum and not of the scarier kind seen in horror movies. There's some mild peril, as one of the boys is stuck high up on the ledge of a clock tower and nearly falls, and he later hangs from the hands of the clock. The biggest concern for English-speaking families is that the movie is in German with English subtitles, making it difficult to follow for kids who are just learning to read.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
In the attic of a castle in a tiny village lives the Little Ghost. It awakens for exactly one hour right at midnight. But the Little Ghost has never seen daylight and yearns for the opportunity to do so. He meets a boy named Karl, but nobody believes that Karl has seen a ghost. The Little Ghost gets its wish and experiences daylight for the first time, but things immediately start to go wrong. For starters, the Little Ghost changes color from white to black. Furthermore, now that the Little Ghost is awake during the day, he has more opportunities to be seen and to cause calamities throughout the village. Meanwhile, Karl convinces his friends Marie and Hannes that the Little Ghost is real, and together they must find a way to make the Little Ghost white again and to make him nocturnal once more.
Is it any good?
For non-German-speaking audiences, especially young children, THE LITTLE GHOST will be difficult to follow due to the English subtitles and the story line. It isn't the most complex story to follow, but there are some asides and somewhat lengthy context settings through voice-overs that could make this movie more complicated than necessary. Still, there are plenty of universally silly moments in the movie and some clever story twists as the Little Ghost gets its wish to see daylight for the very first time.
For older children and parents who can keep up with the subtitles, The Little Ghost is a mostly charming, straightforward story. The kids -- in the classroom or on their ghost-hunting adventures -- are the kinds you see in fantasy movies regardless of the setting or country. The adults tend to play buffoons, and that should be enjoyable for most children as well. Overall, the movie transcends language and culture.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how this is a German movie. How is it similar to and different from other children's movies you've seen that were made in other countries?
How is this movie similar to and different from other "ghost stories?"
How did Karl, Marie, and Hannes display acts of friendship, loyalty, and cooperation?
- On DVD or streaming: September 23, 2014
- Cast: Jonas Holdenrieder, Emily Kusche, Nico Hartung
- Director: Alain Gsponer
- Studio: Vertical Entertainment
- Genre: Family and Kids
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Friendship, Monsters, Ghosts, and Vampires
- Run time: 92 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG
- MPAA explanation: Mild peril and brief language.
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