Parents' Guide to

The Little Mermaid (2023)

By Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 8+

Halle Bailey dazzles amid more intense live-action scenes.

Movie PG 2023 135 minutes
The Little Mermaid Movie Poster: Ariel sits on a rock under the sea, surrounded by fish and other undersea creatures

A Lot or a Little?

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

Community Reviews

age 7+

Based on 93 parent reviews

age 7+

Amazing/ fantastic movie to watch 💖

The best Disney live action movie I've ever watched. Halle Bailey was amazing and, her voice was absolutely breathtaking. The movies quality was flawless, and the cinematography was amazing! Would watch again!
age 2+

Truly a Top Disney Live-Action Remake!!!

HIGHLY recommend to take your family, friends, neighbors, etc, to see this throughout the summer. Will become a family favorite! The songs (new and classic revamped) and movie score are absolutely wonderful, magical and great fun for repeat listening. The changes to the story add a delightful touch that everyone enjoyed. There are connections to the original story by Hans Christian Andersen that really deepens the emotional beats in the film and matures the content from the animated film. And the character development was chef's kiss (nods head towards Prince Eric). Lastly, the actors performances, vocals, the film's directing and visuals are outstanding! Halle/Ariel is truly amazing and really made a lasting impression - she truly outshines as a Live-Action Disney Princess!! Definitely at the top of our "Disney Live-Action Movie List." Very hopeful for its future successes 🙌 ***SPOILER*** FYI in the 1 climatic scene when Ariel + Eric must face-off against Gigantic Ursula - the sea witch appearance did frighten my younger child. Although Gigantic Ursula is seen in very quick shots, my child did ask me to cover her eyes everytime we saw the film. The scene does wrap up quickly, and my younger child truly loves and adores this film (and asks to only listen to the soundtrack from sunup to sundown) and our family has watched the film 5 times, so far! We hope your family ❤’s this film too!!

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (93 ):
Kids say (44 ):

Bailey's dazzling performance as Ariel makes director Rob Marshall's nostalgic live-action Disney adaptation worth watching, even with an overlong runtime. The singer/actor/Beyoncé protégé makes Ariel's siren songs her own, hits all the right notes (literally and emotionally), and is irresistibly charming, earning the film an extra star thanks to her must-see portrayal. McCarthy is entertaining as the still campy (and always greedy) Ursula, and Tremblay and Diggs are adorable as Ariel's faithful sidekick and glorified babysitter. Hauer-King's handsome Prince Eric is simultaneously broodier and cornier than his animated counterpart, and Awkwafina is, true to form, extra as goofball Scuttle. Of the four new songs (courtesy of Lin-Manuel Miranda), the Ariel-focused "For the First Time" and the second reprise of "Part of Your World" work quite well, while the Scuttle-Sebastian duet "Scuttle" is forgettable but forgivable, thanks to Diggs' brief rapping. Prince Eric's "Wild Uncharted Waters" is earnest, and Hauer-King has a good voice, but, let's be honest, viewers want to sing along to their favorites, even if the lyrics have been slightly tweaked (especially notable in "Poor Unfortunate Souls," but it's for the better).

Bailey definitely carries the film. Bardem adds almost too much gravitas to the role of Triton, while Ariel's beautiful, multicultural (they represent the Seven Seas) sisters -- even Simone Ashley of Bridgerton season two fame -- have little to do but look like an underwater version of Tinkerbell's fairy besties. It's too bad, because the screenplay could have elevated the sisterhood angle that was somewhat glossed over in the original. While none of Disney's live-action reboots are strictly necessary, there's a lot to enjoy about The Little Mermaid. Go for the nostalgia (eagle-eyed viewers will see the original voice of Ariel, Jodi Benson, in a cameo), but stay for Bailey's voice, which is a treasure as precious as Ariel's dinglehopper.

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