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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
For entertainment only.
Don't judge people who seem different.
Positive Role Models
Though Elmer is marginalized and taunted by bullies, he holds his head high and feels proud of who he is.
The movie is a parable about prejudice, presenting Elmer as a "sissy," someone viewed as insufficiently masculine, who hates team sports, loves music and art, and uses his brain rather than bullying and bashing.
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Violence & Scariness
Elmer's schoolmates bully and beat him up because he's a "sissy." He has a bandage around his head and a black eye afterward. A hunter shoots a duck and wounds him.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Sissy Duckling is an animated short from 1999 written by Harvey Fierstein to offer kids who feel "different" reassurance that difference isn't a bad thing. The movie is a parable about prejudice, presenting Elmer as a "sissy," someone viewed as insufficiently masculine, who hates team sports, loves music and art, and uses his brain rather than bullying and bashing. It sends the message that we don't all have to act the same and look the same in order to feel good about ourselves. Elmer's schoolmates bully and beat him up because he's a "sissy." He has a bandage around his head and a black eye afterward. A hunter shoots a duck and wounds him. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
The Sissy Duckling has its heart in the right place, trying to persuade the skeptical that people who are different shouldn't be cast out of the community. It argues that we are all different and we should all be accepted. A better argument might be that underneath all our many seeming variations, we are in fact all the same. Black or White, large or small, rich or poor, no matter whom we choose to love, we share similar emotions, goals, and hopes.
What feels sad about this movie is that a bright, creative, and perfectly nice kid like Elmer has to prove to his father that he has value. And it takes a display of Elmer's inherent goodness, decency, and loyalty during a terrible crisis to finally show everyone he should be embraced rather than ostracized. A song's lyrics advise that "time takes time," echoing a recent advertising campaign that supported gay youth with the assuring mantra that even when life seems awful, "it gets better."
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.