Parents' Guide to

The Tale of the Princess Kaguya

By Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 9+

Beautifully animated Japanese folktale for older kids.

Movie PG 2014 137 minutes
The Tale of the Princess Kaguya Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

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

Community Reviews

age 6+

Based on 6 parent reviews

age 8+

Ghibli, you've done it again

I love it when Ghibli tries a new style, and while this doesn't take full advantage of its unique art, IMO, it's still very impressive to look at. The story is also very good. Yes, we've seen this kind of plot many times, especially from Disney, but it's executed very well. My only real gripe is that I feel this film kind of loses steam during some moments after Kaguya enters her new palace. What I mean is that while the setups are very good and realistic, I feel like the film focuses a little too much on them. Like the suitors going out to acquire rare items for Kaguya. This should have taken 10 minutes at most to tell, but the film spends 25 minutes on it and after a while, I felt myself wishing the film would focus on something else. Still, this is a really beautiful and well-written film that I can't recommend enough. Though a quick warning for parents: There's a scene near the beginning where the mother character breastfeeds Kaguya and you see her exposed breast and nipple for about a minute worth of screentime, so if you're opposed to your kids seeing that sort of thing, that's something to look out for. Otherwise, there's nothing else your kid probably couldn't handle.

This title has:

Great messages
Great role models
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
1 person found this helpful.
age 9+

Like a delicate flower and tender bamboo stalk

An incredibly drawn film that brings the viewer in and entices you and allows you to care deeply about the characters. The animation draws you in (haha) and allows you to see yourself in the story and to become heavily invested in each character. Although the film is over two hours it does not feel laborious to watch. The time goes by quickly as we follow the princess and root for her happiness. The film has complicated themes that are handled gracefully, but are definitely for older children. There is still a sense of wonder in the artistry, the performance, and the storytelling. Who do you ultimately root for? An intricate journey with no clear hero or preferred outcome.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (6):
Kids say (14):

Director Isao Takahata's (Studio Ghibli co-founder) poignant hand-drawn adventure is gorgeously animated. The Tale of the Princess Kaguya is sure to make audiences think about everything from parent-child relationships to the oppressive trappings of class to the far-reaching consequences of ignoring your child's potential. This is far from the typical happily-ever-after stories many families are used to seeing, but fans of Japanese animation may not be surprised by the serious themes and at times heartbreaking scenes.

The animation stresses the beauty of the natural and the ridiculousness of the artificial. The story does the same, largely in the form of the governess' demands that Kaguya pluck her eyebrows, blacken her teeth, pull up her hair, and never, ever run -- which are all depicted as ludicrous (much like in Brave). Kaguya yearns for the forest, for freedom, and for her beloved Sutemaru, who treated her as an equal, not a prize to possess. Parents may feel a pang of sadness as they relate with both the Bamboo Cutter, who does what he thinks is best for Kaguya's future, and his wife, who understands that what her daughter wants is her forest home and quiet moments of happiness.

Movie Details

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