The Triplets of Belleville

Movie review by
Nell Minow, Common Sense Media
The Triplets of Belleville Movie Poster Image
Offbeat animated French tale has violence, sex.
  • PG-13
  • 2003
  • 80 minutes
Parents recommend

Parents say

age 10+
Based on 7 reviews

Kids say

age 11+
Based on 4 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

No real positive messages. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

Madame Souza does her best to help her grandson Champion find happiness after losing his parents. 

Violence

A bicyclist, after falling to the floor from exhaustion, is shot and killed by a mobster. Mobsters in a balcony killed by a tossed bomb. Mobsters pull their guns on a dog. A woman catches frogs by tossing a bomb into a pond; frog carcasses seen up close, as well as injured frogs. Mobster killed by getting run over by a train. Mobster dies falling into a ship's smokestack. 

Sex

Some bare, cartoonish breasts shown in a beginning dancing sequence. Prostitutes in a hallway, standing around their pimp. During a brief shot of the audience on the street watching a bicycle race, a little boy has his hand on the bikini bottom of a woman. A husband is shown stuck inside the large buttocks of his wife. 

Language
Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Wine drinking. Cigarette and cigar smoking. 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Triplets of Belleville is a 2003 Oscar-nominated French animated comedy. While French is spoken in the movie, there is hardly any dialogue -- like a silent movie, the action is conveyed visually and through song. During a flashback to a vaudeville show from the 1930s, an African woman dances with her bare breasts exposed. A bicyclist, after passing out onto the floor from exhaustion, is shot and killed by a mobster. Mobsters are killed by a tossed bomb onto the balcony where they sit. Other mobsters are killed by moving trains, and by falling into a ship's smokestack. In the hallway of a seedy apartment, prostitutes stand around their pimp. In this same hallway is a bathroom with an unflushed toilet containing fecal matter. Cigarette and cigar smoking. Wine drinking. For those sensitive to cruelty to animals in any form, a woman catches frogs by tossing a bomb into a pond; when the bomb explodes, dead frogs plop onto rocks, and some frogs limp off injured, and even after they are cooked for soup, one frog is shown still clinging to life in the soup bowl. Also, mobsters pull guns on a dog. A large woman walks into a theater with her small husband wedged in between her buttocks. During a bicycle race, a little boy has his hand on the bikini bottom of the woman next to him. 

User Reviews

Adult Written bywestcoastbohemian May 12, 2012

What??

In the first 5 minutes, the movie starts with smoking cartoon characters, a topless dancing woman wearing only, well, either bananas or leaves around her waist,... Continue reading
Parent Written bymarvistamom April 9, 2008

Better for Adults

There are so many obscure cultural references, this movie surely goes over most children's heads. Plus there are some rather grotesque scenes showing topl... Continue reading
Kid, 12 years old April 9, 2008
Teen, 13 years old Written byKIdX13 June 16, 2009

Uniuqe and memorable cartoon is more violent than you'd think

This is a very good movie, it has very few lines of dialog and yet it keeps you interseted, it has some issues though: 1. A woman is topless twoard the beginin... Continue reading

What's the story?

The astonishing, outlandish, and singular originality of THE TRIPLETS OF BELLEVILLE defeats any attempt to describe or explain it. But it also makes it a lot of fun to watch. It begins with a black-and-white segment with the title characters scat-singing in a swanky 1930s nightclub. It turns out that this is being watched on television in the 1960s by a young boy with his grandmother and their dog. Then we see the boy years later, grown up and a Tour de France competitor with formidably muscular legs. He is kidnapped and his club-footed grandmother and aging dog, aided by the now-elderly triplets, go to the rescue.

Is it any good?

Each scene in this film is cheerily stuffed with arresting graphic effects, vertiginous angles, witty visual puns, and imaginative flights of fancy. The semblance of a plot is barely relevant to The Triplets of Belleville; if it's about anything, it's about vision and imagination.

Everything looks both familiar and strange at the same time, with quirky combinations of old and new Paris and New York, all deliriously and deliciously loony. The triplets throw explosives into the water to catch the frogs they eat for dinner. The bad guys look like a big black wall. And Bruno the dog has a dream that is only slightly more surreal than everything else. It's all very odd for sure, and not for all kids given the violence, sexual content, and offbeat style. Older kids who like quirky movies will enjoy.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the assortment of sources and inspirations for The Triplets of Belleville and compare it to other styles of animated films, including the Disney classics and Japanese anime.

  • How does this movie reveal action and character with hardly any dialogue? 

  • How was violence shown in this movie? Did it seem germane to what was happening with the story, or put in to make the movie seem more exciting? 

Movie details

Themes & Topics

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