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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
A father temporarily passess his young son off to a stern grandmother who at first seems more inconvenienced than overjoyed about her grandson's visit. But the main characters undergo a transition and in the end are the better for it.
Violence & Scariness
Some intense scenes involving a fire and a noble act of self-sacrifice, but no violence.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that although this engaging live-action/animated feature (based on the classic children's book) deals with some themes -- like neglect and death -- that may need explaining, it does so in a way that's gentle enough for young viewers. There are a couple of tense scenes involving a fire, and the main character's mother has died (it happened before the events shown in the movie). But ultimately this is a crowd-pleasing story with a heartwarming, family-centric message. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Inspired by Margery Williams' classic children's book, this live-action/animated hybrid will please audiences of all ages. The animation is relatively rudimentary, but no matter: The story is full of heart. The animals pose the film's existential central question -- what makes you real? -- in a graceful way that younger audiences can understand but older viewers can contemplate, too. (That's a tricky feat.)
The cast is charming, especially Harbour, who manages to convey both childlike wonder and world weariness at the same time. His rapport with Una Kay, who plays his grandmother, is wonderful, transforming believably from distant to devoted as the story moves forward. Movies these days are often jaded or sardonic, so it's a treat to find a gem like THE VELVETEEN RABBIT that doesn't try too hard to be either. It's happy to just be.
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.
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Our Editors Recommend
Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.See how we rate