Father and child sit together smiling while looking at a smart phone.

Want more recommendations for your family?

Sign up for our weekly newsletter for entertainment inspiration

Parents' Guide to

To the Arctic

By Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 6+

Educational documentary explores life in the frozen wild.

Movie G 2012 45 minutes
To the Arctic Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

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

Community Reviews

age 5+

Based on 1 parent review

age 5+

Don't bother.

Borrowed this DVD from the library.. really glad I didn't spend any money on it! Sure the photography is beautiful but this is not much more than a propaganda film about global warning (not even offering any hope). The format takes away from the enjoyment of the scenery as there are many mini picture-in-picture segments. The focus switches around a bit and is not always about the polar bears (DVD case/description is very misleading). Too bad they wasted all that great footage on what could have been an entertaining and educational story about a mother polar bear.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (1 ):
Kids say (4 ):

Streep, a master of tone and diction, is a wonderful narrator -- injecting the movie's fairly didactic script with the emotion and urgency necessary to convey just how dire the arctic situation is. With a running time of just 45 minutes, even younger children will be able to follow along as To the Arctic introduces audiences to the industrious mother cub who can sense danger and will stop at nothing -- even growling at a much larger, much hungrier alpha male -- to protect and feed her babies.

Thanks to the participation of Paul McCartney, To the Arctic's score is full of poignant, familiar songs that match the dazzling visuals (all of that white landscape punctuated by the swimming or galloping animals) and the at times heart-wrenching story of the animals desperate to survive in their unforgiving surroundings. This isn't an uplifting story -- the arctic is facing full-on extinction by 2050 if we humans don't help stop global warming -- but it's an important one that will stick with kids long before Streep has uttered her last dulcet-toned sentiment.

Movie Details

Inclusion information powered by

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.

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