A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Kids will learn lessons about the importance of empathy and perseverance, as well as believing in yourself and never giving up.
Never give up. Everyone has the potential to be happy, and you shouldn't pin all your hopes for happiness on something outside yourself. It's important to be loved and appreciated for who you really are; you shouldn't have to change how you look/act to make someone interested in you. And having fun is great, but you can't just do what you want all the time -- you also have to be responsible and think about consequences. Friendship and loyalty are important. Some bodily function humor (notably, shiny trolls who shoot glitter out of their bottoms when they pass gas).
Positive Role Models
Poppy is a strong female character. She's brave, loyal, positive, and a good friend. She never gives up. She starts out only thinking about fun but learns the importance of considering consequences. She empathizes with Bridget and sticks with her. Branch starts out cynical and pessimistic but learns to be happy again. He's resourceful and smart and very well-prepared. Bridget learns to stand up for herself and be proud of who she is. The other Bergens are greedy and selfish but also open to new ideas (except for Chef, who's nasty, through and through). The trolls are a diverse bunch who come in all shapes, colors, and sizes.
Violence & Scariness
Frequent peril. The Bergens are scary looking (especially Chef); they threaten to eat the trolls, and they brandish knives and other cooking implements around them. Tense chase scenes and times when it looks like not all the trolls survive. Bergens invade the trolls' party and cause fear and panic, then capture many of them. Poppy encounters/dodges many hungry predators on her way to Bergentown. She, Branch, and their friends are chased by a big, vicious dog-like animal and have lots of other narrow escapes; sometimes it seems as though trolls have been eaten. Branch recalls a sad moment from his past, when he lost someone he loved. Chef treats Bridget very cruelly. In the end, it appears two bad-guy characters meet a fiery fate.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Bridget has a huge crush on the prince. They flirt, and, as Lady Glitter Sparkles, Bridget strikes "sexy" poses to get his attention. He calls her "hot lunch," and at one point makes a reference to finding "another way to work up an appetite" (turns out he's referring to roller skating). Flirting/romantic tension between Poppy and Branch. Glitter-covered trolls have bare, sparkly bottoms.
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A few uses of "OMG" (also said as "oh my gah," with the ending of the word not clearly defined), plus "stupid" and insults like "dumpy diapers." Also slang like "oh, snap," "YOLO," and "solid burn."
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Products & Purchases
No product placement within the movie, but the whole movie is based on a toy line, and there are tons of offline merchandising tie-ins. Also heavily promoted soundtrack.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Trolls is a cute, colorful adventure inspired by the tall-haired troll dolls that first became popular in the 1960s. It centers on peppy troll Princess Poppy (voiced by Anna Kendrick), who teams up with grumpy pessimist Branch (Justin Timberlake) to rescue her friends from the troll-hungry Bergens. Along the way everyone learns lessons about inner happiness, never giving up, and being proud of who you are. Everything has a fuzzy, felted look to it, which softens some of the danger and peril. But little kids are still likely to be scared by the greedy, hungry Bergens. And they may well hide their eyes when Poppy and her friends flee from danger and have several narrow escapes. There's also a sad moment when Branch remembers losing someone he loved. Two of the Bergens flirt, striking some "sexy" poses and exchanging a couple of mild innuendoes. Bodily function humor includes the projectile-glitter farts of Poppy's sparkly friend, Guy Diamond, whose glittery buttocks are also visible. Expect a few uses of "OMG"/"oh my gah" (the ending of the word is left undefined) and "stupid"/other insults. But in the end, what you'll remember are the great songs, the strong themes of friendship and empathy, and the fun characters. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Make no mistake: Kids are going to love this movie. Trolls is cute, it's colorful, it has tons of catchy songs, and the messages are positive and easy to understand (happiness is inside everyone, if you know where/how to find it, and you shouldn't have to change who you are to get someone to like you). Grown-ups might wish for a little more of the depth and nuance that Pixar has spoiled us into hoping for in animated movies. (And were the glitter farts really necessary?) But sometimes it's nice to just enjoy a sweet, fun kids' movie -- especially one that's full of songs you can't help singing along to.
Good thing, since there's a lot of singing. Musical numbers are used both to move the story along (for example, Poppy's never-give-up anthem, "Get Back Up Again") and to provide hits of visual/audio sugar (Timberlake's incredibly catchy "Can't Stop the Feeling"). And classics like "The Sound of Silence" serve as clever punch lines for jokes designed to appeal to the adults in the audience. Also clever? The many creative ways the trolls use their magic hair, from creating a staircase in midair to whipping back hungry predators. There's so much to look at and listen to in this confection of a movie that you won't be bored -- just know that the soundtrack may be stuck in your head longer than the script.
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.