Trolls

Movie review by
Betsy Bozdech, Common Sense Media
Trolls Movie Poster Image
Fun, colorful adventure has some peril, lots of great music.
  • PG
  • 2016
  • 92 minutes

Parents say

age 6+
Based on 67 reviews

Kids say

age 6+
Based on 68 reviews

We think this movie stands out for:

A lot or a little?

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

Educational value

Kids will learn lessons about the importance of empathy and perseverance, as well as believing in yourself and never giving up.

Positive messages

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 & representations

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.

Sexy stuff

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.

Language

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."

Consumerism

No product placement within the movie, but tons of offline merchandising tie-ins, from toys to clothing and more. Also heavily promoted soundtrack.

Drinking, drugs & smoking

What 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.

User Reviews

Parent Written bySarah M. October 27, 2016

I asked for my money back!

Sorry but a lot of fuss is made of the 'happy message' of this film. I would say that it was quite violent and my young daughter and I had to leave th...
Parent of a 11, 13, and 18+ year old Written byBetsy R. October 21, 2016

It is bad!

This is for older kids!
Kid, 10 years old October 25, 2016
Teen, 13 years old Written bySkippy November 6, 2016

A better version of "Frozen"... sort of

If your family is getting is sick of a sister/daughter singing "Let It Go" then you may want to watch "Trolls". It a good, not so scary, mus...

What's the story?

As TROLLS begins, viewers learn that it's been 20 years since the cute, colorful, tall-haired creatures fled the mean, miserable Bergens, who can only feel happiness when they eat trolls. Led by Princess Poppy (voiced by Anna Kendrick), the trolls have long forgotten to be afraid of the Bergens and now enjoy a carefree life full of rainbows, parties, and songs. But when one of Poppy's parties gets especially loud and glittery, the exiled Bergen Chef (Christine Baranski) tracks them down and captures several of Poppy's closest friends. The plucky princess is determined to fix her mistake and rescue her pals -- but to do it, she'll need the help of pessimistic Branch (Justin Timberlake) and, eventually, a poorly treated Bergen named Bridget (Zooey Deschanel).

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 insanely 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.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about Trolls' messages about happiness. Do you agree with Poppy that everyone deserves to be happy? What do the Bergens learn about finding happiness? What makes you happy?

  • Who does Poppy feel empathy for, and how can you tell? What does it mean to persevere? Why are empathy and perseverance important character strengths?

  • What does Bridget's storyline tell us about self-image? Why didn't she think the prince would like her as Bridget? How did becoming Lady Glitter Sparkles ultimately give her the confidence to believe in herself?

  • What do Branch and Poppy learn from each other? Why is it important to think about the consequences of your actions? Is that the only thing you should think about?

  • How do the songs contribute to the movie? Which one was your favorite, and why? Would you have liked the movie as much without all the music?

Movie details

Character Strengths

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Themes & Topics

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