A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that War Game is not a typical holiday story and those looking for a feel-good tale will be disappointed. The beautifully told short animated film is set during World War I and serves as a comment on war and humanity. While there is no graphic violence, much of the action is set in the trenches; there is gunfire, rats, bombs, and casualties. The subject matter could be too intense for younger viewers, but for those mature enough to comprehend the deeper meanings of Christmas and peace, War Game should provoke discussion about history, warfare, Christmas, and how the three are often conveyed in popular culture.
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- Kids say
What's the story?
It is the beginning of World War I. Will and Freddie live in the English Countryside, two teenagers happy to live on a farm with their parents and play soccer with their friends. But when their country declares war against Germany, they feel the call to duty just like the rest of their friends. Despite the protestations of their mother (Kate Winslet), Will and Freddie enlist and end up in the trenches of France. They learn the harsh realities of war, but when a German soldier on Christmas day leaves his trench to start a soccer game between the two rival armies, Will and Freddie jump at the chance to forget about war and fighting, no matter how bleak each army's future seems.
Is it any good?
WAR GAME stands apart from other stories set at Christmas in that it conveys a profound message about the true meaning of Christmas without sentimentality. In less than half an hour, this animated film presents deep lessons on the realites of war, what Christmas represents, and a historical snapshot of trench warfare in World War I. That being said, War Game is excellent, but is not typical holiday fare.
Based on a book, the animation is quite distinct, and goes far to contrast the innocent pleasures of youth with the horrors of war creating a deeply moving experience.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how warfare is represented in this film. How accurate do you believe this film depicts the realities of war, and how does it compare to other films about war?
What are some of the ways the film presents its underlying themes? How does the animation affect the story?
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