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Parents' Guide to

Welcome to Marwen

By Joyce Slaton, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 13+

Art helps man cope with trauma in fact-based drama.

Movie PG-13 2018 116 minutes
Welcome to Marwen Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

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

Community Reviews

age 16+

Based on 12 parent reviews

age 18+

Not for kids!

There's were scenes where dolls were topless, and sexual situations there was also a scene where a woman butt was shown in a thong in a porn flick, and illustrations where woman were naked from the waist up!
age 16+


This movie, and I did like the movie, includes a scene of a porno film, very obviously, which features women bending over wearing thongs and lace aprons, followed with a man threatening them with violence. In addition to this scene the movie had many very adult situations that a child simply does not need to be exposed to since it in no way lends anything to the message. There are other films for kids that can send positive messages about recovery and forgiveness. One broken mans obsession with porn doesn’t need to be included in that list.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (12 ):
Kids say (6 ):

With a fragile beauty and sweetness that's marred by a slight story and underdeveloped characters, this redemption fable is heartwarming but ultimately too insubstantial to pack a major punch. Carell, always a pro at finding the humanity in imperfect characters, is as reliably lovable as ever, and Hogancamp's story is a stunner that's particularly well-suited for cinema (it was previously explored in the documentary Marwencol). The film's opening, which drops viewers into Marwen's doll-sized world, is simply enchanting. But the more time we spend in Marwen, the less we like it. Mark spins out simple battle scenarios with his dolls, and the many pow-pow-pow scenes between heroes and villains grow wearying; they start to feel like they're simply there to pad out the film's running time.

A better solution would have been to widen the film's focus and flesh out some of the side characters. The Marwen doll cast is largely female, with many based on women in Mark's life: the bartender who discovered him after his vicious beating (voiced by Stefanie von Pfetten), the therapist who helped him walk again (Janelle Monae), the next-door neighbor on whom he nurses a crush (Leslie Mann). But our view of them is limited only to what they can do or have done for Mark: Just about every line spoken by a female character is about Mark in some way. They seem content merely to worry about and discuss his life and don't seem to have feelings, opinions, or a life of their own. The film clearly sees something sweet in Mark's affinity for women; he views his penchant for cross-dressing as an attempt to connect with the "essence" of womanhood and at one point even screams out that "women are the saviors of the world!" It's a telling line, and a frustrating one, because even if he sees the women of this movie as revered objects, they're still objects. And in a movie about redemption and humanity, extending generosity to just one character blunts the impact of its messages, making Welcome to Marwen more of a treat for the eyes than the heart.

Movie Details

  • In theaters: December 21, 2018
  • On DVD or streaming: April 9, 2019
  • Cast: Steve Carell , Diane Kruger , Leslie Mann
  • Director: Robert Zemeckis
  • Inclusion Information: Female actors
  • Studio: Universal Pictures
  • Genre: Drama
  • Character Strengths: Courage , Perseverance
  • Run time: 116 minutes
  • MPAA rating: PG-13
  • MPAA explanation: sequences of fantasy violence, some disturbing images, brief suggestive content, thematic material and language
  • Last updated: November 24, 2023

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