Information for Parents
Common Sense Media says OK for kids 7+
Quirky animated comedy follows a family's ups and downs.
What Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that unlike other Studio Ghibli productions, which are in the Japanese anime style, this one is all minimalist, cartoon-strip animation. The movie follows a multi-generational family of five in several short episodes focused on a specific theme or particular family member. Some kids may be disturbed when Nonoko is accidentally left behind at a mall and when bikers briefly threaten the family, leading to a motorcycle chase. The language occasionally includes quick insults like "stupid" or "shut up," and the father is shown smoking cigarettes in a couple of stories. Although there's no romance, there are references to Noboru's first crush and a gossipy conversation between the grandmother and her friend about a possible affair.
- Families can talk about how different the animation and storytelling technique is in this movie than most animated films.
- How does this movie compare to Studio Ghibli's other movies? Do you prefer the Studio Ghibli movies featuring one central protagonist, or do you like this whole-family approach?
- Unlike most kid-friendly movies, this is a more episodic story than a continuous beginning-middle-end plot. Is it harder to sustain interest in a movie where there are several shorts rather than one plotline?
The good stuff
Educational value: This isn't an educational film, but kids may show an interest in different forms of animation after seeing it. It also teaches the importance of family unity, especially in times of trouble.
Positive messages: The movie is all about how a family can survive the many daily challenges they face, no matter how annoyed and exasperated they get with each other. It also provides an example of a multi-generational family.
Positive role models: Grandmother is a feisty, opinionated woman who's candid and clever. Mrs. Yamada isn't the best housekeeper or cook, but she's still a good mother who worries and watches over her kids. Mr. Yamada is often grumpy, but when it's time to save his family, he rises to the occasion. Nonoko is mischievous but kind, and even Noboru, who usually wishes his parents were "normal" is thankful for his family in the end.
What to watch for
Violence and scariness: Some children may find the segment when Nonoko is left behind at the mall frightening, although she's calm about the situation. In another sequence, the family has a run in with bikers who drag off Mrs. Yamada and her elderly grandmother, until they're rescued by a heroic biker.
Sex: In one segment, Noboru shares an umbrella with a girl and is then teased about it; when she calls him at home, he blushes and his mother and grandmother are convinced he's "in love." The grandmother's friend thinks two people in the hospital are "fooling around" and having an affair. They are shown cuddling and smooching. Mr. and Mrs. Yamada usually bicker, but they embrace every now and then.
Language: Insults include "stupid," "jerk," and "shut up."
Drinking, drugs and smoking: Mr. Yamada is shown smoking a cigarette in a few of the vignettes.