Information for Parents
Common Sense Media says OK for kids 7+
Classic, heartwarming fantasy will rivet kids.
What Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Indian in the Cupboard is a tender and compelling fantasy about friendship and compassion that tweens will thoroughly enjoy. It does have some potentially upsetting moments: the 9-year-old boy grieves when he brings an aging figure to life who subsequently suffers a fatal coronary. Little Bear (the Indian in the title) explains that he is mourning his wife. Both Little Bear and Boone (a cowboy) explain to Omri that it is time for them to find wives and have children. Little Bear and Boone fight before becoming friends and one scene shows a violent massacre of Native Americans on TV, which causes Little Bear to shoot Boone with an arrow, though he later recovers.
- Families can talk about what older kids have had to give up as they've grown up, such as their blankets and childish toys. How did Omri deal with the loss of his friends at the end of the film?
- Families may want to discuss how they make their friends feel cherished every day. How did Little Bear express his love for Omri?
The good stuff
Educational value: Kids will learn a little about Iroquois history and culture as well as the relationship between cowboys and Indians in the 1800s, plus a bit about WWI.
Positive messages: Little Bear helps Omri learn that friendship, responsibility, and sacrifice are part of being independent. Omri takes his brother's and father's possessions without asking though he later makes amends.
Positive role models: Omri is a gentle, compassionate boy with typical issues related to siblings and growing independence. He cares greatly for Little Bear and takes good care of him, eventually realizing that he needs to let go of him so he can return to his own life. Parents appear supportive; and Omri has a trusted friend Patrick.
What to watch for
Violence and scariness: Little Bear and Boone duel with guns and arrows on their first encounter. By accident, the cowboy Boone is shot in the chest with an arrow, though he later recovers. An older Indian dies from an apparent heart attack when brought to life by Omri's magic cupboard. Omri is accosted by a bigger boy who takes his money. Little Bear must go beneath the floorboards where a rat lives. The rat lunges, but is soon captured. Disturbed by his brothers' presence in his room, Omri lashes out by kicking their pet rat.
Sex: Brief glimpse of Motley Crue music video "Girls" with gyrating, scantily clad women. Boone makes a slightly lascivious comment. Discussion about Little Bear's need for a wife.
Language: "Hell," "damn," and "ass" uttered by the adults occasionally.
Consumerism: Not an issue
Drinking, drugs and smoking: Not an issue