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Is ‘Trolls’ OK for Your Kids?

Trolls, the new animated film from DreamWorks, is a bag of sugar candy you can’t put down. It dares you to be a grouch. Based on the (now vintage) Troll dolls from the last century, the film creates a world where trolls refuse to surrender their happiness, despite their existence being threatened by a neighboring village.

I did not expect much from the film beyond a nice movie outing with my family, but I was very surprised to find myself grinning and dancing in my seat. The film is full of musical numbers and whimsy and a fantastic “bad guy.”

What the film is about: The trolls, small creatures who are the embodiment of pure happiness and hugs, are discovered by the sad and downtrodden Bergens, who don’t know how to experience joy. That is, until they realize it can be achieved by eating trolls. The trolls are then imprisoned in the Bergen village, but manage to escape years later when several trolls are recaptured during a troll party. Troll princess Poppy (Anna Kendrick), along with Branch (Justin Timberlake), the only sad troll, embark on a rescue mission. The foundation of happiness is examined.

Any sex/nudity:There are lots of troll butts in the film. Glitter wafts from the rears of some of the trolls as a form of celebration.

Language: Straightforward PG approved.

Violence: The film has several scenes where trolls are about to be consumed. They are tossed into a pot or put inside a Bergen’s mouth – all with the implication that they will be eaten. One character is pulled away from her family and it is implied that she is consumed.

Fear Factor: The villain is brilliantly voiced by Christine Baranski. She is the chef in charge of cooking up the trolls. When things don’t go her way earlier in the film she makes it her mission to find the trolls and reclaim her position in the Bergen village. She is fantastically over the top and evil. I heard several younger kids near me exhale after a few scenes with her – so you may be able to prepare your kids for this villain by watching the trailer for Trolls in advance. If you need a comparison – think Ursula from The Little Mermaid or Madame Medusa from The Rescuers.

What is the take-away lesson? There is a sweet lesson within this film: we don’t need to search for happiness or manufacture happiness. Happiness can come from within. There are many other nice lessons in the film about working with a team and accepting and celebrating differences within our peers.

What does my son say? “I liked the dancing and the singing – because dancing is my favorite thing. There are a few scary parts – but it’s OK.”

Be sure to stay after the credits to find out the fate of ALL of the characters in the film. You will not want to miss the satisfying conclusion.

Dresden Shumaker is a writer, advocate and appreciator of (butterless) movie popcorn. She chronicles her adventures in single parenting on CreatingMotherhood.

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