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Madeline Review

For Families provided by Common Sense Media

OK for kids 6+

Great adaptation for young kids and fans of the books.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that, Madeline is a live-action adaptation of the classic children’s book about Madeline, a little girl who lives in a boarding school in Paris. This version presents Madeline as an orphan who expresses an awareness that she has no family and no real home. It also merges elements from the book Madeline and the Bad Hat, including the Spanish ambassador's son, Pepito. Suspenseful scenes include Madeline with appendicitis; an accidental fall into the river; a clownish but perhaps scary kidnapping; a chase with two kids on a motorcycle; and the threat of the girls’ school being closed. A caring woman dies after a long illness and a dog is lost (but eventually reappears). A few instances of insulting language, swearing, and a scene with the little girls having fun with their cook’s undergarments.

  • Families can talk about how the film compares with the original Madeline book. Which do you like better?
  • Would you have done anything differently if you were making this film?
  • How did you like mixing in Pepito from Madeline and the Bad Hat?

The good stuff
  • educationalvalue true2

    Educational value: An adaptation of a popular children's book, with elements from one its sequels. The film has many picturesque visuals of France in the last century -- some landmarks and cultural references.

  • message true2

    Messages: Good things happen when the young heroine thinks positively, has faith that she can be effective, and stands up for herself and her school. Madeline helps a bitter, grieving man deal with his loss and react in constructive way.

  • rolemodels true3

    Role models: Madeline is a wonderful example of feisty intelligence, a generous spirit, and a can-do attitude. Occasionally, she makes a bit more mischief than she should, but it always turns out well. Her teacher is loyal, steadfast, and courageous. Other than the buffoonish villains, adults and kids who border on mean-spirited or negligent are redeemed by the film's end. Some ethnic diversity. 

What to watch for
  • violence false0

    Violence and scariness: Clownish villains (actual clowns who swallow fire, juggle, punch each other) attempt to kidnap two children and hold them for ransom. A few scary visuals are meant to unsettle the school girls: a tiger in a cage, escaping white mice, a snake, a boy trying to frighten them in a window, and a shadowy room in a museum. In addition to the kidnapping, Madeline has several close calls: appendicitis, a fall into the river, and a careening chase through the woods with kids on a motorcycle trying to escape from a truck.

  • sex false1

    Sexy stuff: Young girls make fun of an older woman's bra and undies. The girls sneak a peek at a kissing couple. 

  • language false0

    Language: A villain continually belittles his accomplices: "idiot," "stupid," and more. The girls call their landlord "Lord Cuckoo Butt" and "Lord Cuckoo Face." Some fart sounds, and references to a bra as a "booby basket." 

  • consumerism false0

    Consumerism: Not an issue

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false0

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: In one scene a woman has a schnapps bottle on the table beside her.