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The Secret of NIMH Review

For Families provided by Common Sense Media

OK for kids 8+

Fascinating, but very dark with some creepy imagery.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this animated movie about a group of intelligent rats who escape from an animal laboratory is suspenseful and rather dark. Several scenes include animal children in peril and a sword fight between rats ends in one death with a little blood. The worst part for sensitive viewers: a flashback shows the animated animals being imprisoned and injected with a needle.

  • Families can talk about scariness in movies. Which parts were the scariest? What made these scenes scary? Would the movie have been more or less scary if it weren't animated?
  • Who were the heroes in this movie?
  • Talk about animals in laboratories. Why are they there? How does your family feel about animal testing?

The good stuff
  • educationalvalue true0

    Educational value: Purely designed as entertainment, though kids might want to know more about animal testing after the movie.

  • message true1

    Messages: Includes themes of animal cruelty and animal experimentation, but also teamwork and freedom.

  • rolemodels true2

    Role models: Mrs. Brisby is brave for her family, and several other characters are helpful and kind, even if they seem a little creepy. One villian is power hungry and plots a murder.

What to watch for
  • violence false3

    Violence and scariness: Lots of creepy, dark imagery, only occasionally lightened with humor. A scary and dramatic sword fight between rats with a little blood that results in the death of one rat. Two bad rats plot to kill a main character and make it look like an accident; they are successful. Mrs. Brisby's children are in great peril and almost drown in the mud. Rats, as well as dogs, cats, and monkeys, are subjected to scientific experiments including a scene of an injection in a flashback. A big spider crawls toward Mrs. Brisby before it's crushed by a giant owl. Characters eyes glow and might appear scary to some.

  • sex false0

    Sexy stuff: The crow talkes about "looking for a lady" and "making a love nest." Some flirtation between a male and female crow.

  • language false1

    Language: One "damn."

  • consumerism false0

    Consumerism: Not an issue

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false0

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: The rats drug the cat on occasion to make it sleep.