Story

Arthur Christmas is the 3D animated story of Santa Claus (voiced by Jim Broadbent) and Mrs Santa Claus (voiced by Imelda Staunton), their two sons Steve (voiced by Hugh Laurie) and Arthur (voiced by James McAvoy) and Mr Claus’s father, Grandsanta (voiced by Bill Nighy). The family lives at Santa’s high-tech headquarters in the North Pole. Christmas Eve is a finely tuned operation run mostly by Steve, who has military training. Many highly organised and efficient elves ensure that Santa successfully delivers Christmas gifts to every child across the world.

As Santa faces his 70th mission, Steve and the Christmas elves expect that Santa will announce his retirement and the appointment of Steve as the next Santa Claus. When Santa fails to do this, it leads to family tensions. Steve in particular feels resentful that his ongoing success as head of operations doesn’t land him the big job. Steve’s younger brother Arthur isn’t worried. He’s happy with his role as chief of correspondence – reading and responding to all the letters written by children.

When the alarm is raised about a child being missed on Santa’s last mission, Steve steps up to calm the panic. He assures everyone that missing one child in millions isn’t a failure, just an unavoidable accident. He sends everyone back to bed without worrying about it. But Arthur is horrified that a little girl will wake up to no present under the tree. He sets out to deliver the missing gift before the sun rises on Christmas morning.

Themes

Family tensions

Violence

This movie has some violence. For example, Grandsanta and Arthur are shot at by a man who thinks they’re aliens. Also, police chase Arthur after he enters the wrong house and sets off an alarm.

Content that may disturb children

Under 5

In addition to the violent scenes mentioned above, this movie has some scenes that could scare or disturb children under five. For example:

  • Arthur and Grandsanta accidentally land the sleigh in the Serengeti. They’re attacked by some frightened lions, who growl at them, show their teeth aggressively and look as if they’ll eat them. The sleigh escapes and no-one gets hurt.
  • A dead mouse is blown out of a trumpet. 

From 5-8

Other than the scenes listed above, there are no scenes likely to upset children in this age group. 

Over 8

Nothing of concern

Sexual references

None of concern

Alcohol, drugs and other substances

This movie shows some use of substances. For example:

  • Grandsanta has a drinks trolley next to his armchair.
  • The characters have Christmas punch at Christmas dinner.
  • Characters talk about an elf being an alcoholic by the age of nine. 

Nudity and sexual activity

None of concern 

Product placement

The following products are displayed or used in this movie: Google, Versace and Sony. 

Coarse language

This movie has some very mild coarse language. 

Ideas to discuss with your children

Arthur Christmas is a modern Christmas tale about the Claus family, a fallible bunch with kind hearts and an extraordinary job to do. It’s a real family movie.

Values in this movie that you could reinforce with your children include thoughtfulness, kindness and being true to yourself.

This movie could also give you the chance to talk with your children about some questions related to real-life issues. These questions include the following:

  • Why is it time for Santa to retire?
  • Why is Arthur picked as the next Santa Claus rather than his ultra-efficient brother Steve?
  • What might Gwen have felt like on Christmas Day if she woke up to no present?
  • Arthur knows that his brother and the elves talk about him negatively but he doesn’t let this bother him. He just keeps being himself. How do you think he’s able to do this?