The movie Cats is based on the stage musical of the same name, which is itself based on T.S. Eliot’s collection of poems called Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats.
Set in the streets of London, the movie begins when a woman unceremoniously dumps a sack containing a young cat called Victoria (Francesca Hayward) in an alley. There Victoria is introduced to the Jellicle Cats, including Munkustrap (Robbie Fairchild), who takes her under his wing. The cats are excited about the forthcoming Jellicle Ball, where one cat is chosen to go up to Heaviside to be reborn. Old Deuteronomy (Judi Dench) has the authority to choose which cat this will be.
The Jellicle cats are tormented by Macavity (Idris Elba), a wicked cat who can do magic and who wants to be the chosen cat. He goes to great lengths to secure his position, including capturing other cats and tying them up on a barge in the Thames. Meanwhile, Victoria meets outcast Grizabella (Jennifer Hudson), a sad old cat who has nothing to live for, who takes her to meet Old Deuteronomy.
When Macavity captures Old Deuteronomy, Victoria asks for the help of Mr Mistoffelees (Laurie Davidson), another magical cat, to help bring her back.
Magic; stray cats
Cats has some violence. For example:
- A woman tosses a sack containing a cat into an alley.
- Macavity fights with another cat.
- Macavity pushes Victoria off a stage.
- A knife-throwing act nearly hits a cat. Other cats run riot and destroy everything in a house.
- Victoria is caught by a chain around her neck.
- Growltiger pushes Old Deuteronomy with a barge pole and tries to make her walk the plank. The cats all fight against Growltiger, who gets pushed into the river.
Cats has some sexual references. For example, Victoria and Mr Mistoffelees are attracted to each other and rub necks and faces.
Alcohol, drugs and other substances
Cats shows some use of substances. For example, catnip is sprinkled on the cats to make them go to sleep.
Nudity and sexual activity
The following products are displayed or used in Cats: Bovril.
Ideas to discuss with your children
Cats is a musical movie with a famous score by Andrew Lloyd Webber, based on the famous stage musical. It has a great cast and the costumes and set designs are very well done.
The themes are very mild, but Cats has some scary scenes and it might lack interest for young children. It’s therefore recommended for children over seven years and adults.
The main message from this movie is that redemption is always possible.
Values in this movie that you could reinforce with your children include hope, inclusion, tolerance, courage and bravery.