Minna (voice of Robyn Dempsey) lives with her father (voice of Tom Hale) in a quaint house in the countryside. Minna enjoys being by herself with her pet hamster and playing chess with her father.
Minna’s life is shattered when her father’s girlfriend (voice of Karen Ardiff) moves in with her daughter Jenny (voice of Emma Jenkins), a girl about the same age as Minna. Jenny is image obsessed and addicted to posting about her own life on Instagram and other social media. The girls couldn’t be more different. Jenny is horrified to be moving to the countryside and sharing a room with the very unfashionable Minna. Jenny also thinks that Minna’s hamster is a disgusting rat.
One night while Minna is asleep and dreaming, she comes across a crack in a wall. When she peers through it, an alternative, imaginary world is revealed. In this world, people’s dreams are constructed, like plays on large stages. Each person’s ‘dream stage’ is run by a production team of small blue men and friendly little robots.
Minna meets her very own ‘Dreambuilder’ – his name is Gaff (voice of Luke Griffin), and he has been designing and producing Minna’s dreams since she was just a baby. Gaff is very fond of Minna, but when he realises that she has broken through the dream stage into the backstage world, he is horrified and worried about losing his job and being demoted.
Minna is fascinated by this backstage dream world and realises that she can actually influence how people think in the real world by manipulating what happens in their dreams. This begins as a bit of fun, but when Minna decides to take revenge on Jenny by manipulating Jenny’s dreams, things go horribly wrong. Minna must make amends.
Family breakdown and parental separation; dreams and the unconscious; overcoming traumatic events; psychological manipulation; growing up; technology and social media addiction
Dreambuilders has some violence. For example:
- Minna loses her temper and violently smashes a chessboard on the table, causing it to break. Her father tries to hold her tight, but she kicks and fights against him and yells that she hates him.
- Jenny uses psychological violence to bully Minna. For example, Jenny secretly puts photos of Minna on social media with negative and mean comments. She also tries to steal Minna’s father’s affection to make Minna feel jealous and insecure.
- In self-defence, Minna causes a giant robotic spider to explode violently into many pieces.
- Jenny shoves Minna roughly into a corner.
- Jenny throws a book at Minna’s hamster.
There are no sexual references in Dreambuilders.
Alcohol, drugs and other substances
Dreambuilders shows some use of substances. For example, adults drink wine with their meals.
Nudity and sexual activity
Dreambuilders has some mild romantic activity. For example, Minna’s father and Jenny’s mother embrace and kiss.
The following products are displayed or used in Dreambuilders: smartphones and Instagram and other social media.
There is some mean language and name-calling in Dreambuilders, including when Jenny calls Minna ‘rat girl’ and tells her to ‘get lost’.
Ideas to discuss with your children
Dreambuilders is an engaging animation that tackles the difficult theme of parental separation and blended families in a way that’s accessible to children. It’s worth being aware that there are some sad moments and a few scary bits that younger children will find disturbing. For these reasons, this movie is best suited to children over 8 years with parental guidance for children aged 8-12 years.
The main message from Dreambuilders is that you can overcome painful and traumatic events in life with good communication and plenty of support.
Values in this movie that you could reinforce with your children include:
- learning to overcome your fears
- accepting that other people might cope differently from you
- understanding that our unconscious helps us to process traumatic events and heal, but that we also might need to get support and talk about things.
Dreambuilders could also give you the chance to talk with your children about real-life issues like the following:
- A healthy approach to technology in your family: Minna’s dad looks at his phone all the time, which Minna hates, and Jenny is obsessed with social media. You could talk about how to achieve a healthy balance between technology use and other activities in your lives.
- Cyberbullying and responsible digital citizenship: Jenny says mean things about Minna on social media and posts photos of Minna without her consent. You could talk about the consequences and ethics of this kind of behaviour and the way it can make people feel.