Story

The star-crossed lovers in this animated version of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet are garden gnomes who belong to two different tribes, one blue and one red. The tribes live in neighbouring gardens belonging to the Montague and Capulet families. Although this story isn’t as tragic as the original, there’s still a lot of competition and warring between the two tribes.

Gnomeo (voice of James McEvoy) is the son of Lady Blueberry (Maggie Smith), the leader of the Blues. Juliet (Emily Blunt) is the daughter of Lord Redbrick (Michael Caine), the leader of the Reds. Gnomeo and Juliet meet by accident, unaware that they’re from opposing tribes. They instantly fall in love. Things get tricky when they realise that their love is doomed, but Juliet is a headstrong girl, determined to break away from her overprotective father.

Gnomeo and Juliet feel that their love is stronger than family rivalry and continue their romance with almost disastrous consequences.

Themes

Tribal feuds

Violence

This movie contains some violence. For example:

  • Gnomeo and Tybalt (voice of Jason Statham) have a fierce lawnmower race. Tybalt forces Gnomeo off the track, and Gnomeo crash-lands on the road.
  • A donkey kicks some small gnomes.
  • Red and blue gnomes fight each other with garden spades.
  • Tybalt almost runs down Benny, a red gnome. Tybalt attacks Benny with a spade and chops his hat off.
  • Benny and Tybalt fight. Tybalt runs into a wall and smashes himself to pieces.
  • Gnomeo gets kicked onto the road. For a while, it looks like he has been run over by a truck and smashed to pieces.
  • The Terrafirminator crashes into the Red garden and destroys everything. Then it gets out of control and does the same to the Blue garden. In the process it crashes into Juliet’s pedestal and knocks her into the water.
  • Red and Blue gnomes fight each other with bows and arrows and catapults.

Content that may disturb children

Under 5

In addition to the violent scenes mentioned above, this movie contains some scenes that could scare or disturb children under five, especially in the 3D version. For example:

  • A large bulldog with big teeth growls and snarls at Juliet.
  • The Terrafirminator is a huge fierce lawnmower (described as a weapon of mass destruction) and looks quite scary.
  • Featherstone – a garden flamingo – is thrown away into a shed.
  • Gnomeo is apparently smashed to pieces.
  • As the blue gnomes prepare for battle, they paint black war paint on their faces.
  • Gnomeo and Juliet fall out of a tree and into a pond, where they sink.
  • Gnomeo gets his head stuck in the fence.
  • A dog picks up Gnomeo in his mouth.
  • Gnomeo is picked up by a backhoe and thrown into a park.
  • Juliet is glued to her pedestal by her father.

From 5-8

Some children in this age group might also be disturbed by some of the scenes mentioned above.

From 8-13

Children in this age group are unlikely to be disturbed by anything in this movie.

Over 13

Nothing of concern

Sexual references

None of concern

Alcohol, drugs and other substances

None of concern

Nudity and sexual activity

Gnomeo and Juliet kiss.

Product placement

None of concern

Coarse language

This movie contains some mild coarse language, which children might imitate.

Ideas to discuss with your children

Gnomeo and Juliet is an animated comedy with some typical British humour and references to Shakespeare. It’s aimed at children but has some adult concepts that children might find hard to understand. It’s voiced by a stellar cast, with 3D animation and Elton John music.

The main message from this movie is that love can overcome all difficulties, including cultural difference.

Values in this movie that you might want to reinforce with your children include acceptance of difference, courage and respect for parents.

This movie could also give you the chance to talk with your children about the following real-life issues:

  • the absurdity of hating a group of people because they’re different in some way
  • the futility of fighting over things that don’t really matter.