Story

The Grinch is a Christmas tale based on a Dr Seuss book. It tells the story of the Grinch (Jim Carrey) who lives on Mt Crumpit, a lonely place in the hills behind Whoville. The Grinch is a grumpy character, and most of the residents of Whoville are afraid of him. One little girl, Cindy Lou Who (Taylor Momsen), sees past the Grinch’s surface and wonders why he’s so grouchy. Cindy Lou also wonders whether the hustle and bustle of Whoville at Christmas shows the true Christmas spirit. Cindy Lou decides to show some Christmas spirit and find out why the Grinch hates Christmas so much.

When Cindy Lou invites the Grinch to the annual Christmas ‘Who-bration’, he doesn’t want to go at first. But he’s lonely and eventually decides to give it a try. The people in Whoville accept the Grinch with open arms, and he gets into the celebration. But then his childhood nemesis, Augustus May Who (Jeffrey Tambor), turns up and reminds the Grinch of his traumatic childhood.

Themes

Bullying

Violence

This movie contains some violence. For example:

  • The Grinch forces Cindy Lou into the present package line. She’s almost squashed in the machine. The Grinch laughs in a scary way and doesn’t help her until his dog, Max, forces him to.
  • The Grinch makes bad things happen when he goes into Whoville. These things include vandalism, car accidents and people tripping over.
  • When Augustus May gives the Grinch a present that reminds him of his childhood bullying, he has an angry outburst. He shaves Augustus May’s head, burns down the town Christmas tree and starts a huge explosion in the middle of Whoville.
  • The Grinch drives himself into a wall, dressed as a crash test dummy. He doesn’t seem to be hurt.
  • The Grinch chases Max, the dog, to make him into a reindeer. Max whimpers and runs away from him in fear. The Grinch also forces Max to kiss Augustus. Max has to drag an overloaded sleigh on his own. He struggles and collapses at the top of the hill with a whimper. The Grinch doesn’t help him.
  • The Mayor of Whoville, Augustus May Who, is angry when he wakes to find Christmas stolen. He yells insults at Cindy Lou Who in front of the whole town. Her father stands up for her.

Content that may disturb children

Under 8

In addition to the violent scenes mentioned above, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children under eight. For example:

  • The Grinch prides himself on scaring the citizens of Whoville. The movie uses imagery such as dark shadows to evoke fear. The Grinch himself is a menacing, scowling character who yells, grimaces and screams in Mary Lou’s face to scare her.
  • The Grinch has a scary monster as his door bell. It jumps out of the snow when people are near.
  • The Grinch is bullied cruelly by the other kids in his class because of his looks. He reacts angrily and throws his gift at the Christmas tree. His friends and the teacher laugh at him and don’t help him. He leaves the town and never returns.
  • Termites crawl over the Grinch’s teeth.
  • The Grinch tries to steal Christmas by sucking up all of the presents, stealing from people’s homes and eating all of the Christmas food in Whoville. He laughs evilly.
  • As the Grinch’s heart grows, he stumbles and screams in pain.
  • A family cat is sucked up by the Grinch’s vacuum. The cat is thrown into the Grinch at the top but isn’t hurt.
  • The Grinch is struggling to save the sled full of toys from falling off the mountain cliff when he finds Cindy Lou on top of the sled. The sled hangs precariously, and Cindy Lou cries in fear. The Grinch pulls the sled up from the mountain and saves Cindy Lou. 

From 8-13

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

Over 13

Children in this age group aren’t likely to be scared or upset by any scenes in this movie. 

Sexual references

This movie has some sexual references. For example:

  • Martha and the Grinch have a crush on each other. They flirt a little bit. A flashback scene of when they were young shows Martha swooning about the Grinch’s ‘brute strength’.
  • When the Grinch is reunited with his carers and they hug and touch him, he says, ‘Don’t touch me there’.
  • Cindy Lou’s mother says to her father, ‘Merry Christmas, you hunk of burning Who’. 

Alcohol, drugs and other substances

This movie shows some use of substances. For example:

  • The Grinch eats a wine bottle and says that it’s an ‘excellent year’.
  • The Grinch asks Max, his dog, to bring him his sedative.
  • The Grinch takes a liquor bottle from one of the Whoville residents and drinks it. 

Nudity and sexual activity

This movie has some nudity and sexual activity. For example:

  • Mr and Mrs Who (Cindy’s parents) kiss each other.
  • Martha jiggles her chest at the Grinch.
  • At an adult party, the adults dance and ride on each others’ backs. Then they pull each others’ house keys out of a bowl. 

Product placement

This movie has no product placement of concern. 

Coarse language

There’s some coarse language in this movie. 

Ideas to discuss with your children

The Grinch is a Christmas tale of the grumpy Grinch and his attempt to steal Christmas. It’s also about how one little girl tries to stop him and bring back the real Christmas spirit to the town of Whoville.

The main messages from this movie are about finding the true sprit of Christmas in your family and loved ones.

Values in this movie that you could reinforce with your children include forgiveness and family togetherness.

This movie could give you the chance to talk with your children about real-life issues such as bullying. You could talk about what effect bullying has on the Grinch, as a child and as an adult. Would things have been different if one of his school friends had stood up for him instead of laughing at him? You could also discuss difference. How might it feel to be different? How do you like other people to treat your differences?