Story

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children is based on the popular book of the same name by American author Ransom Riggs. It’s directed by Tim Burton in his typically dark, quirky and surreal style. The plot follows Jacob Portman (Asa Butterfield), a 16-year-old American boy, as he seeks the truth behind his grandfather’s strange stories about a Welsh orphanage and its quirky child inhabitants.

Jake goes to a remote Welsh island with his father and finds himself in an alternative world. The inhabitants of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children are locked in a time loop for their own safety, but terrifying monsters and evil characters threaten their existence. It falls to Jake, with his own special peculiarity, to save the children.

Themes

Death; being different; jealousy; good versus evil; magic and fantasy; mental illness; war and Nazis

Violence

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children has many violent incidents. For example:

  • One of the orphaned children creates small puppet monsters out of dolls and weapons. He brings them to life and orders them to slaughter one another violently. There is an explicit scene of one ‘toy’ slicing another through the heart.
  • The ‘Hollows’ are some of the monsters in the movie. They suck the eyeballs from children’s heads and pile them up to eat.
  • There are many fight scenes that involve weapons like knives, cleavers, bows and arrows and so on.
  • There is also fantasy violence, like people being turned to stone or ice or being set on fire. 

Content that may disturb children

Under 5
In addition to the violent scenes mentioned above, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children has many scenes that could scare or disturb children under five years. For example:

  • There are two kinds of ‘monsters’ in this movie: the ‘Wights’ and the ‘Hollows’. The Wights are like humans but have empty, blank, white eyes. The Hollows are terrifying giant creatures with blank, skull-like heads, sharp teeth and tentacles that come out of their mouths. They use these tentacles to grab their victims and suck the eyeballs out of their skulls. Victims of the Hollows are shown with empty eye sockets.
  • Enoch, one of the orphaned children, has the ability to resurrect the dead and to bring objects to life. In one scene he inserts a beating heart into the body of a dead child. The dead child has only empty sockets, but it sits up and starts to talk. It’s a very scary scene.
  • Some of the children are quite scary. There are twins who must always wear hessian sacks tied over their heads, a girl who has a carnivorous mouth on the back of her head, and a boy who is full of bees that swarm in and out of his mouth.
  • To fight the Hollows, Enoch brings an army of skeletons to life. They are like zombies and attack the Hollows.
  • Jake finds his grandfather dead and with empty eye sockets. 

From 5-8
In addition to the violent scenes and scary visual images mentioned above, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children in this age group. For example:

  • Nazis repeatedly bomb the house where Miss Peregrine lives. There are slow-motion scenes of bombs dropping out of the sky. No-one is harmed, but the house is destroyed.
  • Jake discovers that his psychiatrist, whom he trusted, is actually one of the Wights in disguise.
  • Jake must make decisions about whether to leave his family forever.
  • Jake’s father is dismissive and doesn’t seem to care much about Jake. Jake’s family think he’s weird.

From 8-13
Children in this age group might pick up on some of the subtle themes that run through this movie, like death, war and difference. This could intensify the movie for them and some might find it disturbing.

Over 13
Youngerchildren in this age group might still find many of the scenes in this movie scary or disturbing. There are many ‘horror’ themes in this movie.

Sexual references

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children has some sexual references, including some scenes that show teenage romance and mild flirtation between Jake and Emma.

Alcohol, drugs and other substances

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children shows some use of substances – for example, some scenes show adults drinking in a pub.

Nudity and sexual activity

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children has some mild sexual activity including a scene where Jake and Emma kiss.

Product placement

None of concern

Coarse language

There is some coarse language in this movie.

Ideas to discuss with your children

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children is a comedy horror movie based on teenage fiction. It blends fantasy, magic and horror with a warm and relatable narrative about being unique and accepting differences.

The movie’s M rating is well-deserved. It’s very dark, menacing and creepy in some parts, and the monsters are quite terrifying. Therefore we don’t recommend it for children under 13 years, and we do recommend parental guidance for children aged 13-15 years.

The main message from this movie is that our differences are also our gifts.

Values in this movie that you could reinforce with your children include bravery, teamwork, self-sacrifice, acceptance, friendship and family.

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

  • what happens when people we trust deceive us
  • how it feels when someone you love dies
  • what happened as a result of the Second World War.