This is a live-action remake of Disney’s 1998 animated version of Mulan. Both versions are based on the Chinese folktale, ‘Ballad of Mulan’.
Mulan (Liu Yifei) is the oldest daughter of a retired warrior. She stands out from the other girls in her village because of her strong, fierce energy or Qi. In fact, this energy is making it difficult for the village matchmaker to find a suitable marriage proposal for Mulan.
When the emperor of China calls for one man from each family to join the army to protect the country from invasion, Mulan’s father has no choice but to go himself, because he has no sons. Mulan secretly takes her father’s sword and conscription papers and steals away in the night to take his place in the army.
Mulan pretends to be a young man and must work hard not to be discovered as a woman among the other soldiers. She has exceptional abilities as a warrior, and she draws the attention of the other soldiers and superiors. But can Mulan fight for China and win the respect of her nation and her father without revealing her true identity?
Gender stereotypes and traditional roles; feminism; war and invasion; loyalty; honour; bravery; family; magic and witchcraft; supernatural powers
Mulan (2020) has a lot of violence. For example:
- There are numerous battle scenes that feature weapons like arrows and swords. These scenes also show dead bodies.
- Soldiers charge at enemy soldiers on horseback. These scenes are set to dramatic music.
- There are many scenes of one-to-one combat that show characters using martial arts and weapons.
- There’s a witch with long talons, which she uses to claw at people.
Mulan (2020) has some mild sexual references and romance. For example:
- The soldiers look at a picture of a woman painted on a scroll and joke about the qualities of a good woman or wife.
- There is some mild romantic tension between Mulan and another soldier called Yoson An. They briefly hold hands.
Alcohol, drugs and other substances
Nudity and sexual activity
Mulan (2020) has some nudity and sexual activity:
- Mulan is bathing naked in the river (she’s hidden under the water). Another soldier comes down to bathe and strips off at the water’s edge. Mulan keeps her back to him so that he won’t see that she’s a woman.
- Several scenes show men without their tops on.
Ideas to discuss with your children
Mulan (2020) is a beautiful and lush adaptation of the original Disney animation. It’s perfectly pitched to appeal to children aged 10-13 years, with a relatively simple storyline but plenty of dramatic tension, moving moments and exciting battle scenes. But because of the war and battle violence in this movie, it isn’t suitable for children under 10 years. We also recommend parental guidance for children aged 10-13 years.
Mulan (2020) has strong messages about the strength and bravery you need to break free from gender-based cultural norms and stereotypes. Mulan is a great role model for girls because she realises that her strength lies not in pretending to be a man but in being a powerful woman. The other central message in this movie is about loyalty to family and country.
Values in Mulan (2020) that you could reinforce with your children include:
- learning to value people’s gifts and differences, even when people don’t conform to social norms
- standing out from the crowd – not being afraid to stand out by doing what’s right.
This movie could also give you the chance to talk with your children about real-life issues like:
- war – you could talk about whether the movie accurately portrays the reality of war, as well as the differences between ancient and modern warfare.
- gender roles – you could talk about gender roles in our society and whether they’re changing.