Elmer (voice of Jacob Tremblay) and his mum (voice of Golshifteh Farahani) live happily in a small town tending their shop. When things get bad and the town becomes abandoned, they must move to the city to try to make a new start. With nothing but the dream of starting a new store, they scrape together enough money to rent an apartment. However, when the last of their money is gone, Elmer runs away determined to find the means to open the store himself. Elmer hears of a legendary dragon being held captive by wild animals and forced to repeatedly lift their island so that they won’t drown. He sets off to free the dragon so that he can bring the dragon home and use him to make money for the store. Boris the dragon (voice of Gaten Matarazzo) is very grateful to be free and instantly becomes friends with Elmer but the wild animals have no intention of letting them get away. Because Boris’s wing is injured, he is unable to fly and must figure out a way to transform himself into a legendary, powerful, dragon so that they can leave the island. Together Elmer and Boris search for an ancient turtle that is rumoured to have answers that can help them, while the animals, led by Saiwa, a giant gorilla (voice of Ian McShane), chase the pair all over the island determined to recapture Boris and keep their home from sinking into the sea.
Finding your destiny; self-transformation; poverty; fear of the unknown; the struggle for power; the struggle to survive
My Father’s Dragon has some violence. For example:
- Kids grab at Elmer’s jar. They shove and clutch at it until they succeed in stealing his one precious coin.
- A cat tells Elmer that he hopes he (Elmer) doesn’t drown or get eaten.
- Elmer is told the tale of wild animals with big pokey teeth and claws that captured a dragon so that it will continue to lift up their sinking island.
- Elmer is knocked off the back of a white whale by a giant wave. He manages to cling onto a giant root and gets lifted out of the water.
- Wild monkeys smack each other.
- Elmer kicks a monkey in the face and the monkey throws a flaming branch back at Elmer.
- Boris and Elmer fall down a cliff and Boris hurts his wing.
- A creepy, wiry, crocodile tells Elmer that he will snap him in two, as he keeps trying to bite Elmer.
- The wild monkeys are coming for Elmer and Boris as water begins to flood an area. A large monkey grabs him and holds Boris’s tail, trying to pull him back, but loses his grip and the pair escape.
- A huge tiger grabs Elmer and then Boris. They talk about taking a first bite and how juicy Elmer must be. More tigers join and then have a fight over Elmer, ready to bite him until Elmer offers them a different type of treat.
- Elmer and Boris fall into a flooded pit.
- Boris kicks a turtle shell and he and Elmer discover the skull and bones of the turtle they have been searching for.
- All the animals get ready to drown, there is panic as Boris is retied and tries to lift the island up again.
- Elmer nearly drowns when his backpack is caught on a root.
There are no sexual references in My Father’s Dragon.
Alcohol, drugs and other substances
There’s no substance use in My Father’s Dragon.
Nudity and sexual activity
There’s no nudity and sexual activity in My Father’s Dragon.
There’s no product placement in My Father’s Dragon.
My Father’s Dragon has some coarse language and insults, including ‘runt’, ‘useless’ and ‘shut up!’
Ideas to discuss with your children
My Father’s Dragon is an animated adventure based on the 1948 award-winning children’s book by Ruth Stiles Gannett. The film is not suitable for children under 5 years because of mature themes, mild violence and scary scenes, and we recommend parental viewing for children aged 5-7 years. The film will be best enjoyed by slightly older kids or fans of the picture book.
These are the main messages from My Father’s Dragon:
- Believe in yourself, even when no one else does.
- Remember that being a good friend is far more important than being right.
Values in My Father’s Dragon that you could reinforce with your children include friendship, resourcefulness, courage, insight, and determination.
My Father’s Dragon could also give you the chance to talk with your children about the real-life consequences of things like:
- Running away and not telling anyone where you’re going or when you’ll be back.
- Trying to do everything yourself and not listening to others, even when they have important insights to share.
- Being scared of what you might face instead of confronting your fear.
- The dangers of talking to strangers.