When a poor carpenter, Geppetto (Roberto Benigni), carves a puppet boy from a magical log, he decides to name the puppet Pinocchio and keep him as his son. Pinocchio (Frederico Ielapi) is a naïve and sometimes mischievous child who gets into trouble and danger.
On his way to school one day, Pinocchio stops at a puppet show and is kidnapped by a villainous puppeteer, Mangiafuoco (Gigi Proietti). But after threatening to use Pinocchio for firewood, Mangiafuoco has a change of heart and lets Pinocchio go, with gold coins to give to Geppetto for his troubles.
As Pinocchio makes his way home, he’s stopped by two assassins in disguise, a fox (Massimo Ceccherini) and a cat (Rocco Papaleo). They trick Pinocchio into going into the woods, where they hang him by his neck from a tree and steal his gold coins. Pinocchio is saved by a blue-haired fairy (Alida Baldari Calabria), who takes him to some doctors.
When he resumes his journey back to Geppetto, Pinocchio faces many perils. These include being swindled of his money, sentenced to life by a judge, shipwrecked on an island, transformed into a donkey, kidnapped by a circus, thrown into the ocean to drown while he’s still a donkey, and swallowed whole by a sea monster.
Finally reunited, Pinocchio helps Geppetto recover from their sea journey and he’s eventually transformed into a real boy.
Separation from a parent; serious illness; cons and swindles; children as victims and at risk of harm; friendship and familial love
Pinocchio (2020) has some violence. For example:
- A teacher hits his students on the hand with a ruler when they can’t answer questions in class.
- Pinocchio throws a hammer at a human-like cricket, who cries in pain.
- Assassins hang Pinocchio from a tree by his neck and leave him to die. Because Pinocchio is a wooden puppet, he doesn’t die and is released.
Alcohol, drugs and other substances
Pinocchio (2020) shows some use of substances. For example:
- Wine and spirits are visible in some scenes.
- Characters drink alcohol.
- A character is accused of ‘drinking too much’ when he begins to behave strangely.
Nudity and sexual activity
Ideas to discuss with your children
Pinocchio (2020) is a live-action adaption of the classic children’s story. It stays true to the original tale’s darkness and moral themes, offering a much grimmer version of the story than the Disney animated classic. But it’s beautifully made with impressive performances, innovative costuming and excellent prosthetic effects.
Younger viewers are likely to be distressed by its themes of separation from loved ones and its deceitful and malicious characters. They might also be scared by the perilous situations in which Pinocchio finds himself. Younger viewers might also find this film slightly long. This means that Pinocchio (2020) is best suited to older viewers. Viewers aged 12-13 years might enjoy it, but we recommend parental guidance for this age group.
These are the main messages from this movie:
- It’s important to tell the truth and not lie.
- If you’re kind, respectful and appropriately obedient to your elders, and you also work hard, you’ll be rewarded.
Values in this movie that you could reinforce with your children include:
- listening to responsible and trustworthy adults about how to behave and interact with others
- being courageous and curious about the world
- loving your family.
This movie could also give you the chance to talk with your children about real-life issues like how to engage (or choose not to engage) safely with strangers. Pinocchio is repeatedly swindled, conned and hurt by strangers throughout the movie.