Lonely Gepetto (Tom Hanks) carves a wooden puppet, which he calls Pinocchio (voice of Benjamin Evan Ainsworth). Before going to bed, Gepetto makes a secret wish upon a star. As Gepetto sleeps, a fairy brings Pinocchio to life. When Gepetto awakes, he finds he has a wooden boy who looks remarkably like his long-lost son.
Pinocchio wants nothing more than to be a real boy and make Gepetto proud. When he’s sent to school, Pinocchio meets a couple of dishonest characters, who try to convince him that the best way to make his father proud is to become famous. They know just the man who can make this happen – Stromboli (voice of Guiseppe Battison).
Stromboli is a cruel showman who steals from his employees and ends up locking Pinocchio in a cage. With the help of his personal conscience, Jiminy Cricket (voice of Joseph Gordon-Levitt), and marionette Sabina (voice of Jaquita Ta’le), Pinocchio escapes from Stromboli. He’s on his way home when he’s tricked and taken to Pleasure Island, where children are turned into donkeys and sent to work in a mine. Luckily, Pinocchio escapes again and finally finds his way home, only to learn that Gepetto isn’t there. Gepetto has sold all his possessions to buy a boat so he can search for Pinocchio.
Pinocchio and Jiminy Cricket set off to find Gepetto. Just as Pinocchio and Gepetto are about to reach each other, they’re eaten by a sea monster. Just as things seems to be at their bleakest, Pinocchio and Gepetto learn a powerful lesson about love and the magic of simple acceptance.
Dishonesty and deceit; lying; a child separated from parents; abduction; being influenced away what you know is right by the lure of fame and fortune
Pinocchio has some violence. For example:
- Pinocchio sets his finger on fire.
- Gepetto throws the cat into the fish bowl.
- A cat gets a huge, wooden mallet and smashes a fox on the head. He then smashes himself on the head while trying to hit Jiminy Cricket.
- Pinocchio drops the wooden mallet, and it knocks the fox on the head again.
- A teacher literally kicks Pinocchio out of the school, claiming it’s just for real children.
- Two characters capture Jiminy and imprison him in a glass jar.
- Pinocchio falls down a flight of steps and gets his nose stuck in a piece of wood. Everyone laughs at him.
- Stromboli roughly snatches Pinocchio and locks him in a cage.
- Jiminy is nearly crushed by a wagon wheel.
- Children smash pianos, throw bricks through stained glass windows, and set off fireworks and explosives.
- Children smash clocks with bats and sling shots, much to Pinocchio’s dismay.
- A sea monster with huge teeth swallows Pinocchio and Gepetto. Jiminy hits its teeth, trying to get inside the monster to help Gepetto and Pinocchio.
Pinocchio has some sexual references. For example, a character talking about Pinocchio says, ‘There are other ways to make a boy, but Gepetto doesn’t get out much’.
Alcohol, drugs and other substances
Pinocchio shows some use of substances. For example:
- A wooden figurine comes out of a cuckoo clock with a raised mug of beer.
- Children are encouraged to drink large, frothy mugs of ‘root beer’. These appear to have been laced with something that turns the children into donkeys.
Nudity and sexual activity
Pinocchio has some nudity and sexual activity. For example, Jiminy Cricket rests his hand on a lady statue’s voluptuous bottom. When he notices her looking at him, he says, ‘Pardon me ma’am’.
There’s no product placement in Pinocchio.
Pinocchio has some coarse language and name-calling, including ‘jackass’, ‘what the cuss’, ‘h – e – double hockey sticks’, ‘bollocks’, ‘blimey’, ‘jeepers’, ‘crock’, ‘loser’, ‘stupid’, ‘holy moly’, ‘twerp’, ‘idiot’, ‘brat’, ‘party pooper’, ‘blockhead’ and ‘rascal’.
Ideas to discuss with your children
Pinocchio (2022) is a Disney musical that combines live action and CGI animation. The original version of this movie had some dark moments, and this version has even more. Although it’smarketed as a family movie, this movie isn’t suitable for younger children, and we recommend parental guidance for children aged 8-9 years.
These are the main messages from Pinocchio:
- What you look like on the outside doesn’t matter. Who you are in your heart defines you.
- Be careful who you trust.
- Lies can change people.
- A conscience is a powerful thing to help you through life. It’s important to choose to do what’s right rather than what’s easy or feels good.
Values in Pinocchio that you could reinforce with your children include courage, helpfulness, truthfulness, integrity and selflessness.
Pinocchio could also give you the chance to talk with your children about the real-life consequences of things like:
- agreeing to go with someone you don’t know
- being influenced by the appeal of wealth and fame