Katie Mitchell (voiced by Abbi Jacobson) is an eccentric student filmmaker. She lives with her outdoorsy dad, Rick (voiced by Danny McBride), her wholesome but imperfect mum, Linda (voiced by Maya Rudolph), and her dinosaur-obsessed younger brother, Aaron (voiced by Mike Rianda).
When Katie is accepted into film school, she thinks she’ll finally be able to get away from Rick, who has never really understood her. But when Katie and Rick get into an argument, he decides to cancel her plane ticket to college and take the family on a cross-country road trip to Katie’s college. The idea is to sort out their differences along the way. As the trip progresses, Katie struggles to connect with her dad while staying connected online with her new film school friends.
Meanwhile, Mark (voiced by Eric André) is the founder of global technology superpower PAL Labs. Mark abandons his original phone-based creation, PAL the virtual assistant (voiced by Olivia Colman), and announces a new addition to his company’s smart technology – robot assistants that use PAL’s artificial intelligence software. In retaliation for this betrayal, PAL the virtual assistant decides to hijack the robots, capture all humans and rid the planet of humanity.
As the rest of the human race is captured, the Mitchells somehow end up as the only humans left on the planet. With the help of two defective PAL robots ‘masquerading’ as humans – Eric (voiced by Beck Bennett) and Deborahbot 5000 (voiced by Fred Armisen) – the Mitchells must battle robots, evil home appliances and their own teamwork troubles to save humanity and their family.
Parent-child conflict; unhealthy comparisons with others; science fiction apocalyptic themes
The Mitchells vs the Machines has some violence. For example:
- Robots are hit by cars, crushed by heavy items, impaled on poles and more.
- Someone kicks Mark, the PAL creator, in the groin. This is presented as funny.
There are no sexual references in The Mitchells vs the Machines.
Alcohol, drugs and other substances
There is no use of substances in The Mitchells vs the Machines.
Nudity and sexual activity
The Mitchells vs the Machines has some nudity and sexual activity, including when the family run naked through a backyard. This is a brief scene, and nothing is visible because they’re covered by various household items.
The following products are displayed or used in The Mitchells vs the Machines:
- Converse sneakers
- Sony video camera
- Sony headphones
- Furby toys.
The Mitchells vs the Machines has some mild coarse language, including ‘heck’ and ‘idiot’.
Ideas to discuss with your children
The Mitchells vs the Machines is an animated family comedy from the creators of Spiderman: Into the Spider-Verse and Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs.
With creative animation, slapstick and verbal comedy, and positive messages of family unity and understanding, The Mitchells vs the Machines is likely to entertain both children and adults. But because of its scary scenes and visual images, this movie isn’t suitable for children under eight years old. Also, we recommend parental guidance for children aged 8-12 years old because of the movie’s science fiction themes of a robot apocalypse and family conflict.
The main messages from The Mitchells vs the Machines are that understanding other people’s experiences – especially people who are different from you – allows you to be more compassionate and get along better with others. The movie also suggests that listening to other people’s ideas and appreciating their perspectives can be good for learning and problem-solving.
Values in The Mitchells vs the Machines that you could reinforce with your children include:
- respecting each other and our differences
- engaging with others without technology.
The Mitchells vs the Machines could also give you the chance to talk with your children about real-life issues like:
- comparing yourself to others, particularly to people you see online – for example, Linda repeatedly compares her life to her ‘perfect’ neighbours, which affects her self-esteem
- overusing technology and social media – the movie reminds us how constant technology use might affect social relationships.