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The Willoughbys Movie Review – Too Dark For Kids?

Netflix’s The Willoughbys has a classic “dark” fairytale plot which wins over parents, regardless.  Kids will love the silliness and it will keep them glued to the screen.

Netflix’s new animated movie The Willoughbys is based off the childrens book of the same name, written by Lois Lowry.  The book has the “darkness” of those classic fairytales, think Hansel and Gretel, a story where children are lured by candy in order to be cooked alive.  Dark, right? But still a story we read our young ones over and over again to teach a lesson.  The lesson being, don’t trust strangers.  So what lesson does The Willoughbys give us?  is it worth the watch?  I will give you all the details in my review!

Check out this list of my favorite The Willoughbys movie quotes.  Also check out: Downhill movie review

The Willoughbys Movie Review

As the Narrator AKA the cat says in the film, “The best stories are the hard ones.”  Indeed this story is not an easy one to tell, based on four children, The Willoughby children, who have horrible parents.  When I say horrible, I mean the children are neglected, hungry and unloved.  Their parents are the worst, they are selfish and self absorbed.  After the children find an orphan baby and find the baby a good home, they realize THEY could be happy if they were orphaned.  So they hatch a scheme to send their parents off on a vacation around the world, a dangerous vacation, in hopes their parents don’t make it back.

The Willoughbys Cast

The story is brought to life by the incredible voice cast!  When I saw the legend Martin Short was voicing the Father, I just knew this film was going to be good.  Maya Rudolph as the Nanny was pure gold and to top it off, Ricky Gervais narrated the story playing the role as the cat.  The way he eased into the story line really brought it all to life.  And my favorite, Terry Crews who voiced Commander Melanoff was an unexpected delight.

The Willoughbys Message

The message of the story is what hit me the hardest.  As the parents left on their vacation, they ended up leaving the kids in the care of a Nanny.  A Nanny who showed them care, and love like they have never experienced before.  And while they never received this love from those who were blood bound to them, this doesn’t mean family can’t lie elsewhere.  Maybe in a candy factory, maybe in a bumbling Nanny or maybe even in themselves.

Overall Thoughts

A perfectly imperfect family. And why they didn’t get everything they wanted, they got what they needed. -Cat

We do not ordinary see this “dark” theme in childrens films but Netflix has taken this classic fairytale feel and brought it to life in a way parents can appreciate and kids will love.  The Willoughbys is fun, and silly, and told a story which can reach out and resonate in so many.  I applaud Netflix for taking on a story as such.  While not all stories are made up of rainbows and sunshine, the most important ones, the hardest ones to tell, deserve to be told.

Rating: 8 out of 10.