The fire is going. The lights are dim. There's a flurry of snow outside. Or, perhaps it's rain. Either way, most people just want to cuddle up with a loved one and watch a great flick. With this Holiday Season upon us, parents are looking for the best movies to watch with their children. Sure, there's an assortment of flicks that are appealing, but they may not be suitable for toddlers and kids under the age of 13 or 14. That's okay, there's still something for them. One such film may just be Jim Carrey's, 2000 flick, How The Grinch Stole Christmas.
It doesn't really matter if one celebrates Christmas or not. Christmas films can be universal if they're strong enough. But it's arguable whether or not Ron Howard's take on the classic Dr. Seuss story is one of those flicks. This article will delve into every aspect of that. But most importantly, it will discuss whether or not this film is appropriate for toddlers and young children to watch. Every parent will have their own opinion on this, but at least they can learn a little bit more about it before they make their choice.
Without further ado, here are 10 Reasons Why Parents Should Allow Their Kids To Watch How The Grinch Stole Christmas (And 10 Reasons Why They Shouldn't).
20 Reason To Watch: It Teaches Kids Not To Be a Grinch
It's exceptionally easy to be a "grinch" nowadays. With the state of the planet and the sheer amount of daily frustrations that we all endure, sometimes it's a good default position. But this negative attitude only helps to contribute to the toxicity of the world. If we want to change our environment, we must change the way we act. And that starts with our kids.
One of the greatest aspects of How The Grinch Stole Christmas, as well as all the other Grinch movies and plays, is the fact that it teaches children not to spoil other people's fun. If it doesn't harm anyone else, there's nothing wrong with it. In a sense, the movie preaches tolerance in a fun and enjoyable way. How could that be bad?
19 Reason Not To: Kids Could Be Startled By The Grinch
Some parents believe that if a child is under the age of 9-years-old, they should skip the first half of the film. This is because the Grinch is particularly mean throughout this part of the film. This, matched with the somewhat unsettling look that the character has, may startle some younger viewers. And it's understandable, it is the Grinch, after all.
However, we wouldn't recommend skipping the first half of the movie and only going in for the second. If you're skipping the first half, you may as well skip the entire film. The messages and story won't nearly be as effective or engaging if you miss all of the set-up and the most important part of his character arc. That's just plain silly.
18 Reason To Watch: It Teaches Kids To Open Their Hearts
Dr. Seuss knew the importance of getting people to open their hearts to the ways of others. That's why he made it such a highlighted theme in the story of The Grinch. This is something that each and every one of us needs to spend a bit more time thinking about, even when we believe that we're being open to all.
It's easy for us to have a closed off heart nowadays. It protects us. But it also isolates us and breeds contempt. Kids feel this the most. If we want a better world, we need them to learn this valuable message. How The Grinch Stole Christmas preaches this message, but does it an emotional and entertaining way.
17 Reason Not To: The Grinch Is Mean To Max
Animal lovers may be upset that The Grinch is mean to Max the dog throughout the first half of the movie. Viewers shouldn't be taken aback. After all, The Grinch is pretty much mean to anything and everyone. But, as we all do, he takes out the majority of his unhappiness on the being closest to him.
This doesn't mean that The Grinch doesn't learn to correct himself. That's what the entire movie is all about... Growth. So, some parents may want to make sure their kids aren't shown to The Grinch being mean to Max, but it is part of the character's journey. However, they should be aware of the fact that the movie does contain this aspect.
16 Reason To Watch: It Teaches Kids That The Holidays Don't Need Presents
We live in a time when Christmas has become a holiday for all of the mega-corporations who make enormous profits off of the public. It's not, however, a holiday for the rest of us who are expected to drop a ludicrous amount of money on our loved ones. But that's what is expected from each and every soul.
Although it's great when kids get to open presents on Christmas, or Hanukkah, it's not a necessity. It's not what the meaning of Christmas or the Holiday Season. The theme of this movie is precisely that.
The Grinch takes away everything he thinks makes Christmas what it is, and Christmas still occurs. That's a great message for children to get.
15 Reason Not To: It's Not So PG
Some parents are really particular about their children being shown any sort of violence. That's why this entry exists. It's not, however, for the vast majority of parents who don't see a little slapstick or story-relevant action as a negative thing.
But for those parents who want to keep their kids somewhat isolated from action for a little bit longer, or for those who have kids that get startled by it, this may not be the movie for you.
The action in this film is quite minimal, but there are a number of bumps, hits, and falls.
14 Reason To Watch: The Make-Up Is Amazing
The sheer artistry behind the making of this film, as well as the look of its titular character, is wondrous to behold. Children may not yet fully grasp what it takes to pull off a movie like this, as well as the make-up process that Jim Carrey went through every single day. After all, most adults still have no idea what goes into it. But kids will surely be taken back by the world of Whoville and The Grinch himself.
This isn't some low-budget production. The movie goes all-out to make each audience member feel like they have been taken into a fantasy world that actually exists. The look and feel of the makeup may just encourage your child's creativity and their symbolic belief in the magic of life.
13 Reason Not To: Martha Is A Gender Stereotype
There hasn't been many female characters in Dr. Seuss' work. However, more were created for How The Grinch Stole Christmas. One character is Martha May Who, who is The Grinch's love-interest throughout his life. Unfortunately, the character is nothing but a gender stereotype. She dresses in a way that's meant to be alluring. She even talks in a similar manner. And there are multiple jokes made at her expense.
Additionally, she practically does nothing for the plot, nor shows any other distinguishing features. Although the movie still has Cindy Lou Who, some parents will be disappointed not to have adequate three-dimensional representation on the screen.
12 Reason To Watch: It Teaches Kids About The Importance Of Community
Communities can be the make-or-break in a person's life. Sure, they may cause some conflict every now and then, but the good ones are there in both fair and foul weather. A community doesn't necessarily need to be religious. In fact, it can be quite healthy if it's not. Unless, that is, what an individual wants in life. Communities can also be a group of friends, colleagues, family members, as well as spiritual groups and people with similar interests.
This is what How The Grinch Stole Christmas preaches. The film encourages us all to be part of a community as well as to welcome others into it with an open mind and an open heart.
11 Reason Not To: Critics Gave It Only 52%
Most kids probably don't know what Rotten Tomatoes is. However, adults take scores really seriously. This isn't to say that Rotten Tomatoes is the best way to tell if a movie is good, bad, or somewhere in the middle. After all, we see time and time again that audiences go to bad movies in flocks. But, having said that, Rotten Tomatoes is a great indicator of what audiences and critics truly think about a flick.
As for Ron Howard and Jim Carrey's How The Grinch Stole Christmas, well, it scores a pretty mediocre 52%. Given that the film came out in 2000, it seems like most audience members believe it's a decent but not particularly fantastic film. Whether that sways you from showing it to your kids or not is something we can only guess at.
10 Reason To Watch: It's Full Of Lovable Characters
A lot of great kids movies are very keen on providing a large supporting cast that engages viewers. How The Grinch Stole Christmas was beautifully cast with actors that truly embody the characters that they play, making the story believable. Part of what makes the production so great, is how the cast works off each other; this includes supporting cast.
And, although Jim Carrey steals the show, Jeffrey Tambor, Molly Shannon, and Bill Irwin have memorable performances as well. But most of all, a young Taylor Momsen absolutely shines as Cindy Lou Who.
9 Reason Not To: The Grinch Has A Peculiar Appetite
Jim Carrey's Grinch does a lot of whacky things during the runtime of this movie. After all, it's sort of the strongest tool that Carrey has in his acting arsenal. But some parents may be concerned that some of his actions could influence their kids. This includes a moment when Carrey's Grinch actually eats glass in the film.
Parents know how harmful that can actually be, so they may want to deter their children from watching it because of this reason. However, a simple explanation may suffice. After all, when the Grinch does this, he is made out to be in one of the stressful states of his life.
8 Reason To Watch: Jim Carrey Is Brilliant
Jim Carrey is almost always brilliant. The dude just knows how to entertain people. Sure, some find his sense of humor a bit large and too full of slapstick, but most kids love it. This is a movie made for kids that adults can get something out of. One of the things that both children and adults will enjoy is Carrey's wacky, charming, and downright mean portrayal of the classic Dr. Seuss character. Even underneath all of the make-up that Carrey has to wear for this role, he still proves that he's the master of facial expressions. In fact, the make-up forces him to be a bit more inventive.
Carrey is also one of the most underrated dramatic actors around. Although he doesn't get too many of these moments in How The Grinch Stole Christmas, he certainly shines in a few.
7 Reason Not To: It Has Some Mature Content
Unlike the original animated film, this version of The Grinch does have a few moments that are targeted at older children and their parents. Essentially, this was done in order to appeal to a wider audience and therefore increase revenues. It's quite typical in today's market, as it was back in 2000 when the film came out.
This means that there are a few moments where a more adult relationship is alluded to between The Grinch and Martha. She also gets a few outfits that are a bit reminiscent of the Lindsay Lohan Christmas concert. There's also a dream that ends up with the Grinch coming into contact with something he shouldn't once he wakes up. It's all done in the name of comedy, but it may cause your littlest kids to ask questions.
6 Reason To Watch: It Teaches Kids That Friends Come From Unlikely Places
We live in an exceptionally polarized time. Even children are feeling the push and pull from the different sides of the aisle. More so than the original, Jim Carrey's Grinch movie explores these feelings. Cindy Lou Who wants more than anything to include The Grinch on Christmas. However, everyone around her (including The Grinch) are set against it.
But Cindy persists until she finally melts the Grinch's heart. This shows us the value of making friends in unlikely places and being open to the opportunity. Your children have the chance to help reshape the planet for the better. Some of the themes in this movie may help them understand the value of making friends with those who may look and act differently from them.
5 Reason Not To: The Grinch Isn't That Likable
Some parents believe that because The Grinch is so unlikable in the first half of the film, it will push children away from understanding some of the deeper morals at work. Unfortunately, the story really does need The Grinch to be, well, a grinch. That's how he starts off. The ending wouldn't nearly be as effective as it is if he wasn't a crude, cold-hearted, lonely dude.
The film really does make it hard to have any sympathy for the Grinch until far into the film. The only person that makes us care for him is Cindy Lou Who. Additionally, Max seems to like him, therefore we may see something in him. If you're a parent who thinks it's best to keep children away from the complexity of his character arc, then this may not be the film for you.
4 Reason To Watch: It's Heart-Warming
At the end of the day, How The Grinch Stole Christmas is pure joy. It warms the cockles of one's heart. Everything about it is bathed in an honest, syrupy bliss that most children are just going to love. Sure, the film focuses on a misanthropic curmudgeon who seems to be imparting all the wrong morals. But soon we see that he has some complexity within him.
We also understand that certain events made him into the man we see at the beginning of the film. Once we see the Grinch's heart open up, thanks to the strong will of a young woman, we to experience the important messages laced throughout this film.
3 Reason Not To: Kids Could Be Unsettled By The Whos
One of the most recognizable traits of a Dr. Seuss story are the odd looking characters. He draws them with such a quirky imagination that no one has quite been able to replicate. This includes the filmmakers behind Jim Carrey's How The Grinch Stole Christmas.
Although The Grinch himself looks outstanding, the residents of Whoville are all a little different looking. Their facial features are reminiscent of the character drawings in the book. However, there's a chance that children could be a bit afraid of the Whos in the film. Although, their gooey personalities may off-set other feelings your kids may have about them.
2 Reason To Watch: It's Better Than The New Film
There may not be a reason to watch Illumination's take on The Grinch. The film is still in theaters so it's tempting to plan an outing with the kids to go see it. The animation in the film looks truly amazing. Additionally, it has a great voice cast that includes Benedict Cumberbatch, Kenan Thompson, Angela Lansbury, Rashida Jones, and Pharrell Williams.
However, the critics feel exceptionally lack-luster about it. It explores the same story as the original animation and in Jim Carrey's version, but without the creativity and inventiveness. Therefore, you're probably better to show your children the live-action Jim Carrey version, even with some of the flaws listed above.
1 Reason Not To: The Original Is The Best
No matter how you slice it, the original How The Grinch Stole Christmas is the best version of the story. It's an utter masterpiece, responsible for creating some of the most memorable songs and movie moments in history. Showing it to your children may be the best way to impart the relevant themes described above.
Chuck Jones and Ben Washam co-directed the 1966 classic that gets replayed on television every single year. The animation may appear a bit dated, but the core is all the same. And you'll be avoiding some of the more adult additions as the original is pretty pure. The only thing you're really missing is the energetic, honest, and downright funny performance of Jim Carrey. So, maybe you'll want to have your children watch both the original and the 2000 version. It's up to you.