Elliot the Littlest Reindeer parents guide

Elliot the Littlest Reindeer Parent Guide

This movie compensates for its relative blandness and flat animation with an abundance of positive messages that parents will be happy to share with their children.

Overall B+

Elliot lives on a reindeer training farm and longs to be chosen to guide Santa's sleigh. There is just one problem: Elliot isn't a reindeer. He's a miniature horse and all the determination in the world might not be enough to achieve his goal.

Release date November 30, 2018

Violence B
Sexual Content A
Profanity A
Substance Use B

Why is Elliot the Littlest Reindeer rated PG? The MPAA rated Elliot the Littlest Reindeer PG for some suggestive and rude humor

Run Time: 89 minutes

Parent Movie Review

Elliot the miniature horse (voiced by Josh Hutcherson) lives in North Dakota at a petting zoo and reindeer training farm, where he spends his time working towards his ultimate goal: pulling Santa’s sleigh. Elliot doesn’t let his diminutive size deter him and listens as his friend Hazel the goat (voiced by Samantha Bee), spouts inspirational slogans. “Success trains. Failure complains.”

Despite Elliot’s optimistic outlook, all is not well at the petting zoo. Owner Walter (voiced by Rob Tinkler) is in the process of selling the farm to a foreign buyer with a disconcerting interest in the animals (and their potential tastiness). Then exciting news breaks…Blitzen is retiring from the North Pole reindeer squad and tryouts for a replacement are starting immediately. Now, Elliot just has to find a way to the North Pole and show everyone that “Dreamers dream big” and perform even better.

Adult moviegoers will not find the rest of the plot terribly interesting. There are few surprises here and not a lot of depth. The animation is flat and more appropriate to television than to the big screen: Pixar this isn’t. On the flip side, there aren’t any major negative issues either. There is some low-level cartoon violence, a few moments of minor peril, and a plot point that revolves around the magic cookies that help reindeer fly. They are a controlled substance at the North Pole and reindeer have been stealing and using them illegally. Other than that, parents need have no real worries with this show, which makes nodding off during the movie a low risk proposition.

Fortunately, Elliot the Littlest Reindeer compensates for its blandness with an abundance of positive messages. Elliot’s determination not to be pigeonholed and his fierce work ethic as he trains for his lofty goal are praiseworthy. And the movie contains messages about the need for teamwork and inclusion. Elliot’s friendship with Hazel also demonstrates the importance of courage and loyalty, which comes to the fore when the pair uncover a conspiracy at the North Pole. Despite the challenges posed by this dangerous situation, Elliot and Hazel repeatedly affirm, “If it’s important you’ll find a way. If not you’ll find an excuse.” Not a bad message for young viewers to take away from any film.

Directed by Jennifer Westcott. Starring Josh Hutcherson, Samantha Bee, John Cleese, Martin Short. Running time: 89 minutes. Theatrical release November 30, 2018. Updated

Watch the trailer for Elliot the Littlest Reindeer

Elliot the Littlest Reindeer
Rating & Content Info

Why is Elliot the Littlest Reindeer rated PG? Elliot the Littlest Reindeer is rated PG by the MPAA for some suggestive and rude humor

Violence: Reindeer kick other animals on several occasions, sending them flying. There is low level bullying with minor name-calling. An angry man throws his cell phone on the ground. A man makes a “loser” sign on his forehead. A character uses equipment to start a dangerous storm. A man hits a reindeer. There is reference to a character having animals killed and processed into meat jerky. A character gets kicked in the nose when a friend tries to wake him up.
Sexual Content: None noted.
Profanity: None noted. There is minor name calling.
Alcohol / Drug Use: Magical cookies are a controlled substance at the North Pole: they are used as performance enhancing substances to improve the flying abilities of reindeer and other animals. Reindeer are caught cheating and using extra cookies. An animal accidentally consumes several of them and flies uncontrollably.

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Elliot the Littlest Reindeer Parents' Guide

Several reindeer are involved in a cheating scandal that involves taking too many of Mrs. Claus’ magical cookies. Why do you think people cheat? What can you do to defuse the fear of failing, losing, or not doing as well as you would like?

Elliot has lots of motivational sayings to keep himself going when he gets tired or discouraged. What do you tell yourself when things seem difficult and you want to quit?

Read books about Elliot the Littlest Reindeer

Elliot’s not the only non-reindeer who wants to lead Santa’s sleigh. Vivian Walsh’s delightful story Olive the Other Reindeer tells the story of a dog who heads north to fly with the reindeer.

Every wonder how reindeer were chosen to guide Santa’s sleigh? Moe Price has created a classic seasonal story in The Reindeer Christmas.

Jan Brett’s The Christmas Wish tells the story of a little girl named Anja who makes the long journey to the North Pole to fulfil her dream of being one of Santa’s elves. Jan Brett also tells the story of flying reindeer and the girl who cares for them in The Wild Christmas Reindeer.

Very young readers will enjoy singing along to The Itsy Bitsy Reindeer. Written and illustrated by Jeffrey Burton and Sanja Rescek, this board book adds seasonal lyrics to the traditional itsy bitsy spider nursery rhyme.

Home Video

Related home video titles:

Blizzard tells the story of one of Santa’s reindeer and her desire to help a lonely child.

Elf follows Buddy the elf as he leaves the North Pole on a quest for his father. Buddy has grown up at the North Pole and finds modern urban life confusing. Mayhem, comic chaos, and heartwarming emotional moments ensue.

Arthur Christmas tells the story of Santa’s son and his determination to give every child a perfect Christmas.

Meeting Santa Claus and visiting the North Pole is every child’s dream. Watch The Polar Express and follow one child’s adventurous trip.