David and the Elves parents guide

David and the Elves Parent Guide

Between the unexpected swearing and mind-numbing boredom, this isn't a great choice for seasonal entertainment.

Overall C

Netflix: A young boy who is anxious about Christmas away from his grandparents encounters an elf who's trying to figure out what all the fuss is about. Together, they search for the meaning of the holiday.

Release date December 6, 2021

Violence A-
Sexual Content A
Profanity B
Substance Use B

Why is David and the Elves rated TV-G? The MPAA rated David and the Elves TV-G

Run Time: 106 minutes

Parent Movie Review

David (Cyprian Grabowski) is anxious about Christmas. This will be the first year he celebrates the holiday in his new home in Warsaw, far from his grandparents’ familiar home in the mountains. Also struggling with the season is Albert, (Jakub Zajac), one of Santa’s elves. He’s feeling overworked and underappreciated, so he decides to head south to the human world to see what all the fuss is about. When the two meet, David and Albert set off to discover what makes Christmas so special.

Christmas movies, particularly those aimed at families, are generally built around strong seasonal themes such as generosity, family, selflessness, etc. Where David and the Elves suffers is in its lack of messaging, or at least in its inability to get to its message in a timely fashion. The first act is pretty good. The writers set up the characters and premise well, and the audience can start to guess at where the plot is going. From there, throughout the entire second and most of the third act, the story just spins its wheels and nothing really happens. Characters repeat themselves multiple times (though it’s possible this is a translation problem) and story beats get recycled repeatedly. I had a guess as to the theme that would finally emerge, but the story just never really got to the point. In the last five minutes of runtime, a rudimentary thesis develops: specifically, being together is what Christmas is all about and home is where your family is. Those are fine points to make, but the fact that they’re shoehorned in at the last-minute kind of ruins the impact.

In the production’s defense, there are a lot of positive aspects to the film. The acting is good across the board, including the English dubs (which means youngsters can enjoy the film without the inconvenience of subtitles). The production quality is high, with good set design and special effects. I also really appreciated having Mrs. Claus be a main character with her own personality and motivations, as she almost always ends up forgotten in these types of movies. It’s just too bad these positive aspects get overshadowed by the movie’s overwhelming boredom and lack of momentum.

Another knock against my recommending the movie is in the negative content. There’s an unusually high amount of swearing, at least in the English subtitles and dubs, and a fair amount of substance use. I assume those aspects come down to cultural differences between Poland and North American beliefs about suitable family content, but they are present here nonetheless. Between the swearing and the mind-numbing boredom, I don’t recommend this film. If you’re looking for similar levels of excitement and seasonal warmth, might I suggest a virtual fireplace video instead?

Directed by Michal Rogalski. Starring Cyprian Grabowski, Jakub Zajac, Cezary Zak. Running time: 106 minutes. Theatrical release December 6, 2021. Updated

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David and the Elves
Rating & Content Info

Why is David and the Elves rated TV-G? David and the Elves is rated TV-G by the MPAA

Violence: A man swings a sword at another man. A woman slaps a man across the face.
Sexual Content: A married couple kiss.
Profanity: There are seven mild and moderate expletives, as well as five uses of terms of deity. Insults including “idiot” and “moron”.
Alcohol / Drug Use: Santa smokes a cigar in multiple scenes. A woman is seen smoking a cigarette. A man expresses his desire to “crack open a cold beer”.

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David and the Elves Parents' Guide

How does Albert get his powers back? What does he learn about Christmas in the process? Do any of the movie’s messages resonate with you?

Loved this movie? Try these books…

Have you ever wondered how Santa manages to deliver all those gifts in one night? In Memoirs of an Elf, Devin Scillian and Tim Bowers tell the tale of Spark Elf, who keeps Santa on schedule. But what can he do when a family dog climbs into the sleigh?

With plenty of laughs, Tom Fletcher and Greg Abbott tell kids how to find out if they’re on the naughty or nice list in There’s an Elf in Your Book.

Very young readers will appreciate the rhyming story Five Little Elves by Dan Yaccarino.

Home Video

Related home video titles:

In Elf, a human learns that he isn’t an elf after all, and ventures into the human world to find his father. Chaos and hilarity ensue as Buddy teaches everyone around him about the Christmas spirit.

An empathic reindeer and a reluctant elf work together in Blizzard to help a homesick young girl.

When Nicholas tries to find the home of the elves, he learns that other humans have caused a crisis in their fabled city of Elfhelm. His adventures are recounted in A Boy Called Christmas.

Santa’s younger son, Arthur, is considered too inept to have a major role in the Big Day. But when a child’s gift is left behind, Arthur and an elf named Briony set off to save Christmas in Arthur Christmas.