Netflix's Over the Moon Is a Must See, but Here's What You Should Know About Its Heavy Themes
Netflix's newest animated feature film, Over the Moon, is a spirited and heartfelt movie full of fun adventure and positive life lessons. The story follows Fei Fei, a courageous and intelligent young girl who loses her mother and four years later must grapple with her father finding love again. Weaved into Fei Fei's life is a Chinese myth her mother used to tell her about the immortal moon goddess, Chang'e (voiced by Phillipa Soo!), who spends eternity waiting for her long-lost love. Both stories of love and loss intertwine to create a beautiful coming-of-age tale full of personal growth and teachable moments.
Over the Moon is bound to become a family favorite and a film that your kids can learn a lot from, as alongside its vibrant animation and beautiful soundtrack, the movie contains some deep and heavy themes that could spark meaningful conversation for you and your loved ones (especially if Fei Fei's life experiences are similar to your child's). Read more about the emotional plot points and other small things you might want to know about before hitting play on this sweet film.
What Parents Should Know About Over the Moon Before Watching With Kids
- A big theme within the movie is loss of a loved one. The bulk of Over the Moon takes place four years after Fei Fei's mother passes away, and though her death isn't shown, some of her health decline, as well as a scene in which Fei Fei is clearly grieving, are shown ahead of the time jump. These scenes could really lend to a meaningful conversation about coping with the death of a loved one — especially a parent — even if your child hasn't had to deal with loss personally just yet.
- Fei Fei learns to embrace change, though not very gracefully at first. It's made clear that, during the years elapsed off screen, Fei Fei hasn't strayed far from routines established before her mother's death. Because of this, when her dad tries to share that he's getting married again, Fei Fei feels as though he's forgetting his late wife and sees it as an attack. She works hard to ignore the existence of her future stepmother and stepbrother-to-be, Chin, who can't wait to become Fei Fei's little brother despite her lack of acceptance of the same life event. There are a lot of great moments that can spark conversations about embracing change, and understanding how your feelings and actions affect others. Additionally, there's an opportunity to broach the topic of blended families and what it means to welcome new family members into your life without having to forget or stop honoring those that are either gone or who no longer live in the same home.
- There's some low-key violence and danger. The animation in this film takes the edge off most of the violent and jumpy scenes, but there are a couple of small moments — for example, when Fei Fei's rocketship to the moon suddenly begins to crash back toward Earth — that could be a little scary or anxiety inducing for younger or more sensitive kiddos. Most of the danger is lighthearted, however, so you can definitely reassure your kids that everything is going to be OK.
- The moon goddess, Chang'e, starts off as a greedy bully. Although you grow to like Chang'e, she is introduced as slightly villainous. She's selfish and self-serving, bullies Fei Fei's looks, and is continually rude and threatening to Fei Fei when the young girl fails to provide Chang'e with what she wants.
- There are some wonderful but emotional moments centered around feeling your feelings. Fei Fei grieves her mother at different moments throughout the film, but there's a very powerful scene in which Fei Fei enters the "Chamber of Exquisite Sadness" and grieves side by side with Chang'e. The heavy nature of the scene will likely be obvious even to young viewers, but it's a powerful part of the plot that leads to growth for both Fei Fei and Chang'e — plus it serves as a great jumping-off point for talking to your kids about letting themselves wholly feel their feelings.