Kernel Rating (out of 5):
MPAA Rating: PG Length: 94 minutes
Age Appropriate For: 10+. Although “Jack and the Cuckoo-Clock Heart” is an animated film, it feels somewhat off tonally for children. It has an overall macabre feel, and lots of elements may not sit well with young viewers: frozen birds falling out of the sky, a bully getting his eye plucked out, and lots of orphans, as well as the suggestion of something like drug addiction (a character is addicted to drinking distilled tears) and the mention of whiskey. Plus, the central story is about true love, which may be too disconnected emotionally for younger viewers, and the ending isn’t particularly happy, either.
Animated film ‘Jack and the Cuckoo-Clock Heart’ boasts an offbeat, steampunk-inspired design that is sometimes thrilling. But the film has a tonal problem, with a true-love-inspired plot that isn’t especially welcoming for younger viewers.
By Roxana Hadadi
The general trend in animated children’s movies seems to be moving away from true love as the primary plot, and that’s a good thing. Gigantic hits like “The LEGO Movie” and “Frozen” were about self-expression; the charming film “Ernest & Celestine” about an unlikely but rewarding friendship; the understated “A Letter to Momo” about familial love and grief—some had romantic subplots, but they weren’t front and center. There is only so far you can go with characters who are only consumed by each other—and that’s the issue with “Jack and the Cuckoo-Clock Heart,” which has a laser focus on true love and suffers because of it.