Movie Review: The Gruffalo (2009)

by StevenHelmer

A review of the 2009 animated movie starring Helena Bonham Carter and John Hurt.

Synopsis: In an effort to calm her scared children, a mother squirrel decides to tell the story of a little mouse who travels through the woods in search of something to eat. When the mouse encounters three different predators, a fox, an owl and a snake, he avoids being eaten by scaring them with his description of the fictional Gruffalo. There's just one problem, the Gruffalo is real and his favorite food is mouse.

Who's In It?

The animated movie uses voices from Helena Bonham Carter, John Hurt, James Corden, Robbie Coltrane and Tom Wilkinson.


We planned a family movie night last Friday but I wasn't sure if my youngest daughter would like the films the rest of us were interested in watching. So, as a compromise, we ended up watching this animated movie first, just for her.

I've watched this movie with her in the past and, even though it is definitely on the short side (only about a half hour in length), it is one of the better young-child-oriented animated movies I've watched. In fact, even though we were watching it just for her, I think everyone enjoyed it as much as she did.

There are two things that really help this short animated film. The first is the story. The film stays relatively true to the book it is based off of and, because of that, the story is simple enough for a child to understand while still managing to be entertaining. I especially loved the little mouse's (Corden) surprise when he encounters the Gruffalo (Coltrane) and realizes his fictional creature isn't fictional.

I also found I liked how he manages to find creative ways to stay alive despite being grossly outmatched in terms of physical skills. It was funny enough when he did it to the predators he encountered prior to meeting the Gruffalo. It was even funnier when he turned things around and ultimately made every other animal in the woods fear him.

Having the story told by the mother squirrel (Carter) was also very enjoyable. Her kids had every reason to be scared to venture outside their house and, by having the main story introduced this way, the message it is trying to pass along is much more effective.

Final Opinion

This is a cute movie that is worth taking the time to watch with your kids (especially young children) when you're in the mood for a movie night and don't necessarily want to watch a very long film. 

My Grade: A

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Updated: 03/08/2017, StevenHelmer
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DerdriuMarriner on 10/04/2022

The library system here has The Gruffalo among its Blu-ray/DVD collections. So I intend to watch this film Halloween weekend.

Would you all happen to have read the original story, which the library has by author Julia Donaldson from 1999, or to have seen The Gruffalo's Child, which the library system also has amongst its Blu-ray/DVD holdings?

judy on 03/09/2017

I loved this movie too!

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