Ferdinand Movie Review

As an elementary school librarian, I have been anxiously awaiting the new movie, Ferdinand, since I saw the trailer earlier this year. The book, written by Munro Leaf in 1938, is a childhood classic and even though the movie took a few liberties with the original storyline, the main message is still strong: Don’t judge a bull by its cover.

The movie begins with a young Ferdinand in the yard at Casa del Toro surrounded by his bull friends, all waiting eagerly to learn which of their husky fathers will be chosen to be shipped off to the bullfights in Madrid. The theme of “Meat or Fight” is established pretty early on in the movie – meaning they either fight or get sent off to the butcher. My 6 year old looked at me after the first ten minutes with sad and confused eyes. We are vegetarians, so the thought of a cow going to market or to the butcher is a true unknown for her. If your little ones are sensitive, you may want to prep them for this theme of the movie. 

Sweet, kind, and friendly Ferdinand finds a way to escape Casa del Toro to follow his heart and finds a family who loves him unconditionally. To avoid any plot spoilers, I’ll just quote another Metro Detroit Mommy blogger here:

“So, what do we know about Disney* movies? #1) Something horrific happens. Usually a parent dies a tragic, untimely death, catapulting our young protagonist headfirst into the plot; #2) The animation is top-notch and awe-worthy; #3) The songs are catchy and moving; #4) The characters are easy to relate to and we inevitably fall in love with them.” ~Dana “Moana – The Ocean is Calling: Movie Review

*Ferdinand is NOT a Disney movie, but all 4 of these are true!

While the movie has the typical age-appropriate humor and whimsy most kids will enjoy, there are also a lot of hilarious one-liners and laughs for parents too. I laughed – out loud – a LOT. Especially at Kate McKinnon’s character, Lupe the goat. 

Other great aspects of the movie were the warm, vibrant colors and lively music – appropriate for the setting in Spain. And while there wasn’t a lot of music, the few songs included did help to move the story along and added to the general feel and mood of the film. One of our favorite songs was during a lively and exciting dance-off between the horses and the bulls. 

The overall message of the movie was clear, the ending was satisfying, and we all left the theater feeling uplifted. It was a really great movie that I’d love to go see again, and I definitely plan to purchase a digital copy for our family when it becomes available. 

It is rated PG for “Rude humor, Action, and Some thematic elements,” but I would have no problem taking my 4 year old to see it.

Ferdinand is a beautiful, uplifting film that I highly recommend. In a world with so much uncertainty and cynicism, it was a great escape into the world of Ferdinand the flower-sniffing bull, full of kindness and love.



Julie McKeeman

Julie is first and foremost a mom of two amazing kiddos, Elliott and Bennett. She is married to her beautiful wife, Betsy, and is an elementary school librarian.

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