The Polar Express parent guide: Is the movie too scary for young children?

The Polar Express is officially rated PG, but are some of the themes too scary for young children? Is this one to watch with the whole family?

POLAR EXPRESS - The Polar Express is an inspiring adventure based on the beloved Caldecott Medal children's book by Chris Van Allsburg. The Academy Award-winning team of Tom Hanks and director Robert Zemeckis (Forrest Gump, Cast Away) reunite to tell the tale of a doubting young boy who takes an extraordinary train ride to the North Pole and embarks on a journey of self-discovery that shows him the wonder of life never fades for those who believe. "The Polar Express" airs on Freeform's 25 Days
POLAR EXPRESS - The Polar Express is an inspiring adventure based on the beloved Caldecott Medal children's book by Chris Van Allsburg. The Academy Award-winning team of Tom Hanks and director Robert Zemeckis (Forrest Gump, Cast Away) reunite to tell the tale of a doubting young boy who takes an extraordinary train ride to the North Pole and embarks on a journey of self-discovery that shows him the wonder of life never fades for those who believe. "The Polar Express" airs on Freeform's 25 Days /
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It’s that time of year when you’re ready to sit down with the kids for another movie night. You want something for the whole family, and you know that The Polar Express is designed for all ages.

This movie is officially rated PG. That does mean it’s suitable for all ages, although there is the parental guidance element to it. You know your children best.

Some people would say that this is too scary for younger children. I guess it depends on the younger children because it’s never been a problem in my house. However, there are some thematic elements. It’s worth understanding why it’s rated PG and not G.

Why is The Polar Express rated PG?

The rating is given for some of the scarier elements to the story. This movie starts off with a group of children finding out that there’s a train that takes them to the North Pole. Hero Boy is losing his belief in Santa, while other children have various lessons to learn.

They need to sit in their carriage and they need to keep hold of their tickets. Of course, things happen that lead to Hero Boy ending up on the top of the train while it’s moving. This is arguably the scariest part of the movie. There is that feeling that someone is going to fall off the train, whether it’s going to be Hero Boy or the homeless man who is on the top of the train isn’t all that clear.

However, there are some important lessons to learn throughout the movie. Hero Boy needs to learn to believe, while Hero Girl needs to learn when to step up and use her voice. One character needs to learn not to make fun of others, while they all learn how to befriend someone else. There’s a young boy who is extremely quiet and is clearly going through something bad at home, and there’s a message about acceptance and offering help when needed.

These lessons are important for kids of all ages to learn. Getting through some of the more suspenseful moments is essential to see how it all plays out, and to see the group find out that Santa and the magic of Christmas are real.

Watch The Polar Express on Max and AMC.

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