Friday, February 28, 2014

The Lego Movie Adoption Movie Guide

Lord Business intends to end the world. Or at least, he wants to have complete control over it. And he hates change. Citizens of the Lego world are opposing him. One character finds an item that appears likely to bring victory and save the world, but he is so unassuming that other, more heroic characters find it difficult to believe that their rescue could come from him. Elsewhere, a father and son work on defining their relationship, sort of.

The Adoption Connection

Two characters particularly hate change. They would willingly give up good things in order to avoid change. This theme might be familiar to kids who’ve been traumatized by significant changes in their lives.

Positive Elements

Kids might resonate with the message that the protagonist initially believes, “If you follow all the rules, you’ll always be happy.” Also, Lego World’s prevailing culture, initially, is that “everything is awesome.” Sadness is frowned upon (oh, pun not intended, but it’s so there…) I really like that The Lego Movie challenges these conventions, though. You don’t always have to be happy to be right, and there aren’t magic things you can do to make yourself happy. It’s important for kids – especially kids who’ve experienced trauma – to know that it’s OK to feel – and express – unhappiness. At the same time, the film encourages viewers to embrace change.  In a nutshell, the film initially portrays the villain’s message, “Avoid change, and pretend that life is OK all the time,” but subtly seems to shift to a more positive message, “Change is OK. Sadness is OK. Experience your emotions, change what needs to be changed, and move forward.”

One character wisely chastises another character for being too critical, noting that people won’t grow to be successful if they’re always told that they can’t be successful.


One character watches as his parents are assaulted by the villain. One character’s face is erased. This could be scary to younger viewers.


Kids will like this one, and there’s a few affirming messages that you can work in to conversations about the film. Try this one for kids ages 4-11. It might be particularly helpful for kids with low self-esteem, since one of the characters proves himself to be very special indeed.

Questions for Discussion

How do you know whether you are special? Who gets to decide that?

Do you ever feel like people want you to pretend that everything is awesome? Who are people that you feel safe telling your sad feelings to?

Why was Master Builder (and The Man Upstairs) scared of change? Have you ever felt that way?

What’s the craziest idea you’ve ever had? What’s the best idea you’ve ever had?

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