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Dolittle | 2020 | PG | – 1.4.3

content-ratingsWhy is “Dolittle” rated PG? The MPAA rating has been assigned for “some action, rude humor and brief language.” The evaluation includes a kiss on the cheek and some embracing and hand holding; an animated sequence of a woman on a sailing ship (we hear that she died during a storm at sea), several life threatening scenes where humans and animals are endangered, human interactions with wild animals show potential danger, a couple of deaths caused by a fire-breathing dragon, threats of violence, and a plot to kill a ruler; and some strong language. Read our parents’ guide below for details on sexual content, violence & strong language.”

A veterinarian (Robert Downey Jr.) with the unusual ability of being able to converse with animals is granted a piece of land to use as an animal sanctuary, where he can care for animals that can’t protect themselves. When his wife dies in a tragic accident at sea, he retreats and becomes a recluse until he is called upon to save the life of a poisoned Queen Victoria — or he and his animals will lose their home. Also with Antonio Banderas, Michael Sheen, Jim Broadbent, Jessie Buckley, Harry Collett, and the voices of Emma Thompson, Rami Malek, John Cena, Kumail Nanjiani, Octavia Spencer, Tom Holland, Craig Robinson, Ralph Fiennes and Selena Gomez. Directed by Stephen Gaghan. [Running Time: 1:41]

Dolittle SEX/NUDITY 1

 – A girl kisses a boy on the cheek. A husband and his wife hold hands and touch foreheads a few times in flashbacks. A dragonfly makes a flirtatious remark about a parrot’s feathers “filling out.” A gorilla leans over and points its hindquarters toward a man while they play chess.


 – We see an animated sequence that shows how a woman died at sea and her ship is engulfed by raging waves. A large warship fires at a sailing vessel and hits it several times sinking it and we see several animals jumping overboard to get to safety; an ostrich is unable to swim and sinks underwater until a polar bear helps it onto a plank of wood and slaps it across the face to revive it (there are no injuries).
 A tiger walks into a cell where a man is chained up and prowls around him, swatting at him and lunging at him a few times. A tiger swats a parrot and it is thrown against a wall (we see it with a wing in a sling later); a gorilla and a tiger fight and slash at each other until the gorilla kicks the tiger between the legs and the tiger falls to the ground moaning and the gorilla holds it in a chokehold until it falls unconscious.
 A man with a long knife moves toward another man surrounded by several other men and moves the blade around his face before slapping him on the forehead with the flat of the blade and walking away. A man pulls a dagger to threaten guards and a woman says, “To the tower with him.” A man and his two sons are shown holding shotguns and hunting for birds; one boy scares the birds into the air and the other takes aim and fires and we see an injured squirrel panting on the ground as the father hand a knife to one of the sons to put the animal out of its misery (the boy does not kill the squirrel). A squirrel has a flashback to a scene where it was shot out of a tree when it awakens after being sedated.
 The ground rumbles as several people move around in a cave and we see veins of bright orange ignite under the ground until a dragon awakens and blows flames through the area; men run and scream, the dragon grabs a man in its tail and sits on it before blowing flames on him (off-screen) and a man falls over a ledge (presumably to his death). A man and a boy sneak into a room where a man sleeps holding a gun and he is surrounded by sleeping lions; the boy goes through bars and finds a secret passage where he is caught by a man with a gun and the first man is held by several men with swords. A boy is held at gunpoint by several guards and a man takes a book away from him. A man is pulled against the bars of a cell and held around the throat by another man that threatens him, stating, “You’ll pay.” A large war ship barrels down on a sailing ship and fires at it. Royal guards aim guns at animals as they enter a courtyard and make their way into a palace where an ostrich knocks over a line of suits of armor making a loud noise. A man talks about another man and orders another man to “Make sure he never returns.” Animals fight with royal guards to allow a boy to reach a dying woman in the room.
 Animals create a distraction by blowing up a building with explosives. A giraffe runs through a town chased by men on horseback and a boy rides on the giraffe’s back; the giraffe stops short on a bridge throwing the boy off and onto a lift that lowers the boy toward a ship passing below and when the lift gets stuck the boy jumps and slides down the ship’s sail, swings on a rope and lands on a pile of grain sacks on the ship’s deck unharmed. A man wearing a dive suit lowers into the ocean and attaches a harness to a whale that pulls a ship to get away from a large war ship chasing it; the man is pulled back up to the ship, but the gorilla pulling the rope lets it go when it is frightened causing the man to sink back into the water, a boy grabs the rope and pulls the man but the rope breaks and they fear the man is lost until the man pulls himself over the ship’s railing and spits out water (he is unharmed). Two people and several animals walk along a narrow ledge toward a cave.
 A gorilla answers a door and roars at a boy and a girl; the boy screams and the gorilla screams like the boy. A boy enters a sanctuary and walks through an area where elephants and giraffes walk through and the boy is snatched up into a net just as a polar bear approaches him. A boy tumbles through a window and onto the floor inside a house (he is uninjured). An ostrich snatches a man’s hat off his head and kicks him. An ostrich pecks at a polar bear and the bear swats at the ostrich as they argue. A man and a gorilla play fight in a boxing ring (the man is covered with pillows and padding) and the gorilla punches the man in the face throwing him against a wall (we do not see any injuries but he seems dazed briefly). A fly that survives being swatted by fitting through a hole on the swatter, celebrates its luck by saying, “I’m the chosen one,” and flies out a window where it is snatched up by a passing bird. A man is shown in stocks covered by a tarp. A delivery person is trapped in a net and calls for help.
 A man yells at a parrot and throws it overboard while on a ship. A man yells when he sees a boy on his property and entering his home; he has a sign posted on his front door that reads, “No Humans.” A sign reads, “No humans allowed.” A man tells a gorilla to “Play dead.” A man is shown grieving over the death of his wife in several scenes. A girl tells a man that a woman is “gravely ill.” An injured squirrel tells a man, “I’m too beautiful to die.” A squirrel tells a man that if it dies, “I swear I will haunt your house.” A man yells at two monkeys. A man yells at two monkeys and fires them. A man argues with several animals and he is held down on a sofa by a polar bear and sedated with a mask put over his face. A man says that a woman has been poisoned and without the antidote, she will perish. A man complains about his son and says, “We hunt things and he frees things.” A man says, “England has enemies everywhere.” A kangaroo mocks a man and threatens to stomp him. A tiger talks about feeling inadequate compared to his brother and that he is not good enough for his mother. A tiger says that all mothers want their sons to grow up and eat a doctor. A tiger complains of migraine headaches and a man tries to help relieve the pain. A polar bear says, “My dad said he was going out for a pack of seals and never came back.” A whale swims and flips its fins at a large warship and another whale says, “I can’t believe you are flipping them off.” A dragon implies that it is brokenhearted over the loss of its mate (we see a dragon skull in a cave).
 A man touches a dragon’s abdomen and it screeches in pain; the man says that it has an “Impaction of the colon”; the man then uses a leek presumably to make space for him to reach inside and pull out undigested items that are causing a blockage, and the man pulls out several items and a large amount of gas escapes and blows in his face (it also blows a squirrel across the cave and into a wall; it is unharmed), and he finally pulls out bagpipes. A surgery scene shows a man with several animals preparing to operate on a squirrel and a small pellet is removed from the animal. Several mice dress up to play the chess pieces for a chess game between a man and a gorilla; when one mouse moves to the square where another mouse stands, it hits the mouse on the head with a small scepter and it falls over (no injuries are seen). A man has a bloody cut on his forehead after a fight with a tiger. A dog sniffs a sick woman and licks her face before reporting what it smelled. A man puts his head in an aquarium to speak to an octopus; the octopus sprays ink when it is frightened. A giraffe wakes a sleeping boy by licking his face.
 A remark is made about a man being seasick and he rushes to the side of a ship after biting into a ginger root (it is implied that he vomits overboard but we see and hear nothing). A man picks a leech off a branch and talks of using it to help a sick woman. A man spits tea out of his mouth. A small mouse crawls out of the overgrown beard of a man. A dog scoots its bottom along the floor. Two monkeys slurp the liquid from coconuts and one burps. A bird defecates on the nose of a statue. A kangaroo is shown with a patch over one eye. A duck lays an egg when it is frightened by a dragon. A dragon spits something on two men (we see them covered with brownish goo).

Dolittle LANGUAGE 3

 – 4 scatological terms (3 mild), 5 anatomical terms (4 mild and one not fully enunciated), 1 mild obscenity, name-calling (peculiar, murderer, poofly, foolishness, weak, crazy town, mud fly, bandits, thieves, lunatics, deranged, filthy animal, hoarder, sad misguided nut, ring leader of a circus, boring), exclamations (blasted, eat our dust, flippin, crikey, what the heck), 1 religious exclamation (oh, good heavens). | profanity glossary |


 – A man is sedated with gas before being shaved by animals, we hear that a woman has been poisoned with Nightshade, and a boy squeezes a couple of drops of juice out of a fruit and we see them fall into a woman’s mouth.


 – Death of a loved one, being different, exploration, adventures, fear, phobias, broken hearts, kindness, generosity, irony, guilt, abandonment, obsession, courage, confidence, teamwork, embarrassment, consequences, revenge, friendship.

Dolittle MESSAGE

 – Only by helping others can we truly help ourselves.


Be aware that while we do our best to avoid spoilers it is impossible to disguise all details and some may reveal crucial plot elements.

We've gone through several editorial changes since we started covering films in 1992 and older reviews are not as complete & accurate as recent ones; we plan to revisit and correct older reviews as resources and time permits.

Our ratings and reviews are based on the theatrically-released versions of films; on video there are often Unrated, Special, Director's Cut or Extended versions, (usually accurately labelled but sometimes mislabeled) released that contain additional content, which we did not review.

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