'Boxtrolls' Is a Kids' Movie With a Message ... for Parents (VIDEO)

boxtrolls eggs and boxtrolls

When we hear "family film," we really think "movie for kids." Not this time, though. Laika's latest stop-animation feature, The Boxtrolls, is a movie with a message ... for parents.

The story follows Eggs (voiced by Game of Thrones' Isaac Hempstead-Wright), who is orphaned and then adopted by a group of misfit crate-donning boxtrolls. They raise him, nurture him, and the entire family resides underneath the cobblestone streets of Cheesebridge. But when Archibald Snatcher (voiced by Academy Award winner Ben Kingsley) decides to capture all the boxtrolls in an attempt to gain entry into the White Hats organization led by mayor Lord Portley-Rind, things take a dark turn for the underground-dwelling trolls.

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With the hunt underway, we meet Winnie (voiced by Elle Fanning), the mayor's daughter and Eggs' and the trolls' first human friend. On the outside, what looks like a posh Victorian-era family is really much, much sadder.

Winnie's father is largely absent and entirely ignores her. Think Eggs was the only abandoned child in the film? Think again.

"[Winnie and Eggs] both start the film as orphans," says Ben Kingsley, in an exclusive interview with The Stir. "She's an orphan because her dad doesn't listen to one word she says. The boy's an orphan because he was separated from his father and is brought up by a different, loving tribe of people."

And as stately and powerful as Winnie's dad may be, he's forgetting one big part of his existence: parenthood.

Being a "parent" is not enough. It's not enough to provide the home, the money, and the day-to-day life. We hear this all the time: anyone can be a father, but it takes time, effort, and love to be a dad.

When Eggs describes the main boxtroll, Fish, he describes him how you would a parent: someone who's been there, who's taught him along the way, and who's loved him since the beginning.

When he asks Winnie if she has a "dad," she's a bit hard-pressed to find an answer.

"I think it's easy because adults live in such a bubble of the fact that they're busy or they're having problems with money or a job," actor Nick Frost, who voices one of Archibald Snatcher's assistants, told The Stir. "But kids feel that, and I think it's easy to look kids over because you think they don't understand. But they do. They get it."

It's true, they do. It's so easy and sometimes automatic to get bogged down in our daily struggles and stresses. At times, the kids may fall into the background. But no matter what, that love and effort need to be there too.

So listen up, parents! If you're thinking of taking the kids to The Boxtrolls and hope it might teach them a little about the meaning of family, there's much, much more. Maybe you'll even leave the theater hugging your kids a little tighter.

The Boxtrolls opens in theaters Friday, September 26.

Take a look at this exclusive clip from the film and tell us: how do you define a "parent"?


Image via LAIKA, Inc./Focus Features

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