image for Klaus

Short takes

Not suitable under 6; not recommended under 7; parental guidance for 7 year olds (scary scenes)

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Klaus
  • a review of Klaus completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 20 December 2022.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 6 Not suitable due to scary scenes.
Children aged 6 Not recommended due to scary scenes.
Children aged 7 Parental guidance recommended due to scary scenes.
Children over the age of 7 Ok for this age group.

About the movie

This section contains details about the movie, including its classification by the Australian Government Classification Board and the associated consumer advice lines. Other classification advice (OC) is provided where the Australian film classification is not available.

Name of movie: Klaus
Classification: PG
Consumer advice lines: Mild nudity, mild themes, mild violence, scary scenes
Length: 97 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

Jesper (voice of Jason Schwartzman) is a privileged and spoilt young man who is completely useless at every job he does. In despair, his father sends him to a remote island to be their postman. Smeerensburg is a freezing, isolated place in the Arctic Circle, whose inhabitants are feuding clans. The Krums and the Ellingboes hardly speak to each other, let alone send letters, so Jesper finds himself with little to do. Even the teacher at the local school, Alva (Rashida Jones) is disillusioned with teaching and has become a fish monger.

Feeling rather desperate, Jesper goes for a long walk and discovers an old woodcutter’s cottage that appears empty. He goes inside to find it is full of toys. Klaus (J.K. Simmons), the owner, enters the house looking menacing with an axe in hand. Jesper discovers that Klaus is a sad old man who has lost his wife. The two eventually become friends and together transform Smeerensburg into a place with laughing children and happiness. The feud ends, the school returns to teaching and the magical lore of bringing toys to children, who hang stockings on the fireplace in anticipation, is born.


Children and adolescents may react adversely at different ages to themes of crime, suicide, drug and alcohol dependence, death, serious illness, family breakdown, death or separation from a parent, animal distress or cruelty to animals, children as victims, natural disasters and racism. Occasionally reviews may also signal themes that some parents may simply wish to know about.

Christmas; Feuds; Redemption.

Use of violenceinfo

Research shows that children are at risk of learning that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution when violence is glamourised, performed by an attractive hero, successful, has few real life consequences, is set in a comic context and / or is mostly perpetrated by male characters with female victims, or by one race against another.

Repeated exposure to violent content can reinforce the message that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution. Repeated exposure also increases the risks that children will become desensitised to the use of violence in real life or develop an exaggerated view about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world.

There is some violence in this movie, including:

  • Jesper rings the town bell and all of the people rush at him with pitchforks. They crash into each other and throw things at Jesper. Jesper gets blasted into the air from a canon.
  • Two very large characters pull Jesper from both ends.
  • Alva waves a sharp knife around, threatening Jesper.
  • Jesper’s wagon rolls over in the snow and sends Jesper flying.
  • Someone cocks a rifle.
  • Alva grabs Jesper by his clothes, lifts him up and threatens him.
  • Jesper lands in a fireplace and his clothes are briefly on fire.
  • A large boulder falls on Klaus’s wagon.
  • The clans brawl.
  • The clans attack Klaus and slash at his sack full of toys. They throw spears and weapons at Klaus and Jesper. Klaus is thrown out of the sleigh and Jesper is left clinging on and nearly goes over the edge of a cliff.

Material that may scare or disturb children

Under fiveinfo

Children under five are most likely to be frightened by scary visual images, such as monsters, physical transformations.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children under the age of five, including the following:

  • Some of the characters are quite scary-looking. The ferryman is a large man; Klaus is a large, intimidating character at first; some of the locals are very large; a Krum woman looks like a witch with missing teeth.
  • Some scary scenes of Jesper in a boat crossing a foggy waterway; Smeerensburg is a dark, dilapidated place with a hangman’s noose in the centre and unfriendly inhabitants; the schoolroom is dark inside with scary creatures and sharp knives hanging up.
  • Klaus’s cottage is also scary. A spider crawls out of a wooden doll’s staring eyes.

Aged five to eightinfo

Children aged five to eight will also be frightened by scary visual images and will also be disturbed by depictions of the death of a parent, a child abandoned or separated from parents, children or animals being hurt or threatened and / or natural disasters.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes and scary visual images, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children aged five to eight, including the following:

  • Jesper is seen shivering in bed. He grabs at an object which turns out to be a rat. He screams.
  • Jesper is chased by dogs.
  • When Jesper enters Klaus’s cottage the door closes behind him. Icicles fall from the ceiling. There is no light inside but Jesper lights a lantern to look around. Outside he can see a character carrying an axe going by the window and he hears the footsteps of someone approaching.
  • Jesper has a letter for Klaus which is a picture of a young boy behind bars.

Aged eight to thirteeninfo

Children aged eight to thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic threats and dangers, violence or threat of violence and / or stories in which children are hurt or threatened.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children aged eight to thirteen, including the following:

  • Klaus tells Jesper how he and his wife Lidia waited many years for children who never came. He had made all of the toys in anticipation. His wife got sick and died.
  • 12 years later, Klaus is very old. He says, “I’m coming love”, and then walks into the snow and disappears.

Thirteen and overinfo

Children over the age of thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic physical harm or threats, molestation or sexual assault and / or threats from aliens or the occult.

  • Nothing further of concern.

Product placement

  • None noted.

Sexual references

There are some sexual references in this movie, including:

  • Jesper and Alva kiss and eventually marry and have children.
  • Two members from the feuding clans fall in love and marry.

Nudity and sexual activity

  • None noted.

Use of substances

  • None noted.

Coarse language

There is some coarse language in this movie, including:

  • Some name calling such as:
    • Loser
    • Brat
    • Idiot
    • Jesper gets called an irrelevant, pointless nobody.
  • Shut up
  • What the?
  • Holy Moly.

In a nutshell

Klaus is an animated family movie about the origins of Santa Claus. The story exposes the futility of senseless fighting which only brings sadness and sorrow, and highlights that being kind and showing generosity changes everyone for the good. The movie is dark and scary in places and is therefore not suitable for children under 6, not recommended for children under 7 and parental guidance is recommended for 7 year olds.

The main messages from this movie are that one act of goodwill always sparks another and that it is much better to be kind.

Values in this movie that parents may wish to reinforce with their children include:

  • Kindness
  • Caring and compassion
  • Tolerance
  • Forgiveness
  • Redemption
  • Friendship
  • Teamwork
  • Inclusion of indigenous people.

This movie could also give parents the opportunity to discuss with their children attitudes and behaviours, and their real-life consequences, such as:

  • Continuing hatred and life-long feuds only makes everyone unhappy. Parents could talk about why people don’t choose to make amends and remain resentful and spiteful. Leaving behind old grudges is always better for everyone.
  • Jesper’s motives at first were only for his own gain. Parents could discuss how he does transform into a generous and kind person, which shows that redemption is possible.
  • Klaus is a sad man because he didn’t have any children. Parents could talk about this with their children and explain why some people aren’t able to have children.