Ruby Gillman, Teenage Kraken

image for Ruby Gillman, Teenage Kraken

Short takes

Not suitable under 6; parental guidance to 8 (violence, scary scenes)

classification logo

This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Ruby Gillman, Teenage Kraken
  • a review of Ruby Gillman, Teenage Kraken completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 12 September 2023.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 6 Not suitable due to violence and scary scenes.
Children aged 6–8 Parental guidance recommended due to violence and scary scenes.
Children aged 9 and over 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: Ruby Gillman, Teenage Kraken
Classification: PG
Consumer advice lines: Mild fantasy themes and animated violence
Length: 90 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

Ruby Gillman (voice of Lana Condor) is just like any other awkward 15 year old girl trying to fit in at her school, Oceanside High, and being very self-conscious about how she looks. The problem is, though, that Ruby isn’t a girl, she’s a kraken, a fish-like creature with tentacles, trying to be a human. She lives with her mum Agatha (Toni Collette), dad Arthur (Colman Domingo) and brother Sam (Blue Chapman). However, her parents are overprotective and when Ruby is told she can’t go to the beach to celebrate the end of the year with her friends, she goes anyway. There she meets Connor (Jaboukie Young-White), a boy she has a crush on. Ruby inadvertently fires a romantic bubble shooter, which sends Connor flying into the ocean. Ruby is scared of the water, as she has always been told not to go into it, but she overcomes her fear and dives in.

Scared she will die, Ruby discovers she can breathe underwater and then she turns into a beautiful, sylph-like creature with long tentacles. She saves Connor, who is unconscious in the water, and then returns to land. To her horror, Ruby starts to grow into a giant creature. Agatha comes to her rescue but Ruby then learns of her true identity, as the granddaughter of the Warrior Queen of the Seven Seas and protector of the oceans. She also learns how her mother had fled the ocean after winning a battle with the mermaids and then locked away a powerful trident. Ruby has much to learn about her new self and has many difficulties to face but, although naïve and kind by nature, Ruby grows into acceptance of who she is and what she must do to protect the oceans.


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.

Mythology; teenage romance.

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:

  • Some rough play on a baseball pitch – a boy throws a ball at kids’ heads.
  • Ruby and Sam have a brief fight.
  • Connor is thrown off a deck into the water by a bubble shooter.
  • When Ruby grows very tall, she crashes through the ceiling of a building.
  • Ruby shouts at her parents when they won’t let her go to the beach. She accuses her mother of lying to her and tells them she’s tired of trying to hide all the ways she’s different.
  • A battle scene is shown between the krakens and the mermaids. Agatha wrestles with Nerissa, the evil mermaid queen.
  • The sea captain captures Ruby in ropes and fires harpoons at her but misses.
  • Ruby gets sucked into a powerful force and lands heavily on the ocean floor.
  • The sea captain harpoons Ruby’s pet but it is unharmed.
  • A harpoon also goes into Ruby’s uncle’s head, which shrinks into his body, but he is unharmed.
  • Nerissa knocks Ruby out with the trident.
  • Nerissa emerges from the sea as a huge creature. She causes the sea to rise into a tidal wave which starts to tip a boat full of teenagers over.
  • Agatha, Grandmamah and Ruby all fight Nerissa. Nerissa points the trident at Ruby’s throat.

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:

  • The opening scene is of a sunken ship, out of which a shadowy creature with long arms swims. A cackling voice is heard.
  • The captain of a boat is a mean-looking man, out to kill krakens.
  • Ruby looks quite scary when she is very large. She is much taller than the buildings and she stomps around the town, trying to find somewhere to hide.
  • Ruby’s Grandmamah is an imposing and intimidating character. She’s quick to anger.
  • Some of the sea monsters are scary-looking.
  • A mermaid, Chelsea, transforms into the evil, scary-looking, large, mermaid queen Nerissa, with big eyes, white hair and an evil laugh.

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:

  • Ruby is walking along the esplanade when she nearly gets knocked over by a boat.
  • Ruby is afraid to jump into the water to save Connor but she does anyway. She is seen frightened and cowered before she discovers she can breathe underwater.
  • Connor is seen unconscious at the bottom of the ocean, amongst the weeds.
  • When Ruby arrives back on land, everyone appears weird to her and everything is blurry. She then sees her hand is glowing and she grows into a very tall creature. She thinks she is a monster and tries to hide herself in the library. When the librarian sees her, they both scream. Ruby calls her mother, crying.
  • Chelsea transforms from a beautiful mermaid to the evil queen Nerissa.
  • Ruby sends out powers through her eyes.

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.

  • Nothing further noted.

Product placement

  • None noted.

Sexual references

There are some sexual references in this movie, including:

  • Agatha and Arthur kiss briefly.
  • Ruby kisses Connor on the cheek.

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, “dum-dum” and “stupid”.

In a nutshell

Ruby Gillman, Teenage Kraken is an animated, family, fantasy movie about dealing with differences, finding one’s self and taking control of your life. The film has a lot of positive messages, particularly about parent/teen relationships, but there are some scary scenes and some violence, although no-one is actually hurt. It is, therefore, not suitable for children under 6 and parental guidance is recommended for 6 – 8 year olds.

The main messages from this movie are about finding yourself in this world; and for parents, how to negotiate the challenging teenage years.

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

  • Accepting others’ differences.
  • Being non-judgemental.
  • Strong female characters
  • Courage and bravery
  • Empathy
  • Kindness
  • Liking someone for who they are, rather than how they look.

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

  • Agatha and Ruby both lied to each other but faced up to it and accepted the consequences.
  • Being over-protective of your children can prevent them from reaching their true potential. It’s good to reach some compromises.