Mulan - 1998

Mulan - 1998
Movie Info

Rating: G


Age-appropriateness: Cartoon violence depicting war battles. Offensive/hurtful gender stereotypes are explored. Unbiblical spirit worship and Eastern religious philosophies.


Overview: To save her father from death in the army, a young maiden secretly goes in his place and becomes one of China's greatest heroines in the process. Mulan pretends to be a boy in a story that explores gender roles and gender stereotypes. Chinese culture is displayed as Mulan sacrifices her own safety in order to save her family and to fight for her country.


Themes: female protagonist, Chinese culture, family, honor, patriotism, equality, bravery, identity, gender discrimination, perseverance, gender roles

The Quick 3

Ask these quick questions to hit the major themes of the film.

1. Gender Roles. Can you think of anything that only boys should do? Is there anything that only girls should do? Do you think it’s okay for boys and girls to always do the same thing?

  • Mulan showed us that girls can do many things just as good as boys can. Not only did she keep up, she actually out-performed her male counterparts in many tasks. Don’t ever think that someone can’t or isn’t supposed to do something just because of their gender.

2. Honor. How can you bring honor to your family?  Do you feel pressure to act a certain way, just because of your gender?

  • “Honor to Us All” is a song that has elements of positive and negative lessons for girls to hear. On the positive side, it emphasizes bringing honor to your family. Honor is to show outward respect and admiration. Showing honor to someone means to treat them like they are very special. In her culture, there are also some expectations that Mulan must act a certain way just because she is a woman.

3. Dishonesty. Are there any secrets you’ve been telling that no one knows? How can you tell a trusted adult or parent about them, before they are revealed in another way and the consequences get even worse?

  • Mulan’s secret is eventually revealed. Like all lies and secrets, the truth will always come out at some point or another.

After The Movie Discussion Guide

Follow this 5-10 minute discussion guide to drive an in-depth conversation.

1. Mulan showed us that girls can do many things just as good as boys can. Not only did she keep up, she actually out-performed her male counterparts in many tasks. Don’t ever think that someone can’t or isn’t supposed to do something just because of their gender. Can you think of anything that only boys should do? Is there anything that only girls should do? Do you think it’s okay for boys and girls to always do the same thing?


2. Read Deuteronomy 10:17 together: “For the Lord your God is the God of gods and the Lord of lords. He is the great God, then mighty and awesome God, who shows no partiality and cannot be bribed.” This means that God doesn’t show favoritism to any group of people, no matter their race, gender, age, or anything else about them. Did you realize that God loves every single person the same, no matter who they are or where they come from?


3. Although her motivations were noble, and she was mistreated but the men in the army, Mulan still lied about her gender and deceived those around her. Proverbs 12:22 says “The Lord detests lying lips, but he delights in those who tell the truth.” Do you think it was okay for her to lie? Can you think of other instances where lying might be a good thing? Or do you think it’s always wrong/sinful to tell a lie, no matter your motive?

Minute By Minute Guide

Use this break down of the entire movie in addition to the “After the Movie” discussion guide. Great for repeat viewings.

:04 Mulan’s father prays. We already see that Mulan’s father relies heavily on prayer, however he is praying to his ancestors (the people in his family that lived before him). Christians can pray directly to God himself! How often do you pray and how seriously do you take it?


:06 “Honor to Us All”. This song has elements of positive and negative lessons for girls to hear. On the positive side, it emphasizes bringing honor to your family. Honor is to show outward respect and admiration. Showing honor to someone means to treat them like they are very special. In her culture, there are also some expectations that Mulan must act a certain way just because she is a woman. How can you bring honor to your family?  Do you feel pressure to act a certain way, just because of your gender?


:09 The matchmaker makes comments about Mulan’s body size with judgement. She insults Mulan and hinders her potential. How would you feel if someone said those mean things to you?


:11 “Reflection”. Mulan is questioning her identity. She feels a certain way about her life, but it isn’t matching up with what the word around her wants her to be. It’s important to remember that we aren’t defined by what others say we should be, but rather who Jesus says we are. What are the most true things about you? How would you describe your identity?

:18 In order to protect her father, Mulan pretends to be a boy in order to serve in the Imperial Army. Do you think what she did was right? Is there ever a good time to tell a lie?


:20 The ghosts of Mulan’s ancestors make a plan to protect her. This scene is fictional, and ghosts of our ancestors do not meet up anywhere on Earth to talk things through. There is an important difference between the Christian prayer life from ancient Chinese ancestor worship. What about this scene is real and true, and which parts are fictional?


:24 Mushu’s journey also starts out as a lie (pretending to be the Great Stone Dragon). You must always be careful to begin a trail of lies, because one lie eventually leads to other lies to maintain your false narrative. Be careful of what you start when you tell a lie, even if it’s a small one to start. Have you ever told a small lie, only to find that you needed to keep lying in order to keep your story straight?


:37 Li Shang’s arrow challenge. He mentions both discipline and strength are required to pass the challenge. Discipline is a focus on acting in an orderly way, using self-control. Strength is the ability to be physically powerful. What would strength without discipline look like? How about discipline without strength? Why is it important that the two things work together?


:37 “I’ll Make a Man Out of You”. This song depicts what society says men should act like: to be swift, forceful, and strong. But Mulan is able to do all of the training tasks and more. She even adds ingenuity and intelligence to climb the pole to retrieve the arrow (when other men couldn’t). Did it surprise you that Mulan was able to excel at the army training?


:48 “A Girl Worth Fighting For”. The men in the army talk about what they like about women, and Mulan is brave enough to speak up and suggest that they should look for a “girl with a brain and who speaks her mind”. Even though she was alone, she stood up for what is right. What is one way you can stand up for what’s right, even when the entire crowd might be against you?


1:00 Mulan’s secret is revealed. Like all lies and secrets, the truth will always come out at some point or another. Are there any secrets you’ve been telling that no one knows? How can you tell a trusted adult or parent about them, before they are revealed in another way and the consequences get even worse?


1:15 In order to defeat Shan-Yu, it took men and women working together to compliment one with strength and creativity to uphold justice. God designed men and women to work together: both serve a specific and unique role, but they are both equal. How did you see men and women work together, using their unique gifts, in this scene?


1:17 Mulan receives the respect and honor she deserves. Although Mulan had to earn her respect, we are called to give respect to everyone whether they deserve it or not. Who is someone in your life you find it difficult to respect or to give honor?