ParaNorman - 2012

ParaNorman - 2012
Movie Info

Rating: PG


Age-appropriateness: paranormal activity (curses, witchcraft, talking to dead people, bad omens, etc.), scary images and concepts, inappropriate language/jokes, some dark humor


Overview: A misunderstood boy takes on ghosts, zombies and grown-ups to save his town from a centuries-old curse.


Themes: paranormal activity, being different, death/grieving, bullying, witchcraft, friendship, heaven, duty, responsibility, fear, faith

The Quick 3

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

1. Paranormal Activity. If you were able to communicate to dead people, who would you most want to talk to? What would you ask or say to them?

  • Norman has the ability to talk to dead people. This is a fictional aspect of the story and isn’t possible in real life.


2. Bullying. When was the last time you were bullied? Have you ever bullied other kids?

  • Norman is bullied at school. Mean bullies, like Alvin, write words like “freak” on his locker. They also push Norman and call him mean names.

  • Here's an article about How to Talk to Your Kids About Bullying.


3. Responsibility. What are you responsible for? Does any part of your duty make you scared?

  • Norman talks to his grandma about her duty and responsibility. Responsibility is when you do the things you are supposed to do and accept the results of your actions. Norman is scared about his responsibility/duty. Grandma says, “there’s nothing wrong with being scared, so long as you don’t let it change who you are.”

After The Movie Discussion Guide

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

1. Norman was misunderstood by others. Even his own father said he should be interested in more “normal” things. His classmates called him “weird” and thought he was acting strange so that he could get more attention. Have you ever been encouraged to be more “normal”? In what ways are you special and different from other people?


2. Norman has the ability to talk to dead people. This is a fictional aspect of the story and isn’t possible in real life. If you were able to communicate to dead people, who would you most want to talk to? What would you ask or say to them?


3. Norman is bullied at school. Mean bullies, like Alvin, write words like “freak” on his locker. They also push Norman and call him mean names. When was the last time you were bullied? Have you ever bullied other kids?


4. The town was threatened with bad omens and a witch’s curse. These are also fictional parts of the movie and are not part of real life. While “spiritual warfare” is a real concept in the Bible, this type of witchcraft is not real. What questions do you have about spirits? Have you ever heard of spiritual warfare before?


5. Norman and Aggie were unique people with very special gifts. Norman saw the best in Aggie, knowing that she had a lot to offer the world. How can you see the best in people, instead of just what makes them “weird”? Is there someone in your life that needs to hear that they are special, just the way they are?

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 Norman’s grandmother passed away, but Norman continues to communicate to her. His father thinks it’s a bit crazy, but his mother says that it’s part of the mourning process. Have you ever lose someone close to you? How did you mourn their loss?


:12 Neil relates to Norman because he is bullied, too. Neil encourages Norman and supports him. Neil also says that “You cannot stop bullying. It’s part of human nature.” Do you believe that to be true? How should you respond when you see someone else being bullied?


:18 When Neil’s uncle (Mr. Prenderghast) dies, his spirit floats around his physical body. Many of the other dead spirits hang around on Earth, near their homes and in their neighborhoods. In actuality, when people die, their spirits do not float around on Earth. We’ll immediately experience the afterlife. What questions do you have about heaven and the afterlife?


:22 Norman’s mom says that “sometimes people say mean things because they are afraid”. Have you ever wondering why people are mean? What do you think must’ve happened to bullies in their life to make them act so mean to others?


:29 Norman talks to his grandma about her duty and responsibility. Responsibility is when you do the things you are supposed to do and accept the results of your actions. Norman is scared about his responsibility/duty. Grandma says, “there’s nothing wrong with being scared, so long as you don’t let it change who you are.” What are you responsible for? Does any part of your duty make you scared?


:40 When Norman is in trouble, his friends and family come after him to help. How quickly are you able to recognize when your friends need help? Who is someone that could use your help right now?


:49 Norman’s mom says, “not believing in the afterlife is like not believing in astrology.” For Norman’s dad, it’s difficult to believe in the afterlife because he’s never actually seen it. God’s Word gives us a definition of “faith” in Hebrews 11:1: “Faith shows the reality of what we hope for; it is the evidence of things we cannot see.” How easy is it for you to believe in things you cannot see? Do you have faith in an afterlife?


:58 Norman expresses frustration because no one ever listens to him. He feels alone because no one understands him, either. Everyone thinks he’s weird and they call him a “freak”. Do you ever feel like no one is listening to you? In what ways do you feel you are misunderstood?


1:09 Norman calms the mob and helps them become empathetic toward the zombies. He acknowledged that they make mistakes, like we all do. Norman urged the mob to stop fighting one another and to try to work together for good. How can you take the perspective of someone else to see life through their eyes? What’s a healthier alternative to fighting those that you disagree with?


1:18 Norman relates to Agatha, empathizing with her emotions and experiences. Like Norman, Agatha felt sad and lonely, like she had no one to turn to. Because others hurt her, she wanted to hurt them so that they would know what it felt like. Have you ever been hurt by others to the point of feeling like you had no one to turn to? Do you ever want to hurt others because you’ve been hurt yourself?