More Info



Transfiguring Adoption awarded this movie 3 Hoots out of 5 based on how useful it will be for a foster/adoptive family. [Learn more about our Hoot grading system here]

Movie Info:

  • Rating: PG (Violence, |Macabre and Rude Humor, Language)
  • Genre: Kids & Family, Adventure, Animation, Comedy
  • Runtime: 92 minutes
  • Studio: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

From the Cover of The Addams Family 2 by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer:

Everyone’s favorite spooky family is back in the animated comedy sequel, The Addams Family 2. In this all new movie we find Morticia and Gomez distraught that their children are growing up, skipping family dinners, and totally consumed with “scream time.” To reclaim their bond they decide to cram Wednesday, Pugsley, Uncle Fester and the crew into their haunted camper and hit the road for one last miserable family vacation. Their adventure across America takes them out of their element and into hilarious run-ins with their iconic cousin, IT, as well as many new kooky characters. What could possibly go wrong?

Transfiguring Adoption’s Overview:

This movie would be best for most families looking for a good family movie night experience. Especially if the family viewing can relate to being creepy, kooky, mysterious, spooky, and altogether ooky. The film itself is a fun experience with lots of laughs snuck in for parents viewing with their children.

Additionally, this film addresses the characters’ definitions of family, learning to connect feelings to behavior, and changes in parent/child dynamics in adolescent development.

** Spoilers Could Be Ahead **

How Is This Relevant To Adoption & Foster Care?

This installment of the Addams family reboot features a whirlwind of emotions for the typically cool-and-collected Wednesday Addams as she moves through adolescent development. As the eldest Addams child Wednesday finds herself wanting more independence and space as she explores her identity as a person and a budding scientist. However, her father Gomez struggles with Wednesday’s need for space and (like many parents with tweens and teens) finds that the more he pushes for closeness the farther Wednesday pushes back. This is further complicated by the news that Wednesday Addams may not actually be an Addams thanks to a potential switch at birth with the child of famous scientist Dr. Cyrus Strange of Sausalito, California. However, due to Wednesday having very emotionally attuned parents she has learned introspective skills that help her process through the events surrounding her and connect feelings to her behavior.

Children with trauma such as children that have been in the child welfare system will likely struggle with similar emotions to that of Wednesday as they grow and gain a better understanding of their pasts. They will also likely push away their caregivers and other adults they trust in favor of more time alone or with other peers like Wednesday as they become more self-aware of themselves and build their own identities and thoughts. However, unlike many of their peers and Wednesday children that have endured trauma may have missed out on the opportunities to learn from caring adults how to identify these emotions and follow them to their sources as these are skills that are learned from observation and practice. For this reason children that have endured trauma through the child welfare system or have been adopted may identify with Wednesday and be able to use her experiences and her relationships with Morticia and Gomez to better understand their own thoughts and feelings.

Discussion Points:

  • Defining Family
    As Wednesday moves through the family vacation she learns that there is a possibility she was switched at birth with another child. The realization that she may not be an Addams comes with a lot of emotions and confusion with her own identity as well as how she acts around the Addams crew. By the end of the movie we do find out that Wednesday is for sure an Addams and there is a happy ending, but children who are separated from their family of origin often experience what Wednesday did as they bond with foster or adoptive families. This can be seen in a child’s struggle in how to introduce themselves in public, what they call you, and how they interact when different groups of people that care about them interact. This is all a part of a child’s struggle to define what a family is to them and how to honor their family of origin while still developing close bonds with others. For children struggling with these questions it’s important that caregivers provide lots of patience and reassurance for their children as they work through these definitions and concepts throughout your time with them.
  • Connecting Feelings to Behavior
    While sorting through her thoughts on her relationships with the Addams family members and her potential identity change Wednesday shows a wealth of introspective intelligence as she realizes her feelings of feeling “other” play into her self-isolation and need for answers concerning her genetic connections. While Wednesday has grown up with a loving family that has taught her some of these skills, many children that have endured trauma have missed out on opportunities to develop these skills with safe, secure adults. As a result caregivers may find themselves having to really help break down how feelings can be expressed through their bodies (somatically) or through their behaviors. This is a very important life skill that children need lots of practice with at any age.
  • Parent/Child Dynamics in Adolescent Development
    Like many teenagers, now that Wednesday has gotten older she is starting to change in how she relates to and communicates with her parents. She dodges inviting her family to school events, misses dinner, spends more time alone, and seems to detest all of Gomez’s attempts to connect with her. Parents of teenagers can relate to Gomez’s frustration, whether their tween or teen was born to them or not. Wednesday’s increased need for independence and solitude are a very normal part of adolescent development though! This is hard for caregivers as, like Gomez, we want to hold our children close to protect them from being hurt or experiencing the harshness of the world around us. However, we all have seen the effect that being held too closely can have for a growing child. While teens still need adults, those needs will change and caregivers need to prepare to adjust their expectations and parenting skills to make room for your child’s growing awareness of themselves, their identity, and how they interact with the world around them so they are ready for adulthood. Don’t be afraid, what we see as a push for independence can be a lesson in how interdependence is healthy and  necessary for most human relationships.

Cautionary Points:

  • Cartoon Violence/Action Sequences
    As can be expected from the Addams family there are plenty of sequences of cartoon violence especially between Wednesday and Pugsley. Most of the situations are quite exaggerated and cartoonish with swords, science experiments, explosions, vehicle crashes, falls off cliffs/waterfalls, being eaten by animals, fire-setting, electrocution, kaiju battles, etc. However, Wednesday is especially fixated on harming Pugsley throughout the movie and demonstrates this through attempts to harm him with various household objects in addition to the more extreme tools (like a sand-guillotine). Caregivers should be aware in case they have a child that is more triggered by sibling violence or by violence in general. This is especially true for children with trauma due to the overactive stress activation systems in their bodies being prone to release more cortisol and adrenaline and leading the child’s body to struggle differentiating between good excitement and fear. This can often be seen in situations such as a child acting out at a birthday party or a family outing.
  • Apparent Character Death
    Thankfully Fester pulls through, but there is a scene where it appears he has succumbed to his kaiju battle with the villain and Wednesday blames herself. Thankfully Fester survives but the near-death experience of a beloved character and having a child portrayed as feeling guilt and blame can be traumatic to children who have suffered physical and emotional losses of others. This can include being brought into custody. “I shouldn’t have told.” is a common lament I have heard from children in the child welfare system because of the losses that occurred after their disclosure of abuse or neglect. While we understand that children are never to blame for their abuse or neglect, children like Wednesday will experience guilt as a part of their grief and can be reminded of their grief with sequences like this. This doesn’t necessarily mean that a child can never watch a film with loss depicted but a caregiver will need to be prepared to support their child while they process their grief.
  • Topic of Being Taken By Another Family
    While the movie is fun overall caregivers should be aware that one of the main conflicts in the movie is the possibility that Wednesday was switched at birth and has a biological family that is trying to find and get her back. For most children this may not be more than a funny plot point, but for children who have been separated from their family of origin this may trigger memories of being taken away or trigger emotions associated with reunification with the birth family that may or may not be possible. Caregivers should be aware so that they can support their children and comfort them if feelings become too big to process.
  •  Alcohol/Drug Mentions and Consumption
    Throughout the movie there are characters that drink colorful beverages that are in martini glasses with olives or request known drinks by name. For example, Gomez asks Thing to make him a Bloody Mary in a moment of stress. Cousin It (who is voiced by the notorious lover of marijuana, Snoop Dog) also is shown after using catnip that is implied to be used too much such as when someone smokes too much marijuana. There are also beer pitchers and pour wells featured in a biker bar location. While these references would be very subtle to most kids, children that have been through abuse and neglect related to drugs or alcohol may be triggered by the appearance in the film. Caregivers should be aware in case your child needs support or gentle reminders that such activities should not be copied by minors due to legal issues.
  • Comic Mischief
    Throughout the film there are several hijinks and hilarious scenarios where in realistic circumstances would be potentially dangerous or impossible but in the context of a cartoon can be funny. This includes things as out there as eating a Rubix cube, a baking soda volcano projects exploding and causing a fire, giving finger tips to someone as a “tip”, using a voodoo doll for immediate harm or comic relief purposes, a belly flop off Niagara Falls, an explosion show in the Grand Canyon, juggling babies, a decapitated barbershop quartet standing in for a band, a running gag with a couple’s engagement moment being ruined, a literal game of punch buggy, and even a reenactment of Carrie’s stage scene. Think macabre humor and you’ll get the gist of the types of gags. Additionally there are several sequences of potty humor such as a voodoo doll making a character fart, a character using the bathroom in the ocean on a public beach, picking up “kitty business” in a bag, Kitty the Lion having a Cousin It hairball, Kitty the Lion pooping on a beach, putting leeches in pants as a prank, a character defecating and announcing the need for a diaper, a transformation sequence in a bathroom involving tentacles where the character asks for privacy from another patron entering the public restroom, a guy on a toilet landing after an explosion, a wedgie toss as a fighting move, lots of Fester in his underwear, and other pieces. Finally, there are several gags with innuendo more for parents than kids. This includes a gag telling someone their “tentacles are showing while looking downward (don’t worry, it was a tentacle), the character turning into a creature asking for privacy in a public bathroom with slippery voices from the tentacles, a “these hands have held many things” joke, a “giving the finger” joke, “Ghouls Gone Wild”, Gomez implying he’s dreaming about Morticia after a character pulls is hair while sleeping, Thing being “in the shower” in front of the family, and lots of PDA sequences from Gomez and Morticia as in other Addams portrayals. While much of this can seem harmless it’s important to remember that children that have been through trauma have been exposed to more mature situations than other children and may react to some of these sequences by either mimicking inappropriate sequences for attention or being triggered by the activities or subjects in the scenes and may need extra guidance in determining what is appropriate to repeat to others.
  • Sequences of Sibling Violence
    If you have seen other Addams films you will be familiar with the theme of Wednesday constantly trying to kill Puglsy. While these are usually in very unrealistic ways like building a sand guillotine, tricking him into crawling into an open and hot oven, experimenting on him with syringes and such, using a voodoo doll to cause harm/embarrassment, and leaving him tied up in a morgue bed she also cuts hair in his sleep and overall is very negative towards him being around. Most of the time these scenes are funny due to their absurdity but a child with trauma may be triggered by this especially if they have a history of abuse from a sibling or perhaps being a sibling with a tendency to harm others. For this reason caregivers should be prepared to talk with their children about this theme if this is an area of concern for their child.
  • Awkward Reunification with Alleged Birth Family Dynamics
    Through the film Wednesday is led to believe she is not an Addams and was switched at birth with another child named Ophelia and could be the child of Dr. Strange. Upon doing a DNA experiment without consent from her father Wednesday concludes this is the truth and runs away from the Addams to reunite with the Strange family. It later is uncovered that Wednesday did not have a good sample for her test and Dr. Strange falsified his DNA test with her so she is reunited with the Addams but the sequence of a child taking DNA testing into her own hands and running away to reunite with biological family can be pretty confusing for a child who has been separated from birth family whether it’s temporary in foster care or permanent through adoption or kinship guardianship. Caregivers need to be prepared to help children process grief and other emotions associated with such a confusing situation as Wednesday experiences.
  • Sequences of Blood and Needles
    I think this is potentially a trigger for kids (and adults) even outside of trauma backgrounds. Some folks do not do well seeing needles or blood. Characters are shown doing experiments on people and animals involving both so caregivers need to be prepared to support a child if such an exposure is triggering or phobic for them.
  • Parent Verbally/Emotionally Abusive to Child
    We later discover that poor Ophelia is an animal turned human and not Dr. Strange’s child but his mockery of her and insults could be potentially triggering for children with histories of emotional or verbal abuse may find this dynamic difficult to process. Children from such backgrounds of trauma may need additional support following this film.

Discussion Guide:

  1. Who is your favorite character? Why do you like this character so much?
    Caregiver Note: This is a question designed to help ease your child into discussing the more intensive subject. Sometimes children with trauma struggle to connect feelings to behavior so using a character in a movie will help illustrate the process of acknowledging emotions and how they correlate with behavior or vice versa. This also helps ease this conversation without suddenly talking about a deeper topic as this can be startling or difficult for a younger child.
  2. Why does Wednesday leave the Addams to meet Dr. Strange?
    Caregiver Note: When Wednesday discovers she may not be an Addams she feels this may be why she feels so out of place with her family. Though the audience will likely identify many similarities between Wednesday and other Addams family members (especially Morticia) Wednesday seems to be experiencing emotions experienced by many budding teenagers. Wednesday wanting more independence, time alone, and feeling embarrassed by family antics are all very normal parts of the teenage experience but she doesn’t know that as a growing adolescent. She feels a pull to find out more about her potential identity though she truly does care for the Addams family and later states she regards them as her family regardless of DNA. Caregivers of adolescents may relate to Gomez who wants more connection than Wednesday is willing to give in moments of angst and self-reflection. Much like Wednesday, it is very normal for kids to want to know more about their background and heritage. Caregivers may see this as a threat to their own relationship with a child but in reality this can be a moment of growth as a child learns more about their cultural identities. Children will wonder and think about their biological families and it’s important for caregivers for space for that curiosity and self-discovery.
  3. Why did Wednesday still say the Addams were her family even though at that time she thought they weren’t related?
    Caregiver Note: Even outside of the child welfare system family is a very multi-faceted term. It’s easy to think of family as those that are strictly related legally or by blood. But in reality families can be composed of all sorts of people. Godparents, close family friends that we call aunties and uncles, surrogate grandmas or grandpas that “adopt” the neighborhood kids, and all sorts of people can be considered family to children in your care. We often use the term “fictive kin” when referring to connections like this. Additionally a child from the child welfare system may have former foster parents they add to their support networks and have connections to. It may be easy for a caregiver to feel intimidated by how many people a child may have connection to but caregivers should remember that more supports for a child can be a huge strength to connect the child to their cultural or spiritual roots. Additionally, you may also now be considered a part of this child’s family now and are adding your support to this child now. Family does not have to be a term exclusive to who that child lives with and children with trauma need caregivers to hold space for talking about the various people that are important to them.
  4. Who all do you consider to be your family? How are they all connected to you?
    Caregiver Note: Allow your child to lead this part of the conversation. Remember to be mindful of your reactions to the people they may discuss. They may talk about family members that perhaps were connected to past trauma and sometimes caregivers may feel understandably angry or upset feelings about those connections. However caregivers need to be respectful of their children and their connections to these relatives. They will likely still love relatives that caused harm and be still grieving these losses and it’s important to be respectful of the child’s space for grief and for their needs to talk about the people that are important to them in many ways. Remember, the feelings we may experience are not bad but the way we act upon them could cause more harm to our child when they need us to be the bigger, stronger, wiser adult.
  5. When Wednesday was walking up to Dr. Strange’s house she identified her body was reacting in a way that indicated she felt anticipation and unease. What were those signs her body was giving?
    Caregiver Note: When the body is excited or nervous it can signal to us that through somatic symptoms. This can manifest in gastrointestinal signals (like butterflies in the tummy or a stomach ache), in headaches, flushed face, how our hands curl up or move, and all sorts of other ways. I’ve even seen children break out in hives when under great distress before! Our body sometimes has to signal what we are feeling when perhaps we are not exactly mindful of what our brain is experiencing much like what Wednesday experienced. With this in mind help your child come up with the body signals Wednesday noticed to indicate the combination of emotions she was experiencing.
  6. What are some ways you can tell you feel excited from anticipating something great?
    Caregiver Note: Now that we have decoded Wednesday’s body cues this gives your child the chance to mindfully note how their body feels when it’s happy and excited. This is great practice for children in general but especially children with trauma. This is especially due to how children with trauma often have their brains on high alert most of the time due to dangers experienced in the past. This can cause children to struggle to differentiate good adrenaline rushes from a birthday party from that of deciding what to do when seeing a scary dog on the way to school. By helping your child be mindful of these clues you can later help walk them through reading their own body responses and be better able to control them. As Dr. Dan Siegel says you’ve got to “name it to tame it” when it comes to big feelings.
  7. What are some ways you can tell you feel unease from something that feels scary or new?
    Caregiver Note: As with the previous question, give your child space to identify clues that they feel afraid or even angry. Feel free to help your child with body language you have observed in the past. Remember that this isn’t the time to cast blame or bring up conflict but strictly to use for identifying that body language so your child can apply coping mechanisms to situations as needed.
  8. Why does Wednesday seem to spend so much time alone while Pugsly spends more time with the rest of the family?
    Caregiver Note: As mentioned in other areas of this review, Wednesday’s increased need for space to think and focus on her interests is a very normal part of adolescent behavior. I remember as a parent of a preteen feeling a lot like Gomez when my kiddo started wanting more time away. I missed the hugs and giggles and feeling needed so much! But, I had to learn as the parent to respect my child’s need for independence and learning to think more deeply in solitude. If we try to hold our developing children too closely like Gomez we can find our children push harder to assert these needs. While it’s tempting to keep our babies close to try to protect them caregivers need to remember that this time in development is a time of exploration that we function more as a safe haven through so that our kids have a blanket of security to fall back on as they explore new hobbies and relationships and need our support as they learn through mistakes and experiences.
  9. Are there times where you feel like Wednesday and don’t have enough time on your own?
    Caregiver Note: This is a time where, like Gomez, we can learn to better listen to our children’s needs. This is hard, I’m not going to lie. But as the parent of a teenager moving towards adulthood I can vouch that while letting go is so hard, getting to know the wonderful person my teen is becoming has become an honor I never imagined. I love getting to see the world through my teen’s eyes in a way I never imagined. When children have been through trauma they may not have the vocabulary or cool-collection Wednesday brings to the discussion with Morticia and Gomez. For this reason sometimes caregivers for children with trauma will need to look to a child’s behavior for hints about perhaps what they need. And remember… quit taking it personal!!! Q-TIP! It’s easy for caregivers to take it personally when a child pulls back but most of the time it’s not because something has happened that we need to jump in and fix. Allow yourself to feel curiosity about what your child is thinking and engage with them without agenda or judgement.
  10. When are some times you would like some space? How can we better communicate if you need my help or if you need time to think it out?
    Caregiver Note: Allow your child to lead this. This does not have to be a one-and-done discussion either. Revisit this throughout your child’s journey through development as they gain more language, coping skills, and insight on their own needs. This can be difficult especially when we want our child to avoid pain or mistakes. However, we need to remember that sometimes experience can be wonderful teachers and if we focus on connection with our kiddos they will feel more confident about using their voice to tell us when they need help from someone a little more experienced.

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About the Reviewer: Rachael Rathe

Rachael B. Rathe is an East Tennessee native with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Psychology with a Minor in Child & Family Studies from The University of Tennessee Knoxville. She has worked in mental health since 2013 and in foster care/adoptions for a private provider agency since 2014. Rachael was inspired to work in the field after working with children and teens on a volunteer basis 2008 – 2013. Rachael’s ideal self-care day involves snuggling on a couch with her kitties (Tabitha, Fergus, and Rufus) while enjoying a good movie or book. She also enjoys galavanting around conventions concerning all things nerd and geekery.

Transfiguring Adoption is a nonprofit organization seeking to nurture growth in foster and adoptive families by giving a HOOT about their families. Transfiguring Adoption does not intend for its reviewers nor its reviews nor this discussion packet to be professional, medical or legal advice. These reviews and discussion guides are intended to help parents to better be able to connect and understand their children who come from traumatic backgrounds.

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