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Flora & Ulysses Movie Review - Delightful and Hopeful

A squirrel with superpowers? Why not?

Reviewed by on Feb 17, 2021
Rating: 4 Star Rating

Kidzworld watched Flora & Ulysses. Can bringing a needy animal into your life change everything? Tween Flora wants her mom and dad to get back together but has little hope. Read our movie review!



Flora & Ulysses, based on an award-winning novel, is a sweet adventure focusing on tween Flora (Matilda Lawler) who isn’t hopeful about life since her mom Phyllis (Alyson Hannigan of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”) and dad George (Ben Schwartz) decided to separate.

Flora (Matilda Lawler) rescues Ulysses from the runaway vaccum cleanerFlora rescues Ulysses from the runaway vaccum cleanerCourtesy of Disney

When she rescues a squirrel sucked up in a high tech vacuum cleaner, Flora is stunned to learn that he can understand her, type basic messages, even poetry and has the superpowers of flight, speed and mega-strength!  She names him Ulysses and he will change her pessimistic attitude and that of her family forever.


Young Flora loves superheroes. Her dad created several but his work was never published so he lost hope. The trouble with superheroes is they never exist in the real world. Now mom and dad are separated, dad works at an office supply store and mom, a romance novelist, has writer’s block. Flora sells her comic book collection, all but dad’s best “Incandesco” a hero with the power of a million suns. Mom wants her to read the classics, not comic books.

Flora (Matilda Lawler) loves dad's superhero comicFlora loves dad's superhero comicCourtesy of Disney

Squirrel in a Vacuum

When a high tech cleaning robot runs rampant in the neighborhood, it sucks up a squirrel. Flora pulls it out and revives it. She names him Ulysses after the vacuum that sucked him up, takes him to her room and tells him to hide because mom would think he’s a rat and get rid of him. She visits dad, tells him about Ulysses and tries to get him to submit Incandesco to an online publisher. He is reluctant. Too much disappointment already. Mom can’t get going on her new romance novel. Flora decides Ulysses might be a superhero. He seems to “read” her comic. At night, he sneaks downstairs looking for food and types something on mom’s old typewriter. He writes “I am Ulysses born anew”. Mom thinks Flora wrote it.

Flora (Matilda Lawler) realizes Ulysses can understand herFlora realizes Ulysses can understand herCourtesy of Disney

Superhero in Progress

When she learns that Ulysses can understand her, Flora is sure he was made “super” by his ordeal with the vacuum. They know his origin story, now they must learn his purpose. William (Benjamin Evan Ainsworth), a tween visiting a neighbor for the summer, is hysterically blind after a traumatic mystery incident. Mom sees Ulysses and freaks. Flora takes him upstairs but mom wants him out. Dad comes over and they take Ulysses to hide him at dad’s apartment. A stop for donuts leads to the squirrel escaping, jumping on a waitress and making a huge mess. Flora sees that this squirrel can fly, really fly, not just glide. Dad may finally believe. When resident alley cat Mr. Claws attacks dad, he knows his place isn’t right for Ulysses. Maybe he is among humans for a reason. They hide him in Flora’s tree house.

Dad George (Ben Schwartz) and Flora (Matilda Lawler) see Ulysses fly in the donut shopDad and Flora see Ulysses fly in the donut shopCourtesy of Disney

Animal Control

Overly enthusiastic Animal Control officer Miller (Danny Pudi) knows there are rabid squirrels in the area and is out to get them with tranquilizer darts. Meanwhile William joins Flora and Ulysses in her treehouse. When a rotten board causes William to fall through the floor, Ulysses jumps to save him, using super strength to pull him up but dropping him in favor of grabbing a yummy pop tart. William is okay. Flora, William and dad learn that a “rabid” squirrel attacked a waitress at a donut shop and is now a wanted critter. They have to protect Ulysses. Dad, who hates his job, quits to help. Miller, seeing dad and Flora on a security camera rushing from the donut shop, tracks them down. They have to flee. There is a comic car chase but our heroes escape.

Miller looks for UlyssesMiller looks for UlyssesCourtesy of Disney

Bad Interview

Mom has a bad interview when the reporter realizes she hasn’t really written anything on her announced novel. Mom is depressed until the family has dinner and dad supports her. There is still love there.

Mom Phyllis (Alyson Hannigan) has a writing awardMom Phyllis (Alyson Hannigan) has a writing awardCourtesy of Disney

Alone later, Mom tries to take Ulysses back to his natural forest habitat but he won’t leave. He offers her a candy. She can’t abandon him and takes him home. She’s found notes he has typed. Maybe he really is a superhero. Meanwhile Flora and William look for Ulysses and William finally tells her what he did to become hysterically blind and be sent away. The family is reunited but Miller grabs Ulysses. Sorry but he will have to be killed to be tested for rabies!!

Flora (Matilda Lawler) sees that Ulysses has typed a poetic noteFlora sees that Ulysses has typed a poetic noteCourtesy of Disney

Together Again?

Can the family get back together and rescue Ulysses? Will William’s hysterical blindness go away? Will mom ever finish her novel or maybe publish something else? Where will Ulysses end up?

Dad George (Ben Schwartz) and Flora (Matilda Lawler) start to believe againDad and Flora start to believe againCourtesy of Disney

Stay on the couch during the credits for a scene involving Miller and feisty cat Mr. Claws.

Wrapping Up

Flora & Ulysses is a heartwarming, charming tale with the worthy theme of getting back lost hope and reaching your potential in life. Sometimes, an unusual pet can help us achieve this. It is based on the award-winning novel "Flora & Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures" by Kate DiCamillo but the story has been further fleshed-out in this cinema version. I really wish that the “bad guy” in every animal story didn’t have to be someone from Animal Control but the comic elements presented here make this work okay.

Miller asks the waitress about the rabid squirellMiller asks the waitress about the rabid squirellCourtesy of Disney

It would be fulfilling if dad’s superhero character “Incandesco” could be published by story’s end but we see that the family will have other literary successes.

William and Flora on the run to protect UlyssesWilliam and Flora on the run to protect UlyssesCourtesy of Disney

The CGI Ulysses is super cute and expressive and the actors do a nice job of interacting with him. They also interact with one another well. Adults can relate to the mom and dad drama and all ages will root for tween Flora and her super powered squirrel. A “broken” family and the flawed people involved will be familiar to many of us. A special pet bringing them back together isn’t that far-fetched, even if he does, in this case, have superpowers.

We were entertained enough to award four stars.

Flora & Ulysses Movie Rating: 4

Flora and Ulysses Movie Review - Delightful and Hopeful Courtesy of Disney

See Flora & Ulysses on Disney+ starting Friday, February 19th