In the final scene of Fantastic Mr. Fox, Fox, Friends, and family sneak into a supermarket to steal food. This to me contradicts the main theme of the movie: Mr. Fox had to grow up and stop risking his life stealing things since he has a wife and kids. He finally realized this at the climax of the film (when the mine got flooded) and promised his wife he’d never do it again. But the last scene shows otherwise and the wife isn’t even mad. Am I misunderstanding something?

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    The story's moral most certainly isn't that "stealing is bad". Dahl would never employ such a simplistic moral.
    – BCdotWEB
    Commented Nov 26, 2021 at 14:30
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    @BCdotWEB I never said that was the theme… Commented Nov 26, 2021 at 17:58
  • I don't think the theme is that Mr. Fox has to grow up, but rather to accept that they (and we?) are "wild animals".
    – magarnicle
    Commented Nov 28, 2021 at 23:52
  • @magarnicle No. Near the end of the movie after the climax, he promised his wife he wouldn't steal anymore. And the result of his immature shenanigans is what destroyed the town basically. The theme of the movie is that you when you have a family, you can't really be a bachelor anymore, i.e. stealing chickens. Commented Nov 29, 2021 at 0:23
  • Wow, I've seen it so many times and I can't recall a conversation like that from the end of the film. She definitely chews him out on the other side of that mineral deposit, but does the topic come up again after that?
    – magarnicle
    Commented Nov 29, 2021 at 1:38

1 Answer 1


I think you are partly correct, but there is more to it.

First, the climax of the film is not when the mine gets flooded. That's the low point of the film - the climax is when they rescue Kristofferson and escape the farmers. The flood does trigger him to change, but the nature of the climax shows that completely avoiding danger and not antagonising the farmers is not required.

Yes, Mr. Fox does need to change, as his wife tells him he must. This is in keeping with many of the patriarchal figures in Wes Anderson's other films. But that is not the complete message of the film. It repeats, almost ad nauseum, that they are "wild animals". Mr. Fox explains that "foxes traditionally like to...court danger."

There is a thesis-antithesis thing going on here, but by the end they reach a synthesis. They get to be wild animals, still stealing, but from the safety of the supermarket. Remember, Mrs. Fox did not object to stealing for moral reasons - she joins him in it at the start of the film - but because of the danger. The supermarket is a safe enough that she is happy to use it for food (what option does she have otherwise, anyway?) while he gets that thrill of messing with the farmers.

Mr. Fox learns to be content with what he can get; perhaps the apples are fake, but at least they have stars on them. Perhaps it's not as fun as stealing from the farms directly, but at least it's stealing from the farmers.

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