My daughter is obsessed with The Lorax (2012), so I've watched a few times in the past week, and there's one thing that bugs me: what is the age of the characters of the movie? And in particular, the Once-ler, Aloysius O'Hare, and Grammy.

  • The Once-ler builds his company and destroys the trees in his youth;
  • Shortly after (although this may arguable) the last tree is destroyed, we see a young Aloysius O'Hare cleaning in Thneedille along with other janitor
  • That janitor can be seen in present-time with white hair.
  • Grammy claims that she remembers when the trees were everywhere.

In the Seuss Wikia, it suggests that the Once-ler could be 21-years-old at the beginning of the movie (although it's not for certain), and no age is suggested for the time of the events in the movie.

Aloysius O'Hare should be around the same age as the Once-ler, the other janitor should be older (?) than them, and Grammy should be younger or the same age too... but that seems inconsistent with the storyline.

At least in theory, many other people should remember trees, but they don't seem to. The story appears to happen in a future in which people forgot completely about real trees (Ted is 12 and he has no clue), but there are plenty of people around who actually should. So how long has it been since the last tree was chopped? And how old is the Once-ler, O'Hare, and Grammy?

  • 1
    I think you're focusing on the wrong question. Their ages are irrelevant if what you really want to understand is the timeline.
    – Catija
    Commented Nov 28, 2016 at 3:54
  • Are you sure you're remembering this movie correctly? I'm almost positive trees do exist, they're just plastic or something. As for why or why not a memory would exist, it depends on circumstances. If they were all miserable in a horrible concentration camp-type place, they'd very much remember the joys of their youths. If they were all happy, they might forget the original trees because they were substituted with something similar. I have pets from my youth I barely remember, and had completely forgotten, actually, until I started writing this comment. Commented Nov 28, 2016 at 12:51
  • 1
    Yes, they do have plastic trees (with 96 batteries), and they know the concept of tree (Ted's mom has the model with disco mode)... but they seem oblivious about real trees: Ted didn't know when he saw them painted, and Audrey talks about them almost as if they were legendary. You could say they are kids and don't know much, but in the final scene act, when Audrey mentions photosynthesis no one, young or adult, seems to know what she is talking about (as O'Hare conveniently discards it as a made-up word). But you are right, maybe they are so happy that they forgot or chose to ignore real trees Commented Nov 28, 2016 at 13:49
  • 1
    @Alvaro Montoro, Dude, you're nailing it here in comments, put it down as an answer, that would be nice.
    – natural
    Commented Mar 31, 2017 at 0:55
  • It’s possible O’Hare was just born when the Once-Ler started his business. The film is seen as a continuation of the book and special. Commented Dec 29, 2021 at 8:27

5 Answers 5


The 2012 version is just a re-telling of the original book/cartoon, so it's based on the same lore.

In that original version, it was shown that Thneedville sprung out of nothingness. Essentially, a factory was created to produce Thneeds, and that factory brought workers which brought other inhabitants as was the case with early cities and settlements.

Once the last Truffula Tree was chopped down, the factory closed and the people left.

The Onceler was telling his tale about the rise and fall of an economy based on a natural resource. It was really the first book to introduce children to the concepts of pollution, deforestation and industrialism. As such, the age of the Onceler isn't really important to the story, and so was never revealed. We just know he lived a long time ago. It's probably realistic to believe 50 or 60 years passed between the closing of the factory and the events of the 2012 version of the story, which would put the Onceler around 80 or 90.

The reason no one remembers the trees is because they moved to Thneedville after the Onceler closed the factory. At that point, it was a barren wasteland, where the only available air was sold by Aloysius O'Hare. As to why anyone would move to a barren wasteland like Thneedville, there's no logical explanation for that. Also, it was never stated that the rest of the world was barren prior to the Onceler opening his factory, just that Truffula trees were unique to him. As such, it's unrealistic to think no one who moved to Thneedville had never seen real grass or trees prior to moving there.


I think its most likely that the people who were alive and old enough to remember real trees have just been so brainwashed and indoctrinated into the new system that they no longer care enough to remember details about them like photosynthesis. Also, a lot of the people are portrayed as if they are easily misled and not very intelligent. But obviously some do remember trees like Granny and O'Hare, I would assume that the other people that can remember just don't care enough to to think about or mention them since they are apparently happy with the lives they have.


I believe it is because they never knew the trees were there in the first place because the president or mayor only permitted artificial plants.

As you saw in the movie, people pumping up balloon hedges and in the parks they had ceramic or just hard false grass because when they finally defeated they mayor (the boy who found the man who cut down the trees) they smashed the fake grass and found real dirt underneath and planted a tree.

When you see ths, you see a bunch of people surrounding then in wonder, and there is only one reason why...

Because the people never knew that there were trees in the first place because they weren't allowed to know there was any left. That is why the town was situated so far away from the nearest forest, just to be sure and for security of the lie.


Granny is 90. Google say that. But I don’t think that the Once-ler and O’Hare are around the same age as her because O’Hare was a teenager and the Once-ler is about on his early 20s and O’Hare looks like he is around 55 later in the movie so I’m guessing the Once-ler is about 61-63.


In the movie, The Lorax Grammy Norma sings "I'm Grammy Norma I'm old, and I've got gray hair. But I remember when trees were everywhere and no one had to pay for air so I say let it grow!" This implies that she could be as old as the Oncler, whereas we don't see any other characters as old as them.

  • 2
    Hi, Mary. The OP already mentions this, but claims it is inconsistent with other information. And even if it did provide new information, it doesn't provide an answer to the questions posed. Please read the question carefully before answering.
    – Joachim
    Commented Feb 24, 2020 at 16:54

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