Attention parental units who were under the impression that this movie was one they could take their children to: This film is not recommended for kids 10 and younger. Although rife with cheerful, sing-song exchanges between beloved fairytale characters, it also comes peppered with infidelity, murder, death, and other such unfavourable tokens. I must say, because it is a Disney production, these occurrences are obviously not flagrantly damaging, but explaining why Prince Charming is cheating on Cinderella with Mr. Baker’s wife, might prove to be a difficult conversation to have with a six-year-old.
In this 2014 mash-up of tales from the Brothers Grimm’s 19th century litany, Little Red Riding Hood, Cinderella, Jack and the Beanstalk (oh yes, giants, too), and Rapunzel find their stories interwoven into onscreen musical enchantment. To recap, an evil witch (played by the majesty that is Meryl Streep) bewitches a baker (James Corden) and his wife (Emily Blunt, who, must I say, has a tremendous set of pipes) after the baker’s father stole a variety of homegrown goods from her garden years ago. As a result, the couple, trying to conceive, was to remain barren. However, the witch offered them an outlet: If they retrieved four items—a golden shoe, a cape as red as blood, a cow as white as milk and hair as gold as corn—and brought them to her in three days time, she would lift the spell and they'd be blessed with a child. Agreeing to honour her requests, they embark on their epic magical journey.
What we loved:
The music was fabulous. It's the type that gets stuck in your head for hours after you leave the theatre, “Into the woods we go…” (I can still hear it resonating in the far corner of my brain). The casting was dynamite, with Anna Kendrick’s sweet vocals as Cinderella, Johnny Depp’s soft crooning as the Big Bad Wolf, Chris Pine’s suave Prince Charming and Christine Baranski as the contemptuous (and hilarious) Lady Tremaine. Each presence lit up the screen.
Parental advisory (potential spoilers):
To reiterate, I’d advise against bringing little kids well-versed in fairytale-speak to this film, mainly for the sake of preserving the innocence of these beloved stories as they know them. For instance, the exchange between the Big Bad Wolf and Little Red Riding Hood begs the question: What kind of appetite does this wolf have for little girls, exactly? (Sigh... Gone are the days...)
PG—Parental Guidance Suggested
Nominated for several Golden Globe awards, your tweenie-boppers are really going to get a kick out of this film—the performances and music will not disappoint!