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What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Maleficent is Disney's retelling of its iconic animated princess movie Sleeping Beauty from the villain's point of view. Audiences will learn the reasons why the "evil fairy" (played by Angelina Jolie) is so bitter and resentful at not being invited to baby Aurora's welcoming party that she curses the infant princess. Far more so than the animated original (which itself is often too scary for younger kids in the preschool age bracket), this live-action version can get quite dark and may frighten younger kids, particularly during violent action sequences between the kingdom and the magical creatures of the moors. Characters die (or look dead) or are injured, and Maleficient is an intimidating figure. It's also very upsetting when her wings are cut off. But the movie's overall message -- about redemption and love -- is positive, and giving Maleficient more depth and context will help kids sympathize with her. As long as your kids can handle the battles, they'll probably enjoy this new take on a classic Disney villain.
  • Families can talk about why villains/antiheroes are often just as compelling as heroes. Were you surprised at Maleficent's back story? Did it make her more sympathetic?
  • How does the movie make you rethink the story of Sleeping Beauty? What is the film trying to say about villains? Are people all good or all evil?
  • How is the idea of love explored in the movie? Is love only the romantic kind, or are there are other kinds of "true love"?
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