‘Into the Woods’ Isn’t For Kids; But That’s Okay

I’m currently standing in the lobby of one of my favorite movie theaters in my hometown.

It usually takes me a while to write/record reviews for movies, but I just saw ‘Into the Woods’ and wanted to get some thoughts on paper, er, iPhone.

The musical starring Meryl Streep, Anna Kendrick, Emily Blunt (to name a few) is backed by Disney, so I assumed that it would be the feel-good family movie of the season. And for the first act it was.

The plot is filled with five different fairy tale stories, but in different retellings- Cinderella (Anna Kendrick); a Baker and his wife (Emily Blunt) who can’t have a child due to a curse; a witch (Meryl Streep) who cast said curse and her daughter, Rapunzel; Jack and the bean stalk; and Little Red Riding Hood.

After the happily-ever-afters, the second part of the movie takes a turn for the realist. Despite every person seemingly getting what they wished for from the start, the fairy tale unravels when a giant begins wreaking havoc on the kingdom.

Without giving too much away (SPOILER BELOW)…

The baker’s wife finds herself seduced by Cinderella’s prince in a moment of weakness- and I thought, “there are kids in this theater!” I felt uneasy knowing that they’re seeing something that usually doesn’t appear in a Disney plot. And then during one of the final songs in the movie, the message is clear-

‘People make mistakes.’
No one is perfect, and we’re all on different sides of a story. Once we don’t have our parents to guide us, only we can decide what is right.

It sounds cheesy on paper but the execution was really well done. This isn’t a film for children at all, but it’s better than taking them to see another movie with empty cliches that are hardly any use in the real world.

Meryl Streep narrates lines of the original play in the closing scene-
“Careful the things you say, children will listen…
Careful the wish you make, wishes are children.
Careful the path they take, wishes come true, not free.
Careful the spell you cast, not just on children.
Sometimes the spell may last, past what you can see and turn against you.
Careful the tale you tell, that is the spell. Children will listen…”

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