3 reasons Mia Freedman wants you to see Maleficent.

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maleficent review
Angelina Jolie in Maleficent.

 

 

 

Do you wanna punch a snowman? Someone posted that on Facebook the other day and I laughed out loud because I think we’ve all been there. Or are there.

As wonderful – truly wonderful – Frozen was, it was also kiddie crack, especially for little girls who have spent the past six months singing all the songs all the time. All. The. Time.

Good news, there are more movies to go see to get a break from Elsa, Ana and the snowman even if just for the 90 minutes plus previews you’re sitting in the cinema. Shush now darling,  you’re not allowed to sing in here. That’s the rules of the movies.

So what to see? My vote goes to Maleficent.

It began with a controversy on my Facebook page. Because how else would a trip to the movies with my kids start? Leading up to the school holidays, I had a question. And so with hope in my heart for a calm and helpful response, I asked it:

maleficent review

 

If you’ve met social media before, you won’t be surprised when I tell you that my question divided people into two passionately opposing camps. 1. Those who thought Maleficent was AMAZING and totally fine for little kids. 2. Those who had child services on speed dial and were APPALLED that anyone would even consider taking young children to see a movie that was rated M. HOW VERY DARE YOU. The divide was neatly summed up by this sample of comments:

 

maleficent review

 

And so it went, the lovers and the haters (not so much of the movie but of the idea that I would even consider taking my kids to ‘that kind of film’ – and I don’t think all of those people were Jennifer Anniston supporters who still can’t let go of their anger). I took my kids anyway because not a single person who had seen the movie said it would be too scary or inappropriate for a 5 and 8 year old and I figured they would know more than all the people who hadn’t seen it and yet had firm views that it was The Wrong Thing To Do.

We bloody loved it. In fact, I think it’s the best kids movie I’ve been to since…. Frozen. And my god it was lovely to see a film that didn’t have Let It Go in it. Love that song. Need a rest from it.

OK – first to the M rating. The classification describes it like this:

Mature (M)

maleficent review The content is moderate in impact.

Films and computer games classified M (Mature) contain content of a moderate impact and are recommended for teenagers aged 15 years and over. Children under 15 may legally access this material because it is an advisory category. However, M classified films and computer games may include classifiable elements such as violence and nudity of moderate impact that are not recommended for children under 15 years.

Parents and guardians may need to find out more about the film or computer game’s specific content, before deciding whether the material is suitable for their child.

There was no ‘nudity of moderate impact’ (my new favourite phrase) and the violence was confined to three or four big battle scenes, which were absolutely awesome. There were lots of fantasy elements in the battles (forrest creatures and so on) but nothing terribly graphic.

I have no idea what the M rating is based on, suffice to say, it’s soooooo fine unless your kid is prone to being easily frightened or having bad nightmares. My 8-year-old daughter was obviously totally cruisey about it and my 5 year-old-son was riveted. Battles. Weapons. Enough said.

The movie itself is just so so good. I didn’t expect to love it so much. From the way I understand film reviews to work, I’m not meant to give away any major plot points or the ending so I will limit myself to telling you the three things that struck me most:

maleficent review
“She’s just so goddamn strikingly, ridiculously beautiful that it’s hard to ever forget it’s her.”

1. Angelina. This was a revelation. I always find Big Big Movie Stars to be difficult to watch in films because their fame gets int the way of me believing them as a character. I’m like, there’s Nicole Kidman in a wig and some rags pretending to be an English person.

I wonder if Keith was in her trailer writing songs while she was on set. Wait, what just happened? Who is that guy and what did Nicole just say to him? And so it’s always been for me with Anglina. She’s just so goddamn strikingly, ridiculously beautiful that it’s hard to ever forget it’s her.

But in this role, as a powerful woodland fairy whose life is ruined by an unspeakably tretcherous and cruel act, Angelina Jolie is all the words: captivating, magnetic and brilliant. A revelation who commands respect and attention in every scene even when she’s doing something heinous. Everyone else is fine but it’s her film.

2. The cinematography. Australian legend, Dean Semler was the Director of Photography on this film which means that along with the director, it’s his vision – literally.

The way this film is shot – and I don’ t know a single technical word here – is simply stunning. Sumptuous. Breath-taking. Luscious. This is a film that’s very much about nature and the way it looks is glorious. Which means it’s a really enjoyable watch no matter how old you are.

3. The message. It’s always been a mystery as to how someone could be so messed up that she would curse a newborn baby as a christening gift. This film explains it so well that when that scene eventually comes, you’re a little bit torn about who to sympathise with. That’s how clever the script is. And just like Frozen, this is a post-modern fairy tale. Prince Shmince. True love is not just romantic. Sometimes it’s bigger and stronger and even more significant.

If you’ve seen Maleficent, tell me what you think. If you haven’t, go see it. Four and a half stars.

Here are some other classic flicks for kids… Which is your favourite, from an adult’s perspective?

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