Snow White and the Huntsman

  • Review Date: May 30, 2012
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Genre: Fantasy
  • Release Year: 2012

Common Sense Media says

Violent fairy tale isn't for kids but will attract teens.
  • Review Date: May 30, 2012
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Genre: Fantasy
  • Release Year: 2012

Age(i)

2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Most of the movie is clouded in the queen's evil thirst for eternal youth, but there are some inspiring messages about true beauty being of the heart, as exemplified by Snow White. Snow White's loving nature is what makes her unique; she doesn't know how to lead at first, but she knows how to open her heart and care for others, and for that she's beloved as a princess and eventually a queen. Obviously the queen's nefarious plans for domination are a cautionary tale about beauty being a woman's only power, but she does pose interesting questions about how men have historically dominated women and used them for their desires.

Positive role models

Snow White is pure of heart and composes herself in a loving, selfless manner. Even though she has every reason to be afraid and think only of her safety, she's constantly worried about everyone in the kingdom, her good friend the duke, and his son, William. Although he's a reluctant hero, the huntsman rises to the occasion to defend and protect Snow White, and he even grows to care for her -- thinking of someone else for the first time in years -- as they travel together throughout the kingdom. William is an active hero; he jumps at the opportunity to rescue Snow White the moment he learns she's alive and in danger. The queen is clearly evil and not meant to be seen as a role model.

Violence

This is a dark and violent story with a high body count. The queen kills scores of people and tortures others by literally sucking their youth out of them so she can magically remain young. She eats birds' hearts (the scene in which she plucks a bloody bird's heart out of its body is a particularly gruesome moment) and can kill in many different ways -- without ever spilling blood. There are battles between phantom armies and the king's army, and then Ravenna's army defeats the king's army and is said to have murdered everyone left in the castle. The queen's creepy brother admits that he has stared at Snow White and then basically attempts to rape her (he gets on top of her forcefully, but she injures him and escapes). Various groups of the Queen's army fight Snow White, the huntsman, and the duke with axes, swords, and arrows. The dark forest is full of frightening creatures that can poison or maim. 

Sex

The queen exudes sexuality in nearly every scene. She wears form-fitting gowns and is shown nude descending into a milk bath; her naked lower back is on display several times. The wedding night between the queen and the king isn't graphic, but he's on top of her in bed, kissing and caressing her (until things take a violent turn). Snow White gets a couple of kisses.

Language

Language includes "hell," "damn," and "stupid."

Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Adult characters drink, and a couple of them get drunk (the huntsman in particular is known as a big drinker). The dwarfs all have a few too many, and then one makes a joke about feeling "lovely" because of the "mushrooms" in a fairy forest.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Snow White and the Huntsman isn't the sweet and colorful fairy tale that's depicted in other adaptations: This is a very dark, violent, moody story with a lot of death and mature themes. Charlize Theron's queen is more than evil; she's sadistic and vain and will kill or torture anyone in order to keep her magically eternal youth and beauty (a scene in which she plucks a bloody bird’s heart out of its body and eats is particularly gruesome). The body count is quite high -- usually in hand-to-hand battles -- as is the number of people the queen magically robs of their youth (or life). Although there are a couple of kisses, this Snow White (played by Twilight's Kristen Stewart) isn't preoccupied with romance but rather with saving a kingdom from its tyrannical ruler. 

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

In this reimagining of Snow White, the beautiful young princess is imprisoned after the forever-young Ravenna (Charlize Theron) seduces, marries, and then murders the king (Cary Elwes). When the magic mirror informs the queen that the Fairest of Them All is now Snow White, who has come of age (Kristen Stewart), Ravenna sends her brother to kill the princess, but the girl manages to escape into the Dark Forest. Ravenna angrily summons a disillusioned huntsman (Chris Hemsworth) to capture Snow White -- but at the last moment, he joins forces with her to evade the queen's guards. The two embark on a journey that eventually leads her to her beloved childhood friend, the duke's brave son, William (Sam Claflin), and seven fierce dwarfs -- all of whom are ready to take arms against the queen.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

SNOW WHITE AND THE HUNTSMAN is a visual wonder: It begins and ends with a vibrant palette, but the bulk of the movie, like the story, is clouded in the somber mood the queen casts over the kingdom. The cinematography is lush, and the landscapes -- especially the fantastically creepy Dark Forest -- are memorable. And like Tim Burton's finest, this is a film where costume plays a significant role. Academy Award-winning costume designer Colleen Atwood's creations are amazing, especially Ravenna's elaborate gowns, which range from a royal wedding dress to a feathery black frock made up of crows. Even the seven dwarfs (all of whom are deliciously played by famous English character actors like Ian McShane, Ray Stevenson, Nick Frost, and Bob Hoskins) are outfitted in memorable gear.

Theron isn't just gorgeous; she's a gifted actress capable of eliciting fear or desire just as easily. A former model, she can say a great deal with just the straightening of her back or an icy scowl. Stewart is a divisive performer (some critics think she perpetually looks bored), but she pulls off the pure and fair of heart Snow quite well. As for Hemsworth, he was born to play epic heroes. But while the movie is well acted and a marvel for the eyes, it's also overlong and delves into one too many subplots that aren't properly resolved. One of the most central, obviously, is whether Snow White's destined love is her lifelong friend William or the rogue huntsman. It's refreshing that the romance isn't the movie's central preoccupation, but by the end it's clear that there would need to be a sequel just to figure out who's to be her consort -- not to mention address the substantive issues of how a leader can heal a land so broken by years of ruin.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about how this depiction of the Snow White story is different than Disney's Snow White, Mirror Mirror, or other adaptations of the fairy tale. Which do you think is truest to the original story?

  • Although this movie is about a fairy tale, it's not really aimed at younger fans of Snow White. Is it appropriate for a Snow White adaptation to be so violent?

  • Talk about the movie's messages about beauty. What traits are described as beautiful in the movie? Does this movie maintain the original story's message about beauty, or is it different? Is this a feminist movie, or not?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:June 1, 2012
DVD release date:September 11, 2012
Cast:Charlize Theron, Chris Hemsworth, Kristen Stewart
Director:Rupert Sanders
Studio:Universal Pictures
Genre:Fantasy
Topics:Magic and fantasy, Fairy tales, Great girl role models
Run time:127 minutes
MPAA rating:PG-13
MPAA explanation:intense sequences of violence and action, and brief sensuality

This review of Snow White and the Huntsman was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

Find out more

Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging, good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging, good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging, okay learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

About our buy links

When you use our links to make a purchase, Common Sense Media earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes. As a nonprofit organization, these funds help us continue providing independent, ad-free services for educators, families, and kids while the price you pay remains the same. Thank you for your support.

See more about how we rate and review.

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Adult Written byThe_Reaper 6184 June 1, 2012
AGE
13
QUALITY
 

Snow White and the Huntsman

While Kristen Stewart proves she can act when cast in a movie that does not involve sparkling vampires or shirtless Native American werewolves, this is clearly Charlize Theron's movie. Children or pre-teens who have seen the last three "Harry Potter" films or any of the "Lord of the Rings" films should be fine, the warfare does not exactly go into "Braveheart" territory. Snow White is clearly meant to be a positive role model. She is brave and selfless, willing to sacrifice her life to better the lives of others. Charlize Theron's Queen Ravenna is a cold, heartless villain who places herself above anyone else, including her relentlessly devoted brother. Given the things she does, it is nearly impossible to sympathize with her, even after she states she's "been used by men". There is only one prolonged scene where she sucks out the youth of a young girl and the scene is vaguely similar to the dementors from the previously mentioned "Harry Potter" films. There's no nudity to speak of, with the exception of Theron's naked back, but there's a brief scene of sexuality early in the film. Overall, any parent who has children who would even be remotely interested in this film have nothing to fear while those with children under 13 should use some caution. After all, this is not Disney we're dealing with.

What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Parent Written byinformed Dad June 1, 2012
AGE
13
QUALITY
 

Snow white and the huntsman review

The movie snow white and the huntsmen was a movie I wanted to see, but I did not let my 12 and a half year old daughter see.
So I decided to see if it was okay for her to see, and i saw it first. there are a few battle scenes but it is a very good film that keeps you on the edge of your seat, I now have let my daughter see it, however i would recommend this movie to children over 12.

Kid, 12 years old Written byAlittleMischief June 1, 2012
AGE
8
QUALITY
 

Great Movie

this is one of the best movies i have ever seen. I do recomend this for 8 and up, it is great. See my parents don't approve movies before i see them, but this movie is great. A must see. There is violence, but its not like a slasher film with body parts everywhere. It does havea a good message : Never back down and you can furfill you dreams if you fight for them. I have seen many young kids around 5 in there, there is no nudity but a bare back and the woman is coming out of a tub but she covers up with her hands.

What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence

Poll

Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?

Top Kids' Movies: An Essential Guide for Families