A Feast at Midnight Movie Poster Image

A Feast at Midnight

(i)

 

Boarding school comedy with bullying, strong messages.
  • Review Date: January 21, 2013
  • Rated: PG
  • Genre: Family and Kids
  • Release Year: 2005
  • Running Time: 102 minutes

What parents need to know

Educational value

Kids unfamiliar with the concept will learn about boarding school (albeit a fictionalized version of it). They may also end up interested in cooking and baking like the characters in the movie.

Positive messages

The movie encourages kids to stay true to themselves, find ways to make friends, and share their talents with others. The story also stresses open communication between parents and their kids.

Positive role models

Magnus is a sweet kid who despite being the odd duckling at the school is rather sure of himself, in part thanks to his great relationship with his encouraging father. Their shared love of food allows Magnus to teach his friends how to bake/cook.

Violence & scariness

There is bullying at the school, as well as a professor who occasionally terrorizes some of the students, but is more bark than bite (except for the time he almost hits the main character). Kids put red ants in a new boy's salad.

Sexy stuff

The boys try to spy on Charlotte as she takes a bath (nothing is shown but her bare shoulders). Two adults flirt over late-night snacks.

Language

Nothing stronger than "bloody" or "stupid."

Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

The kids use some alcohol in a recipe for a fancy cake, Chocolate Charlotte.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that A Feast at Midnight is a comedy, but includes a menacing teacher who nearly strikes a student (but is interrupted just in time) and some bullies who make the main character's life difficult by pulling pranks like sticking red ants in his food. In one scene, the boys try to peep on a young woman who is taking a bath (but nothing is shown beyond her bare shoulders) and occasionally they say "bloody" or "stupid" but nothing stronger than that. Sensitive kids may pick up on the fact the protagonist has a father who's very ill.

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What's the story?

In rural England, the boys' boarding school Dryden Park Preparatory welcomes a new student, Magnus (Freddie Findlay). Magnus is immediately targeted by bullies and his stentorian house master, Professor "Raptor" (Christopher Lee). Magnus seeks solace in letters from his ill father convalescing in Paris. They share a love of good food, so Magnus decides to reach out to a couple of fellow put-upon classmates to start a secret society of boys who sneak into the kitchen after hours and prepare A Midnight Feast (or more specifically, delicious snacks). As the year continues, the unofficial group grows to include most of Magnus' dormitory, but a couple of popular boys still consider him an academic and social threat.

Is it any good?

QUALITY

Boarding school stories like this one are always fascinating: adolescent kids living together and studying together and finding ways to break the rules. Part of the reason the Harry Potter series is so compelling is that it takes place at the most magical (literally) boarding school ever. Dryden Park is no Hogwarts, but the "types" are still there: the Draco-like bully; the Snape-like teacher who takes everything way too seriously; the academic know-it-all; and the misfit protagonist who longs to fit in to an otherwise closed social circle.

The best part of story is all the cooking sequences. It's like Big Night for kids. Magnus' ability to see pancakes while his friends only see milk, eggs, and flour is impressive, and it's amusing to follow the secret group of young chefs as they find more and more elaborate recipes to tackle, culminating in an all-out party for the school's one young woman -- Raptor's adolescent daughter. For a foodie-approved new-kid-in-school story arc, check out this harmless and sweet family movie.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the genre of boarding-school movies. Why do you think they're so much more popular in Europe than in the United States?

  • One of movie's messages is that even kids who seem like misfits at first can find others to be friendly with and find a way to belong. What are some other movies where kids who are outsiders find their place?

  • The kids discover the joys of cooking together. Does A Feast at Midnight make you more interested in making meals and baking treats? Find some recipes that you and your family or friends can make together. 

Movie details

DVD release date:April 5, 2005
Cast:Aled Roberts, Christopher Lee, Freddie Findlay
Director:Justin Hardy
Studio:Live Entertainment
Genre:Family and Kids
Topics:Misfits and underdogs
Run time:102 minutes
MPAA rating:PG
MPAA explanation:for mild sensuality and boyish pranks

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