Blithe Spirit

Movie review by
Stefan Pape, Common Sense Media
Blithe Spirit Movie Poster Image
Accessible family caper has slapstick violence and drinking.
  • PG-13
  • 2021
  • 95 minutes

Parents say

age 12+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 1 review

Did we miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Selfish behavior with little regard for others. There is however, a sense of looking toward the future and not looking back, moving forward with life rather than wishing to dig up the past.

Positive Role Models

All three lead characters are flawed, double-crossing one another at any given point, and each comfortable with hurting those they love. Charles is an ambitious writer, committed and driven, even if his ambition can be to his detriment. Elvira is a strong-willed female lead, and while conniving, she's intelligent and headstrong. She does admit to infidelity. Ruth is patient and understanding, but even her patience is tested.

Violence

The violence is incredibly frequent, but of a slapstick nature, played for laughs. Punches are thrown, knives flung, and items thrown out windows. Character falls from a great height during a live stage show. A car drives off the side of a cliff. Someone is hit by a car. Threats of violence, including a character holding a razor to someone's neck while they take a bath. A body is seen lying in a morgue.

Sex

Innuendo. Character suggests to another that they have sex. A character is said to have had sex with a ghost.

Language

The term "hussy" is used to describe someone.

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Characters drink frequently, often as a means to numb their pain. A character is seen drinking in the morning. A doctor gives a friend amphetamine, which seemingly has a positive effect on their behavior. A character drugs another by slipping something into their drink in a bid to embarrass them.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Blithe Spirit is a British comedy, full of slapstick violence and drinking, and is based on a Noel Coward play. When crime writer Charles Condomine (Dan Stevens) starts to suffer from writer's block, he arranges a séance that inadvertently brings back his dead wife, Elvira (Leslie Mann), who seems intent on ruining his new marriage to Ruth (Isla Fisher). Though the séance is presented in a playful way, it could prove too scary for younger kids. Most of the characters are conniving and continuously double-cross one another. There are death threats, slapstick violence, and even a murder. But it remains cartoon-like in its depiction, with those who die coming back as ghosts. There is frequent drinking, with Charles seen drinking in the mornings and often by himself. He is also given amphetamine to help cheer his mood. Another character is drugged without her consent, in a bid to humiliate her at a large gathering. There is a sense of comeuppance though, and characters who wrong others do seem to get what is coming to them. There is the very occasional sexual reference, as it's alluded to that a character made love to a ghost, and in one scene a woman is referred to as a "hussy."

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent Written byKelly H. June 16, 2021

Great movie for older tweens

Love this remake. The acting is great and it is super entertaining. What puts it to the higher end for me is the sexual innuendo -- it is plentiful. Drinking an... Continue reading
Kid, 11 years old March 6, 2021

Don’t listen to expert review!

First, I’d like to say that the expert review leaves out most of the bad things in this film.

Violence - A woman attached to a rope on stage falls. A mans ang... Continue reading

What's the story?

BLITHE SPIRIT is the tale of crime writer Charles Condomine (Dan Stevens), suffering from writer's block and in need of inspiration. In a bid to evoke some creativity, a séance is held by Madame Arcati (Judi Dench), who accidentally summons the ghost of the writer's ex-wife, Elvira (Leslie Mann), causing problems between him and his current wife, Ruth (Isla Fisher).

Is it any good?

A good-natured and endearingly overstated comedy that thrives in its absurdity. Based on a Noel Coward play, Blithe Spirit is full of the playful spirit of the great writer, and is quintessentially British too. The outfits, the dialogue, and even Charles Condomine's mustache, are all over-the-top, but this is a film very much played for laughs. There's an artistic license here to be as bombastic and unsubtle as possible, and the actors are clearly having fun playing in this mischievous tone.

The casting is spot on, as both Fisher and Mann play roles of this nature so well, while it's always a pleasure to see Dench on our screens. The movie does rely, primarily, on its one central joke, which is Charles addressing his dead wife, Elvira, only for others around him to believe he's talking to them. In truth, the gag is over-used to the point of tedium. But despite this grievance, director Edward Hall still manages to deliver an easily accessible, fun little movie that more than passes the time.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about whether or not they think the slapstick violence in Blithe Spirit is funny. Is it ever appropriate to laugh when someone gets hurt? Did the fact that it was presented in a playful manner make it less impactful?

  • How does the movie present drinking? Do you think the characters drink too much? Does their behavior seem realistic/believable? Are there consequences for what they do?

  • Talk about how the movie portrays sex. Is it affectionate? Respectful? Parents, talk to your teens about your own values regarding sex and relationships.

  • There is a scene consisting of a séance intended to summon back ghosts. Did you find this scene scary? Why do you think some people want to reconnect with the dead?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love to laugh

Themes & Topics

Browse titles with similar subject matter.

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate

Streaming options powered by JustWatch

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality.

Learn how we rate