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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
The movie is intended to entertain rather than educate, but it may inspire kids to seek out other fairy tales.
Friendship, teamwork, and treating people different to you with respect. Courage and perseverance are also commonly displayed.
Positive Role Models
Characters are complex and rounded. The Giant wakes up with amnesia and Jack lies to him that they were friends to save himself. Jack also hides the items he stole from the giant. But Jack does ultimately help the Giant, hiding him from the villagers and the bloodthirsty Woman With No Name giant-killer. Jack's mom, Pat, is hard on him but softens and shows pride in Jack. Giants and people learn to overcome their prejudice toward each other. The cast is inclusive and diverse with both Jack and Pat played by Black actors.
Violence & Scariness
A scary, eye-patch wearing villain fires their false eye at people with a catapult and behaves in a threatening way. Three people are tied to a stake to be burned. The fire is lit but they escape last-minute. Lots of talk about killing giants and eating people. Villagers form an angry mob to kill the Giant. Dead pigs seen hanging up at a meat shop.
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Language includes "brat," "ruddy," "idiot," "damn," "wee," "hell," "dump," and "stupid." Some toilet humor about feces, urine, and vomit.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Giant-killer character regularly smokes a pipe or cigar.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Jack and the Beanstalk: After Ever After is a humorous British fantasy TV movie that contains some mild scares, peril, toilet humor, positive messages, and a diverse cast. The story is a re-imagining of what happened after Jack defeated the Giant in the classic fairy tale. Here, the Giant (David Walliams) didn't die after falling from the beanstalk and Jack (Eddie Karanja) must once again use his wits to keep the Giant from eating him. The two in fact become friends, although this is largely down to Jack tricking the Giant into believing they were already friends -- the Giant has lost his memory as a result of his fall. There is lots of talk of killing and threat. The Giant and two others are tied to a stake and the villagers try to burn them. The villain of the film is the Woman With No Name (Sheridan Smith) and her menacing demeanor may be too scary for young viewers. She fires false eyes at people with catapults and makes threats. She also smokes a pipe or a cigar in most scenes. There is slapstick violence and potty humor. A recurring joke is a character tasting soil, which also contains animal urine, feces, or vomit. A chicken puppet poos on a character's lap. Relationships with mothers are explored. Jack's strict mom, Pat (Jocelyn Jee-Esien) softens after the Giant helps them to communicate after he talks about his good relationship with his own caring mother. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Actor and children's book author David Walliams delivers Jack and the Beanstalk: After Ever After -- a kind of re-imagined sequel to the classic fairy tale -- with cheeky energy and enthusiasm. Walliams wrote the story and stars as narrator and the Giant, so gets to revel in the slapstick, dark touches, and potty humor that makes this story a joy for kids who lean toward both fart jokes and menacing villains. Though in this story, rather than the villain of the piece being the Giant, it is a giant-killer called the Woman With No Name (Sheridan Smith), who has an uncompromising edge.
The movie successfully tackles some big themes in its short run time, too. Jack's complex dilemma of keeping his lie from the Giant when he becomes his true friend looms large over the action. Our sympathies are instantly with the Giant when the Woman With No Name turns up too, creating a nice shift from the original tale. The film's underlying message is one of inclusiveness, and how we should all try to get along, no matter our differences or backgrounds. It's a message it delivers triumphantly. Clearly a 2020 production, the topical mention of a "lockdown" and a socially-distanced cast might date it. But as a bolt-on to a timeless story, it's a fun, spiky, and cheeky "what if?" tale with its heart in the right place.
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.