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Novel-inspired miniseries entertains, but is very violent.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The story is loosely based on historical events in Southern France in the early 13th century during a violent clash between Crusaders and the Cathar people. Some characters succumb to the lust for power, while others sacrifice everything to protect a secret that's bigger than they are. The modern-day storyline has its own set of antagonists who are no less cunning and vicious, plus some who value truth and honor instead. It paints a dismal picture of the medieval Catholic church and its pope, who authorized the Crusaders' violent acts against those it deemed heretics, but it's not an inaccurate one, given knowledge of the history.    

Positive role models

A mixed bag. Many at the heart of the story (including the two heroines) are selfless and resolute in what they see as their duties to their community and to their faith. In some cases, their devotion even costs them their lives. Others see only avenues to their own power, and they lie and manipulate in the hopes of achieving it. 


Graphic scenes of war and death with few details spared. People are stabbed, shot by arrows, and hung from tree branches. A man slits another's throat; another breaks a foe's neck. Battlefield scenes show bodies battered, maimed, and dismembered. A main character is strangled, though his killer is more visible than he is. Victims are cut, burned, and beaten for information. A man dies a slow death from poisoning. In one wrenching scene, an entire community of people jump into a fiery pit to their deaths. 


In one steamy bedroom scene, a woman is topless but shown mostly from the side and back as she and her partner have sex. There are a few occasions for kissing and fondling, and in another case, a woman walks around in her bra. 


Rarely "bitch." 


The miniseries is based on a book of the same name by Kate Mosse.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Some alcohol consumption among adults, but it's not a major plot point. 

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Labyrinth is partially set in France during the Crusades, and the re-enactment of a particularly gruesome massacre takes center stage during much of the story. People are hung, stabbed, strangled, and burned alive among other violent acts, and the images will be upsetting to sensitive viewers. The story is rooted in grail lore and the concept of the supernatural, and the Catholic Church -- through the extension of the Crusaders and a power-hungry modern-day character -- is cast in a very negative light as opposed to their more sympathetic victims. One bedroom scene shows a woman partially nude (her bare back and the sides of her breasts are visible) during sex, plus there are other instances of physical closeness and some occasional salty language in this captivating drama miniseries. 

Kids say

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What's the story?

While on an archaeological dig in Carcassonne in Southern France, Alice Tanner (Vanessa Kirby) makes a discovery that thrusts her into an age-old war over ancient secrets about the Holy Grail. What's more, they forge a link between her and Alais Pelletier du Mas (Jessica Brown Findlay), a medieval woman sworn to protect that secret 800 years earlier, who just happens to be Alice's ancestor. As the story alternates between Alice's modern-day quest to make sense of her discovery and Alais's fight to survive the Crusade war that spells doom for her entire Cathar community, each faces dangerous foes who will stop at nothing to seize control of the secrets the women protect.

Is it any good?


Based on a popular novel, LABYRINTH nestles a scintillating mystery within the dramatic historical events of Carcassonne in 1209. It was a time when legions of Crusaders wiped out an entire population of Cathars for what the Catholic Church viewed as heretical beliefs. Conspiracy theorists and mystery buffs will enjoy the way this miniseries explores modern and ancient secret societies and grail lore and the events that unfold in Alice's and Alais's lives as they're swept away by their unwitting involvement.

The show does an excellent job of managing the dual storylines and creating unifying moments that keep viewers invested in both, and there's never a shortage of drama since both women are surrounded by evil and self-serving foes masquerading as allies. The copious violence requires a mature temperament, as does the suggestion that supernatural forces are at play. In other words, this is one for older teens and adults.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about media violence. Are any scenes in this story too violent? Does this kind of content have a purpose? Is it more acceptable if it's meant to reflect historical events, or does that not matter? 

  • Many of the show's antagonists believe that altruistic outcome always justifies the means, even if people get hurt. Is there ever a scenario in which this could be true? Is the greater good ever more important that individual needs?

  • What role does gender play in this story? Does the fact that both heroines are women put them at an advantage or a disadvantage against their enemies? In general, are women awarded strong roles in TV and movies? 

Movie details

DVD/Streaming release date:July 15, 2014
Cast:Jessica Brown Findlay, John Hurt, Vanessa Kirby
Director:Christopher Smith
Studio:Lions Gate
Run time:176 minutes
MPAA rating:NR

This review of Labyrinth was written by

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Educator and Parent Written byJared Galczynski May 23, 2014

AY not really a MAYRA.

It's not one of my favorite shows, but I like it. It's just still no Rosemary's Baby, Mixology, or Major Crimes. There is a little sex involved, but violence is more of an issue here.
What other families should know
Too much violence