A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Red Shoes and the Seven Dwarfs (also known as Snow White & the Red Shoes) is a fun-packed animated comedy that breaks the stereotype of traditional fairy tale characters. A parody of the original Brothers Grimm story, this take on Snow White has a strong body-positive theme that emphasizes the beauty of characters of all shapes and sizes. There are some sinister characters and mild cartoon peril, including a scene in which (spoiler alert) a key character appears to die before coming back to life. But none of this is scary enough to bother most elementary-aged kids. There's also a fair bit of flirting and efforts to secure kisses. The movie caused some controversy when it was first screened in 2017: The marketing campaign at that time, which suggested that an overweight Snow White wasn't beautiful, was swiftly canceled and publicly denounced by actor Chloe Grace Moretz, who voices Snow White. And it seems clear that the movie's true intentions are to show that people should celebrate who they are, inside and out, and that true love sees beyond appearances.
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What's the story?
Loosely based on Snow White, RED SHOES AND THE SEVEN DWARFS tells the story of the "Fearless Seven" -- a group of vain but heroic princes -- who have been turned into green dwarfs by a spurned fairy. Their only hope to break the curse is a kiss from a beautiful princess. Cut to the plump and mousey Snow White (voiced by Chloe Grace Moretz) whose father, King White (Nolan North) has disappeared at the hands of her wicked stepmother, Regina (Gina Gershon). After a pair of magic red shoes turn Snow into a "beautiful" princess she sets out to find her father, arriving at the house of the Seven, and swiftly renaming herself Red Shoes. Knowing that her kiss could break their curse, the dwarfs pledge to help her -- with Merlin (Sam Claflin) determined to win her heart. Using a combination of teamwork, ingenuity, and the dwarfs' magical powers, the heroes must defeat Regina to save the King and -- perhaps -- return to their original forms.
Is it any good?
This high-spirited, engaging family comedy is a tale of mistaken identities that challenges stereotypes and reassures us that it's ok to be different. There are some genuinely funny moments and wise-cracking remarks in Red Shoes and the Seven Dwarfs that will entertain tweens -- and parents -- as well as plenty of silliness for younger kids. The story is clever and fast-paced, with a strong cast of characters. Red Shoes is warm but feisty, Merlin is amusingly narcissistic, and the odious and pretentious Prince Average (pronounced "Ah-vu-rahj") is a classic cartoon villain. Meanwhile Patrick Warburton -- aka Lemony Snickett in the brilliant TV adaptation of A Series of Unfortunate Events -- is deliciously entertaining as the evil but hapless Magic Mirror.
At times you might question the clarity of the message -- does highlighting a character's physical appearance debunk or exacerbate the stereotype? But ultimately this is a smart take on Snow White that's full of heart and good humor. And by the end, it's crystal clear that beauty does indeed come from within.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how Red Shoes and the Seven Dwarfs challenges stereotypes. Does the movie succeed in breaking the stereotype of classic fairy tale characters? If so, how? How else does the movie challenge gender stereotypes? What are the dangers of stereotypes?
The character of Snow White, aka Red Shoes, shares some similarities with Princess Fiona in Shrek. Talk about how they are both presented and what makes them good role models.
Talk to your kids about empathy and the concept of putting yourself in someone else's shoes. Which characters in the movie experience this and how do they deal with it?
The original marketing campaign -- that suggested that an overweight Snow White wasn't beautiful -- was denounced by star Chloe Grace Moretz. Why do you think she did this?
- On DVD or streaming: September 18, 2020
- Cast: Chloe Grace Moretz, Sam Claflin, Gina Gershon
- Director: Sungho Hong
- Studio: Next Entertainment World
- Genre: Fantasy
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Princesses, Fairies, Mermaids, and More, Book Characters, Fairy Tales, Great Girl Role Models
- Character strengths: Courage, Empathy, Teamwork
- Run time: 92 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG
- MPAA explanation: some action/peril
- Last updated: January 21, 2021
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