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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Meant to entertain rather than educate.
Positive messages are spoken throughout film, like "Believe in yourselves and you can do anything," "If your heart is true, you need never know regret" and "Reach out to your enemies." Ruby, her parents, and her friends are meant to embody these messages through their actions.
Positive Role Models
Friends and family stick together. Dad always supports his daughter. Ruby stands up to class bullies on behalf of her friends. Ruby uses magic and ingenuity to save her mother from a parallel universe. Adults and kids alike can be bullies.
Violence & Scariness
Mother is taken by a woman wielding magic and held hostage by a man who intends to force her to marry him. The man kisses her hand repeatedly. Ruby accidentally freezes other kids. A metal structure falls on Scooter's hand. Children are lost in the woods. School bullies take Scooter's inhaler and tease Ruby about being abandoned by her mother. Sheriff kicks out the dad's taillight, forecloses on his house, and teases him about his missing wife. Ruby makes a man fall in a pothole. Bad guys, including a child, are sucked into the parallel universe. Clowns serve as guards.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Mom and Dad kiss and hug.
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"Hell," "heck," "dweeb," "loser," "freak," "lame," "jerk," "loser," "sucks."
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Ruby Strangelove Young Witch will interest only the youngest viewers, but it might also confuse them. Young Ruby has just discovered her own nature as a witch and must save her mother in a complicated plot about a portal between parallel universes that has something to do with planets aligning. There's a plan among the local adults in town to sabotage Ruby and her father, though it's confusing what's motivating these once-friendly adults to turn on the Strangeloves. The disappearance of Ruby's mother when Ruby is a newborn, and her sequestering in a town guarded by adult male clowns, could prove a bit frightening to some. But the school bullies are pretty toothless and Ruby's handling of them on behalf of her "misfit" friends offers a good model for school-age children, as does the strong bond between Ruby and her dad. Some mild language includes "hell," "heck," "loser," "freak," "jerk," "loser," "sucks." A man who has sequestered Ruby's mother plans to force her to marry him and kisses her hand repeatedly. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Although the movie has mixed together all the correct ingredients and followed the usual recipe for its genre, the final dish just doesn't quite work. Something is off with Ruby Strangelove Young Witch, and while the youngest audiences might not notice, anyone older than the 8-old-year titular witch likely will. The story is ostensibly set in small-town America -- maybe the South, considering the sheriff's thick drawl. But the town looks like a movie set (the film was shot partly in Bulgaria), while detectable accents from the international cast also muddy the location. Meanwhile, the kingdom where the mother is being held against her will, a candy-colored parallel world filled with adult clowns and oddly-shaped furniture, looks like a children's TV show set and is neither funny nor creepy, it's just bizarre.
Pereira does her best as the young witch, and she appears to have a lovely singing voice, but her face doesn't always convey the right emotions for the scene (fault the director for that). As Ruby's mother, Moore is burdened with unnaturally stiff lines like "You can force me to smile, but you can never make me happy." Stoppard, playing Ruby's father, is credible in his role and helps keep the film afloat, and fans of veteran actor Stephen Rea might be curious to see his limited turn here as the bad guy. Even if they don't fully grasp the plan to rescue Ruby's mom, the youngest viewers may still appreciate Ruby's bravery, her spunky songs, the way she stands up to bullies, and the sweet relationship she has with her dad.
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.