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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
The movie provides an opportunity for kids to observe family and class structures in France during the 19th century.
Curiosity and an independent free-spiritedness are celebrated. Those that accept these traits in children are portrayed as being understanding and kindhearted.
Positive Role Models
Sophie is a spirited, playful, and boisterous independent young girl. Her energy and curiosity is viewed affectionately by some adults but as a negative by others. Sophie and her friends sometimes fight but make up. Sophie's mother, Madame de Réan, is friendly and accepting of Sophie's nature. Sophie's stepmother Madame Fichini is cruel and disrespectful to others -- which plays up to some stereotypes. Madame de Fleurville is a kind and caring mother to two girls who looks out for Sophie.
The movie features a multicultural cast with no mention of ethnicity. A Native American tribe is shown in a dream sequence. The movie is about a well-to-do French family.
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Violence & Scariness
The parents of the main character both die. A step-parent slaps and whips a child in an attempt to discipline them. A priest intimidates a child by holding their arm tight. Kids play roughly but make up. After a horse drawn carriage accident, a horse lies injured on the ground and dies, while two characters suffer bloody wounds. Some fantasy cartoon violence. This includes a hedgehog being shot by a gamekeeper -- its offspring gather round its bleeding body. In addition, a child cuts up a goldfish with a penknife. A burning ship is shown at sea. Native Americans point arrows at someone during a dream sequence. A character throws items around when cross. Kids play a game that involves trying to knock over lit candles. A child walks across a frozen lake, which collapses beneath them.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Some characters wear clothes that accentuate cleavage.
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One use of "turd."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
A kid steals and drinks some wine.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Sophie's Misfortunes is a French period movie (with English subtitles) about a young girl with an independent spirit whose curiosity and energy often get her in trouble. When her parents die, Sophie (Caroline Grant) goes to lives with her stepmother, Madame Fichini (Muriel Robin) who treats her badly, using slaps and a whip to discipline her. Kids play roughly in the movie but are quick to make up. A horse drawn carriage accident leaves a horse dead and two adult characters with bloody injuries. The movie has some fantasy elements -- cartoon blood is shown when a gamekeeper shoots and kills an animated hedgehog. Goldfish are cut up with a penknife. The movie is shown from a kid's point of view. Some adults are warm and loving, others are cold and mean. There are two perilous scenes where a group of kids bowl balls to knock over lit candles and a young girl walks onto a frozen lake before the ice collapses. The movie is based on the 1858 novel Les Malheurs de Sophie by the Countess of Ségur, and also goes by the same name in some territories. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
As Sophie makes her way around her lavish French estate, the camera remains low to the ground. Taking cue's from Steven Spielberg's classic E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial, Sophie's Misfortunes shows all scenes featuring children from their eye level. Seeing the world from their point of view, we're treated to fun flourishes like cartoon animals appearing, and sequences that remind us of the joys of childhood. Alongside the cartoon animals, characters occasionally directly address the audience and musical numbers spring out of nowhere. Director Christophe Honoré allows Sophie's anarchic free spirit to permeate the movie. And this spirit is perfectly embodied by the young Grant, who gives a star turn in the titular role.
From Sophie's point of view, we also see the oppression some adults can put on kids, snuffing out their spark and imagination. Madam Fichie is a particularly nasty stepmother, but one whose meanness is matched by the kindness of other adults. Largely female-led -- all the kids' fathers are away and never seen -- this is a movie on the side of children, with enough spirit and top performances to carry adults along with it too.
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.