A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that The Craft: Legacy is a follow up to 1996 teen witch cult classic The Craft. While its story beats are similar to the original -- a teen outsider finds friendship with three other outcasts, and they form a coven -- it's much less violent than the first film, and it shapes the narrative with a more progressive, feminist take. For example, when one of the girls uses magic irresponsibly, instead of turning on one another, they take a break and encourage self-control. And in what is likely a (welcome) first for a studio-produced mainstream film, a popular teen boy ends up in tears while explaining how confusing and challenging it is to be bisexual in a society that connects masculinity with heteronormativity. His ability to open up and express his emotions has positive consequences. The girls and their high school are diverse in multiple ways. For example, one of the witches is a well-adjusted Latinx transgender girl (as is the actress who plays her, Zoey Luna), and everyone is cool with that. The teens sit through a sex ed video that says consent is a requirement, teens kiss passionately, and there's some crude sex talk and two moments of implied masturbation, one of which suggests a teen boy is watching porn. A mysterious death is ruled a suicide. Both teens and parents use profanity ("bitch," "s--t," etc.). A bong is seen in a teen's room.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
Is it any good?
Today's socially, politically aware teens are likely to enjoy this progressive update of the coven classic that '90s kids grew up with. Writer-director Zoe Lister-Jones offers examples of positive, diverse representation -- including a transgender girl and a bisexual boy -- and uses the film to explore identity politics. Many Gen Z'ers are already talking about all of this stuff with each other, and it's great that Lister-Jones is tapping into that. However, similarly to how main character Lily uses telekinesis to invisibly shove a bully into a wall, The Craft: Legacy's updates/improvements are made with such force that they can feel like a jolt, drawing your attention to the action rather than the outcome.
As a key example, Lily's intended future stepfather, Adam (David Duchovny), is a self-help guru in the realm of the so-called crisis of masculinity. Lister-Jones draws a line in the sand here: Old white males bad, younger generation good ... unless they're being indoctrinated by old white males. In creating a character who will likely inspire many younger viewers to double down on their antipathy toward middle-aged white men, Lister-Jones' noble effort comes off a bit too much like a caricature. For many adults, it might almost feel like satire. But for teens, it will come across more as empowering encouragement that they're the ones who need to light our sociocultural beliefs and institutions on fire and watch them burn.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the identity issues addressed in The Craft: Legacy. What examples of diversity and inclusion did you notice? Do you think teens are more accepting than adults of others' differences?
How is this movie similar to and different from the original The Craft?
What does the movie have to say about women finding community and support with one another? Why is that important to see in media? Is it typical to see that in the movies?
- On DVD or streaming: October 28, 2020
- Cast: Cailee Spaeny, Michelle Monaghan, David Duchovny
- Director: Zoe Lister-Jones
- Studio: Sony Pictures
- Genre: Fantasy
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Brothers and Sisters, Friendship, High School, Misfits and Underdogs
- Character strengths: Teamwork
- Run time: 97 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG-13
- MPAA explanation: thematic elements, crude and sexual content, language and brief drug material
- Last updated: November 3, 2020
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