The Good Witch
Common Sense Media says
What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Good Witch is far less about witchcraft and much more about how values of compassion, kindness, and empathy can transform an individual and those around them. Bullying is part of the plot, but what separates The Good Witch from so many other children's films where there's bullying is that characters take the time to try and understand why the bully behaves the way he does, and what it might take to change his ways. Besides this, there are some scary scenes where a Doberman chases kids that might be a bit scary for younger viewers, and some adult drinking and mild innuendo.
What's the story?
When Cassie Nightingale (Catherine Bell) moves to Middleton into The Gray House -- a house long-believed by townspeople to be haunted -- many suspect she has supernatural powers, especially after she stops a vicious dog from attacking two kids and opens up a shop downtown where she sells magical potions. Nonetheless, she befriends Police Chief Jake Russell (Chris Potter) and his two kids, Brandon and Lori, and takes in a homeless man to help her fix up her home. While many in Middleton grow to like Cassie and her shop -- the Russell children in particular as she helps them solve their problems with bullies and attack dogs -- Martha Tinsdale (Catherine Disher), local busybody and wife of the mayor -- will stop at nothing until Cassie is sent packing. Cassie must prove to everyone, through her deeds and her actions, that she is a GOOD WITCH, someone who loves to help others.
Is it any good?
THE GOOD WITCH takes familiar themes -- witchcraft, bullying, the narrowmindedness of some in small towns -- and finds unique approaches, using these themes as springboards to discuss the importance of empathy, of understanding why people behave the way they do. As a film that teaches positive values, it's much better than most kids movies that make the same attempt but come off mawkish and preachy.
The bullying scenes early in the film may be difficult for some families, and perhaps it's arguable as to whether or not the solution (couched in mystical mumbo-jumbo) The Good Witch prescribes would actually work in the real world. Still, as a positive role model, Cassie Nightingale is much much better than the average witch -- good or bad -- seen in television and movies.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about empathy, and how Cassie and other characters use it. What effect does it have on the characters and the bully in particular?
How accurately do you feel the film reflects the home lives of bullies? What are some effective methods to stop bullying?
Many of the characters in the small town where this film is set stereotype Cassie, believing she's a witch based on where she lives and how she dresses. Have you ever been judged for how you look or what you do?