The Good Witch

  • Review Date: March 11, 2012
  • Rated: NR
  • Genre: Family and Kids
  • Release Year: 2010
  • Running Time: 89 minutes

Common Sense Media says

Empathy, compassion in witch tale, but some bullying, too.
  • Review Date: March 11, 2012
  • Rated: NR
  • Genre: Family and Kids
  • Release Year: 2010
  • Running Time: 89 minutes





What parents need to know

Educational value

This film is intended to entertain, not educate, but includes lots of pro-social messages.

Positive messages

Everyone is capable of kindness, compassion, and empathy, and when applied, deeper understandings and better relationships prevail.

Positive role models

Cassie Nightingale helps those around her with their problems, helping them find the strength and courage they didn't know they had. When confronting those who wish to kick her out of town, she responds not with cruelty or revenge but with kindness and charity.

Violence & scariness

Two scenes feature a Doberman chasing after two kids while barking angrily. After one chase, a girl slips and cuts her leg. A boy is frequently bullied, ordered to give up his lunch or his lunch money. This same bully is shown later being pushed and verbally abused by his father. Two boys are shown vandalizing a shop -- spray painting the windows and throwing rocks.

Sexy stuff

Two adults passionately kiss on a dinner date. A woman is given what she is told is an "aphrodisiac" that will leave her husband "pumped and ready to go."


"Crap." Name-calling from a bully: "Loser."

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Adult characters are shown drinking wine on a dinner date. A homeless man is found with a bottle of alcohol and is strongly hinted at having an alcohol problem. A boy tells his friend that his Dad gets drunk and abusive.

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.

Parents say

Kids say

Not yet rated
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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?

Movie details

DVD release date:January 5, 2010
Cast:Catherine Bell, Catherine Disher, Chris Potter
Director:Craig Pryce
Genre:Family and Kids
Topics:Great girl role models
Run time:89 minutes
MPAA rating:NR

This review of The Good Witch was written by

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Educator and Parent Written byCommonSenseChristian May 4, 2014

Feel Free to Fall Under this Spell

Is Cassie Nightingale a witch or isn't she? No one in Middleton seems to know for sure. But what widower Jake Russell, his kids Brandon and Laurie, and other residents do know is that Cassie is a compassionate, charming woman. She helps Laurie conquer the nightmare monsters that have plagued her since Mom's death three years ago, and advises Brandon on how to deal with a school bully. Cassie does use "magic" objects to do this, such as a cool crystal Brandon can show the bully as an icebreaker, but they are never used in an occult fashion. If anything, Cassie's "magic" is showing people that they have what they need to solve their own problems. So if any parent is wary of witchcraft, they needn't fear Miss Nightingale. However, these same parents would do well to be cautious around Mrs. Tinsdale, a nosy lady who happens to be the mayor's wife and who makes life difficult for Cassie. Mrs. Tinsdale claims that because Cassie and her shop (a notions shop full of lotions, herbal remedies, and necklaces) are different, they are dangerous. She doesn't get outright aggressive, but her attitude is certainly condemning and makes traditional people look evil. She's a good point of discussion, especially among religious or traditional families. Other caveats are minor: the bully pushes Brandon around and threatens Laurie, and by the same token, he's threatened at home (before Jake, who's also the police chief, steps in). Cassie takes some flak for her quirky ways, including people avoiding her shop. Her home is said to be haunted, but there's no indication that's true. In general, it's doubtful Cassie is a witch, but whatever she's brewing, it's pretty good.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models


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