A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Love can be enduring and powerful, not fleeting and fair-weathered. Also messages about teamwork, friendship, and the real meaning of family, and the story explores how jealousy can corrupt.
Positive Role Models
The huntsman never stops loving Sara; he stays true to her. Eric is brave and saves lives. Sara redeems a betrayal by protecting Eric. The dwarfs act honorably and help the huntsmen try to defeat the evil queens. Queen Freya discovers that love is real and acts accordingly.
Violence & Scariness
Both queens kill people in many different ways. A baby is burned to death in her crib. Ravenna can summon tar-filled death rays, while Freya commands ice to do her bidding -- like freeze people into a state of suspended animation or freeze and shatter them into pieces. The huntsmen army kills in battle. The goblins are large, horned, ape-like creatures that scarily scream and attack humans.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Ravenna plays footsie with her husband. Eric and Sara share intense gazes, kiss passionately, and make love more than once; in one scene, they're naked in a hot spring (bare shoulders, backs shown as they kiss, and in another, they undress each other while lying down (bare backs visible, side view of him on top of her).
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Insult words such as "ugly," "stupid," "idiot," "monster," "evil."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
The huntsman and the dwarves have a drink at a pub.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Huntsman: Winter's War is both a prequel and sequel to Snow White and the Huntsman, following the origin story of how Eric (Chris Hemsworth) became a huntsman. Like its predecessor, the film is violent and dark, despite the fairytale references and themes. Kids may think it's going to be like the hit TV show Once Upon a Time, but the movie has intense scenes like an infant's death, startling betrayals, and many deaths (though only a few are shown up close). Both queens (played by Emily Blunt and Charlize Theron) kill, albeit in different ways, and there are scary, horned, ape-like goblins that pursue and nearly kill the protagonists. While there's little in the way of language or drinking, there are two sensuous-but-not-graphic love scenes -- expect to see kissing and bare shoulders/backs. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Despite a fabulous cast, Theron's absence for most of this visually outstanding but underwhelming film takes away its most compelling element -- a treacherous villain. Blunt is a wonderful actress, but her Freya, while fascinating, isn't as interesting as her older sister. She's like Elsa with a big army and a frozen heart, but she's not convincingly eeevil like Ravenna. The romantic subplot between Eric and Sara is predictable from the first time they lay eyes on each other as kidnapped children, and no time is spent on how their forbidden love managed to grow in a kingdom where they're supposed to feel only loyalty. The messy plot doesn't allow viewers to see more than that they were the best and prettiest and therefore fated.
By the time Theron finally pops back into the picture, it's too little, too late to save it from mediocrity. Her slithering, scheming queen is the brightest part of the movie, and even the talented stars and funny cameos from Nick Frost, Sheridan Smith, and two other British comedians as dwarves can redeem this confoundingly boring mess. The only saving graces (besides the stars) are the gorgeous costumes and the visually impressive enchanted forest. Otherwise, seeing this is merely an exercise in supporting quality actors stuck in a subpar sequel which is made even more infuriating by the obvious way it leaves room for yet another installment.
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.