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 Knight Before Christmas is a holiday fairy tale, another in the expanding list of Netflix romcoms. A British medieval knight (14th century) is transported to the U.S. Midwest in 2019, where he meets a teacher who is trying to recover from a broken heart. The film's messages and storyline are cheerful, good-natured, and confirm traditional happy endings. A few mild "action" scenes are included: a knight falls and hits his head; a little girl needs rescuing from a patch of thin ice; a hero intercepts a pickpocket. Amazon's Alexa device plays a major role; some promotion of other Netflix titles within the movie. No injuries; no real scares. Language includes "douche," "sucks," and "damn" and "lit af." Brief scene of man wearing only a towel. And of course, no fairy tale is complete without that special kiss.
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What's the story?
In THE KNIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS, Sir Cole Lyons (Josh Whitehouse), in the power of an old sorceress's spell, is whisked through time from England 1344 to Bracebridge, Ohio in 2019. His has been told that he must fulfill a "quest" before midnight on Christmas Eve. Unfortunately, Cole doesn't know what that quest is. In Bracebridge, science teacher Brooke Winters (Vanessa Hudgens, who also has an Executive Producing credit) is looking forward to Christmas, even though she's given up on love after a painful breakup. Culture shock doesn't come close to describing Sir Cole's confusion and distress when he lands in this small town in the modern world. Because he's believed to have jostled his brain when he fell, the townsfolk are sympathetic. They assume his costume means that he's a member of a holiday festival. Brooke insists on letting him stay in her spare bedroom until he regains his memory. In the few days before Christmas Eve, Cole -- still maintaining that he's from Olde England -- and Brooke work together to make the season jolly and hopeful for the whole community. At the same time, the young knight searches for the quest he's been sent to fulfill.
Is it any good?
An amiable cast and lighthearted holiday sentiments, as well as its overarching "fairy-tale-ness," should engage audiences, particularly younger ones who don't demand either subtlety or originality. Romantic comedies, given new life by streaming and cable sites, are reaching ever-wider audiences. Following close on the heels of The Princess Switch, another successful Vanessa Hudgens-Netflix offering, The Knight Before Christmas is a wholesome-enough pick for kids and families looking to snuggle together for a cozy movie night. And, as ever, fish-out-of-water stories always seem welcome.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the continuing appeal of "fish-out-of-water" movies. What does the term mean? What emotions do you think the concept touches? Why is The Knight Before Christmas a fish-out-of-water film?
What is meant by the film's statement: "A knight's true quest challenges his innermost weakness." Can you think of a situation in your life where you had to overcome a personal challenge to succeed?
Be creative. Write (or draw) a story in which you are miraculously transported to another place and time. Where and when would you like to go? Describe what you see and hear. What would be most surprising to you?
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.
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