A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Women can be warriors and rulers, and they should be respected and treated as such. Good rulers don't rule by fear.
Positive Role Models
The princess has always wanted to be trained as a warrior rather than living the preordained life of a princess, which involves marriage, service to a husband, and begetting a male heir. She demonstrates courage to save herself and her family, battling dozens of armed guards much bigger than herself. She kills a lot of people in one day.
The princess is ahead of her time in bucking gender expectations; she wears pants in a time when women did not, learns martial arts, eschews marriage. The king is said to have "welcomed outsiders" into his kingdom, including Black and Asian people. The princess is trained as a warrior by a woman who is played by a Vietnamese actress.
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Violence & Scariness
Lots of blood and gore. Dozens of people are wounded or killed by sword, fire, strangling, punching, falling, arrows. A main character is beheaded, another nearly drowns. One character behaves sadistically and seemingly takes pleasure in killing others. People are punched, bludgeoned, knocked over, handcuffed, drugged, stabbed in the eye, bitten, slapped. A group of men surround a woman, start touching her and talking about taking off her clothes. A man tries to forcefully marry a very young girl. The princess bemoans that her father would sell her off "to the bedroom of a man I hardly know," suggesting she's "not a piece of property to be traded."
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
A man and a woman kiss. A man urinates then admires his bare chest in a mirror. A man leers at a woman and says, "I like a girl in lace." A woman suggests she knows her role is to be by her husband's side by day and at his "service" by night. There's mention of a brothel.
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"Bitch," "bloody hell," "hell," "harlot."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Men drink and appear drunk in several scenes.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Princess is a gory medieval castle-set action film, not a family-friendly fairy tale. Star Joey King demonstrates courage while fighting her way out of a guarded tower, but lots of blood is spilled -- and dozens are killed -- in the process. People are wounded or killed by sword, fire, strangling, punching, falling, and being shot with arrows. A main character is beheaded, and another nearly drowns. People are also punched, bludgeoned, knocked over, handcuffed, drugged, stabbed in the eye, bitten, and slapped. One character seems to take pleasure in killing others, and a group of men surrounds a woman, touches her, and talks about taking off her clothes. Two people kiss, and there's mention of a brothel. The main character does everything to avoid marriage, which is considered part of her "duty" as a princess. She'd rather be a ruler and a warrior. Men appear drunk in several scenes. Language includes "bitch," "bloody hell," and "harlot." To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
What Enola Holmes did for Sherlock -- provide a younger, female-empowered spin starring a fierce, clever young woman who outsmarts the men around her -- this film aims to do for classic fairy tales. But in Enola Holmes, we get to know the main character and are immersed in a complex mystery. While The Princess turns the Disney princess trope on its head, surely a sellable concept, it relies too heavily on audiences' familiarity with traditional fairy tales to focus almost exclusively on martial arts-style action over plot or character. The film moves very fast, and the fighting is impressively choreographed, but dialogues are mostly limited to flashbacks and snarky one-liners ("Someone needs to teach you your place." "I've heard that before.").
The female empowerment message is clear, albeit simplistic: The princess (who is never actually named) has shirked her life's "duty" to be a polite, educated wife because, she says, "I was born this way." To hit the point home, other female characters are equally tough, including warrior master Linh and consort Moira, and the princess's traditionally flouncy dress is a liability she tears apart and pairs with sensible boots. Even her father the king, enlightened enough to "welcome outsiders" into his kingdom and avoid ruling "by fear," has yet to accept that a female could be sovereign. Cooper and Kurylenko as the punk-styled baddies are fun, and the film's medieval set is memorable. The Princess will find its fans, but some might wonder if it could've been done with more story to match the action.
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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.
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