A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Actions speak louder than words. True goodness is seen in empathy for others. There's power in not caring how other people perceive you. True love can be felt between friends and family members, not just romantic partners. Good stories need great heroes and villains.
Positive Role Models
Sophie believes she should be a princess because of her looks and interests. Townspeople bully Sophie and Agatha for behaving differently than others; they call Agatha a witch. Agatha demonstrates both courage and generosity in helping her friends, even at risk to herself, as does Tedros.
Racial, ethnic, and accent diversity among the cast.
Did we miss something on diversity? Suggest an update.
Violence & Scariness
A girl's mother dies. A drunk man threatens a woman, mentioning burning witches. Two young women, bullied by their peers, are dragged away from their village by a dark spirit then air-lifted in the claws of a giant bird and dropped from the sky into a new location. Fight scenes, sometimes fatal, involve swords, punches, fire, flight, magic, mean wolves, fiery dragon-like creatures, knives, bats, a cast iron pan, collapsing buildings, killer pumpkins, biting flowers, and falls from great heights. A woman is sent to a "doom room" full of torture implements. Students' fingers are pierced with a needle to infuse them with magic. Some characters who appear to be killed are brought back to life. A character infused with evil has glowing red eyes and ages quickly and hideously.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Violence & Scariness in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Sex, Romance & Nudity
Young people flirt. There's one romantic kiss. Assumptions are made about what is considered attractive.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Sex, Romance & Nudity in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
"S--t," "ass," "hell," "damnit," "dang," "freak," "weirdo," "prig," "pig," "goon," "lunatic," "troll," "pompous," "ugly," "lazy."
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Language in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Products & Purchases
The film could inspire interest in the book series on which it's based.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
A man drinks from a flask and appears drunk.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Drinking, Drugs & Smoking in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The School for Good and Evil, is a fantasy film based on the popular YA book series. The plot and characters make use of fairy tale devices and play on their clichés. Two young women, bullied in their town for being different, are dragged away to a secret school by a dark spirit and a giant flying creature. There, people are trained to become either good characters or evil ones. Fighting regularly breaks out in scenes that involve swords, punches, fire, scary creatures, and other weapons. There are fatalities, and woman is sent to a "doom room" full of torture implements. Students' fingers are pierced with a needle to infuse them with magic. Some characters who appear to be killed are brought back to life. People's eyes glow, and one ages horrifically. Language includes lots of insults, plus "s--t," "ass," "hell," "dammit," and "dang." A character drinks from a flask and appears drunk. Ultimately the diverse cast of characters learns that actions speak louder than words and that true goodness is seen in empathy for others. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Capitalizing not just on proven source material (the book series) but also on tried-and-tested school-set, teen-starring fantasy formulas, nothing about this film feels particularly original. But Netflix knows the audience it's aiming for with The School for Good and Evil. And judging by the open-ended finale of this movie and the number of books in the original series, the platform is also presumably hoping those audiences will come back for more. (This begs the question: why not a miniseries?) These are the viewers who won't be deterred by the two-and-a-half-hour run time or the film's overly-packed intro. A mishmash of characters, accents, and ideas, including an on-again/off-again narrator (voiced by Cate Blanchett), are other potential deterrents for newcomers to this Harry Potter meets Disney Princess world.
Having said that, if you stick with it, the movie has some positive messages and a satisfying resolution. Technical aspects like wardrobe, setting, and fight choreography are all well done under Paul Feig's direction, bringing the books' atmosphere to vivid life. Some modern, female-heavy music adds to the soundtrack. What this film also has that many others don't is an A-list adult cast. They bring gravitas, and Washington is especially convincing as the head of the School for Good, but they're largely underused. This means the teen stars take the spotlight. Wylie's Agatha is the real center of the film and a character that allows for a truer and less theatrical performance than Sophie's, embodied with gusto by the petite Caruso. Here's hoping the adults, and other teen characters like Hort and Beatrix, get more screen time in the next movie.
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.