The Secret of Moonacre

Movie review by
Karen Wirsing, Common Sense Media
The Secret of Moonacre Movie Poster Image
Enchanting fantasy turns teen into sweet, selfless princess.
  • PG
  • 2010
  • 103 minutes
Popular with kidsParents recommend

Parents say

age 9+
Based on 8 reviews

Kids say

age 7+
Based on 15 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Educational Value

Kids are taught the value of generosity and understanding.

Positive Messages

Maria overcomes the loss of her father and shows that you don't need power and authority to fix the things that are broken in the world. As long as you have desire, will, and understanding, anything is possible.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Many positive role models, and those who act as negative role models are reformed in the end. Maria survives the loss of her father with a positive attitude. Her kind, generous nature lifts the unhappy spirits surrounding her. Although she comes from a lavish lifestyle, Maria isn't interested in power and greed. Her selfless acts save Moonacre and teach the others how to open their hearts. 

Violence & Scariness

Maria loses her father early in the movie, which could upset some kids. Also, a few short battles in which Maria is chased by villians; they're short, but the darkness and dramatic lighting may frighten young children. Some other slightly scary scenes involving mysterious movements of doors and walls.

Sexy Stuff

One affectionate kiss.

Language
Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Adults drink socially. The governess has one too many cocktails and falls asleep in her chair.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this enchanting fairy tale has some sad and scary scenes that might be disturbing for very young or sensitive kids. Maria loses her father early in the movie, though the audience never actually meets him. Also, one family is portrayed as villainous, and they wear dark clothes and masks, and there are some brief battle scenes with Maria being chased.  A magical, protective black dog has red eyes and transforms into a fierce lion when the enemies appear. Maria -- who's selfless and generous -- is a great role model for kids, and the movie has strongly positive messages about achieving your goals.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent Written byncst January 7, 2014

Great modern fairy tale twist

We found this jewel on Netflix and gave it a try with our two sensitive girls after previewing it first. It did have a few scary scenes for our daughters, but t... Continue reading
Adult Written byBeckstar October 29, 2011

Quite Scary, I wouldn't recommend it to children

Although this is geared towards children, it is quite scary in a lot of the film with the dog and the enemies..etc. I'm an adult and I found it to be quite... Continue reading
Kid, 11 years old February 6, 2011

Great for tween girls!

This is definitely one of the most fun movies I have ever watched. At the time I watched it tied for first place as my favorite movie with Howl's Moving C... Continue reading
Kid, 9 years old November 13, 2015

Lovely film but very scary

i think this movie is very nice but also very scary. there are lots of random silly and funny things in this movie I think its quite violent for 8 years old.

What's the story?

Maria Merryweather (Dakota Blue Richards), agirl ofgreat fortune and wealth, finds herself homeless and orphaned at the age of 13. The only inheritance Maria receives from her deceased father is a bookthat tellsthe legend ofMoonacre's famousMoon Princess. Forced to leave her home in London, Maria moves to the countryside of Moonacre Manorto live with an uncle she has never met. Maria's uncle, Sir Benjamin (Ioan Gruffudd), is unfriendly and aloof until he notices Maria'suncanny relationship with the animals surrounding the castle. The horses flock to her, and the dog becomes her immediate companion. When the walls surrounding her mysteriously come to life, Maria quickly learns that she is the last Moon Princess and must save Moonacre from an ancient curse. It's upto her to uniteher family with its rivals, theDe Noirs, before the 5,000th moon rises.

Is it any good?

This is a beautiful and enchanting tale about a little princess whose selfless actions save an entire kingdom. When Maria takes it upon herself to unite her family with their centuries-old adversaries, the De Noir family, she's pleasantly surprised to find some unlikely characters coming to her aid. With the many magical creatures lurking throughout the castle, you start to wonder whether the castle itself might be magical: walls change form, trap doors appear, and white horses turn into unicorns.

The delightful film, directed by Gábor Csupó (Bridge to Terabithia), will appeal to tweens with an appreciation for magic and fantasy.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the battle between the Merryweathers and the De Noirs. Is their disagreement only about a string of pearls? What do you think the pearls represent? How does your family handle disagreements?

  • When looking at the role that men and women play in this film, what differences do you notice? Do males or females seem to be more villainous than the others? Does the film perpetuate any stereotypes?

  • Do you think that father De Noir lacks sincerity in the end, or does he truly learn a lesson? And who do you think is most responsible for Maria's kind-hearted nature?

Movie details

Themes & Topics

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For kids who love fantasy

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