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The Shamer's Daughter (La Figlia Della Sciamana)

Movie review by
Danny Brogan, Common Sense Media
The Shamer's Daughter (La Figlia Della Sciamana) Movie Poster Image
Danish medieval fantasy has gory violence, dragons, magic.
  • NR
  • 2016
  • 96 minutes

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

Positive Messages

Themes of acceptance, courage, perseverance, and teamwork are prominent. Characters must overcome many hurdles to succeed. An overall theme is characters facing up to their mistakes. Iffy message about revenge.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Dina is a strong, brave character who learns to accept who she is and recognize how she can help others. The development of Nicodemus from disappointment to hero is inspiring, although some of his views are problematic -- such as those on revenge.

Violence

Sword and knife fights, resulting in deaths. Character holds a bloody knife after being accused of murdering his father, pregnant stepmother, and brother, whose blood is seen on the floor and a sheet. Violence toward younger characters at the hands of adults, including a child being strangled. Two children fight after one taunts the other. Characters are stabbed in the neck and back with knives, swords, and spears. A dragon bites a character on the arm, resulting in a bloody wound. Two characters must escape a burning house. Water forced down a character's throat. Dragon is killed by having a sword driven into its head; much blood. One character cuts a dragon in order to drink its blood. A mother is set to be executed by being fed to dragons. Mass fight at the end of the movie involves several deaths.

Sex

Kissing. Two characters are seen in the bath together, seemingly naked. Bare-chested man.

Language

Use of the words "bastard," "bloody," and "whore."

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Adults drink wine. One character is seen drunkenly dancing on a table and acting aggressively. He shows remorse for his behavior.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Shamer's Daughter (La Figlia Della Sciamana) is a Danish fantasy movie (with English subtitles) that's based on a series of young adult books by Lene Kaaberbøl. It's set in a mythical medieval world where sword and knife fights are commonplace, resulting in bloody deaths. Violence is pervasive overall: The movie begins with a murdered family, and although viewers don’t see the act or their bodies, the aftermath is shown -- including a man lying passed out holding a bloody knife. The main character, Dina (Rebecca Emilie Sattrup), is at the heart of the action; fighting, being strangled, getting attacked by a dragon, and having to escape a burning house. Dina learns of the imminent execution of her mother, which may upset younger viewers. There's a mass sword and spear brawl, that leads to many deaths. Adults drink wine regularly. There's kissing, and two characters appear to be naked in a bath together. Language is rare, although there's some use of the words "bastard," "bloody," and "whore." The Shamer's Daughter is the first in a series of movies.

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What's the story?

THE SHAMER'S DAUGHTER is set in the medieval Kingdom of Dunark, where Dina (Rebecca Emilie Sattrup), the daughter of a shamer, has inherited her mother's ability to look into people's souls and make them feel ashamed of all their wrongdoings. When Dunark's lord, pregnant wife, and son are brutally murdered, the prime suspect is the only surviving son/heir to the throne, Nicodemus (Jakob Oftebro). Dina is summoned by Drakan (Peter Plaugborg) to make Nicodemus confess using her supernatural powers. But what she discovers results in her need to escape the evil clutches of people who will do anything to take control of the kingdom. When Dina learns that her mother is to be executed by being fed to dragons, she must return in an effort to rescue her -- and ensure that the rightful heir is restored to the throne.

Is it any good?

This Danish movie is a great introduction to the medieval-fantasy genre. Comparisons can be made to Game of Thrones, with dragons, sword fights, and backstabbing (both literally and figuratively) aplenty, although The Shamer's Daughter is targeted to a much younger audience. Violence is both frequent and graphic, so sensitive viewers may find some of the bloodier scenes too much. Still, in Dina, we have a strong female lead who, in learning how to use her "gift" (the ability to see into people's souls), also learns to accept herself.

For more seasoned fans of the genre, The Shamer's Daughter may feel predictable. But the story (taken from the first of a series of young adult Danish books by Lene Kaaberbøl) has enough action, sprinkled with the odd comedic moment, to make this fantasy adventure worth a watch.

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