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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
In the words of Bonnie Willoughby: "Friends are important." So is independence and standing up to wrongdoing.
Positive Role Models
Bonnie and Sylvia show tremendous wit and resourcefulness while facing trials and tribulations that would leave most kids their age in tears. Also, the girls are unafraid to speak out against evil and wrongdoing.
Violence & Scariness
A character is crushed to death after falling in between the industrial rollers of a factory laundry. One person throws knives at another. Wolves chase characters throughout the film, pursuing a young girl at one point. A boy falls into a giant laundry tub and appears to be drowned. Some rifleplay. An antagonist catches on fire before being mauled to death by wolves.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Two girls spy on a couple as the man puts his hands on the woman's clothed rear end.
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Rare language includes "hell" and "damn you."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Characters drink wine. One adult is shown intoxicated, sloppily tossing his empty bottles at a basket.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Wolves of Willoughby Chase is filled with enough scary moments to make this for sturdy older kids only. Little girls contend with an evil governess and end up bait for wolves, knives, and are locked in a closet. One character meets a gruesome death between the rollers of a giant industrial washing machine while another is mauled by wolves and then dies in a fire. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
THE WOLVES OF WILLOUGHBY CHASE has enough disturbing gothic imagery to provide younger children with plenty of material for nightmares. A pack of wolves runs around the countryside trying to maul every human they see, and there are bleak and brutal scenes of an orphan work house straight out of darkest Dickens, to say nothing of rats, intense chase scenes, and cartoonishly evil bad ladies and men. Which isn't to say that this is a bad movie, but it does go out of its way to exaggerate the suspense and general air of bleakness hanging over 19th century England.
Overall, the acting is very good, especially compared to most children's movies. Stephanie Beacham gives the odious Miss Slighcarp the over-the-top performance the character requires, and Mel Smith is comically bumbling as her foolish sidekick Grimshaw. Once the action gets going, the adventures and misadventures draw you in, and even as you're not exactly sure why there are so many wolves running around the lavish estate, the wolves do at least ratchet up the tension.
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.