Damsel parents guide

Damsel Parent Guide

The film is occasionally clumsy but overall it provides an exciting, absorbing trip into a fantasy world.

Overall B-

Netflix: A young princess is sent to a neighboring kingdom to wed a handsome prince, but soon learns that she is to be a sacrifice to appease a bloodthirsty dragon. With no one to save her, the princess must use all of her wits and strength if she is to survive.

Release date March 8, 2024

Violence C
Sexual Content A
Profanity A-
Substance Use A

Why is Damsel rated PG-13? The MPAA rated Damsel PG-13 for sequences of strong creature violence, action, and bloody images.

Run Time: 85 minutes

Parent Movie Review

With her frozen northern realm on the verge of famine, Elodie (Millie Bobby Brown) does not argue when her father agrees to marry her off to Prince Henry (Nick Robinson) of Aurea. The bride price contains more gold than Lord Bayford (Ray Winstone) can imagine and will save his people from cold and starvation.

When Elodie’s family arrives in the lush island kingdom of Aurea, Elodie slowly warms to the idea of marrying Prince Henry. But as Lord Bayford learns the details of the marriage contract, he must weigh his duty to his people with his love for his daughter. For Elodie will never be queen: she is destined to be sacrificed to a fire-breathing dragon (voiced by Shohreh Aghdashloo) consumed by a centuries-long hatred for the Aurean royal house. What no one, not Aurea’s chilly Queen Isabelle (Robin Wright) nor the dragon herself have counted on is Elodie’s courage, grit, and northern hardihood. This is no fainting damsel to be rescued by a prince – this young woman will find a way to save herself.

Fans of the YA fantasy genre will find plenty of familiar material here. Pure-hearted princess? Check. Cruel beautiful queen? Check. Self-sacrificial love? Check. Fire-breathing dragon? Check. Happy ending? Check. The genre tropes are all on display – the only question that remains is how well they are used.

The answer is, moderately. Aside from some occasionally clumsy digital effects, the movie looks great, with several very good sets and truly meticulous wardrobes. The scene where Elodie is dressed for her wedding is particularly haunting, with excellent detail given to her elaborate gown. (I have to quibble, however, about the harsh makeup that Millie Bobby Brown wears in the first half of the film. She looks far more herself after a few rounds with the dragon.) I am also impressed with the casting, particularly the choice of a young actress (Brooke Carter) who looks enough like Ms. Brown to convincingly play her little sister.

The writing is occasionally clumsy and the acting sometimes stiff, but overall Damsel provides an exciting, absorbing trip into a fantasy world. The tale delivers strong messages about courage, persistence, ingenuity, sacrifice, love, and the power of truth. Unfortunately, a plotline that looks like it’s focused on mercy veers off into vengeance, with the unsettling potential for more violence in the future. Ending a reign of terror is one thing: simply redirecting it feels like much less of an achievement.

Given the storyline, it’s no surprise that the movie is afire with violence, particularly scenes where people are pursued and burned to death by the dragon, often with visible burns. There are also frequent scenes of weapons violence and people and creatures are stabbed, sliced, gored, thrown, crushed, and choked, often with bloody injuries, or on-screen deaths. The PG-13 rating should be taken seriously: this film is not a fairytale for little girls. Don’t expect pink ballgowns and unicorns – this is a movie of blood and betrayal; of grit and guts. It might be inspiring for some viewers, but it isn’t pretty.

Directed by Juan Carlos Fresnadillo. Starring Millie Bobby Brown, Ray Winstone, Angela Bassett. Running time: 85 minutes. Theatrical release March 8, 2024. Updated

Watch the trailer for Damsel

Rating & Content Info

Why is Damsel rated PG-13? Damsel is rated PG-13 by the MPAA for sequences of strong creature violence, action, and bloody images.

Violence: There are frequent scenes of fantasy creature violence, including people and animals being burned to death (sometimes with graphic images), tossed, gored, choked, and crushed. A man throws a woman and later a child into a chasm where they encounter a dragon. A man orders the slaughter of infant creatures. There are scenes of combat with bladed weapons. An angry dragon makes fire rain from the sky. A child is abducted and winds up with a broken leg. A woman stabs a creature in the eye and breaks its wing. A ritual involves people slicing their hands and then joining them to mingle their blood.
Sexual Content:   A man and woman kiss after their wedding ceremony.
Profanity: There is a single minor profanity.
Alcohol / Drug Use:   None noted.

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Damsel Parents' Guide

Why do the Aureans sacrifice princesses? Do you think the royal family know the truth of the past or do you think they are following traditions that have been passed down to them? How do you think Prince Henry justifies his behavior to himself? Have you ever tried to rationalize something you know is wrong but you are being pressured into doing? How do you remain true to your ethical convictions?

Loved this movie? Try these books…

This film is based on the novel Damsel written by Evelyn Skye.

Dragon Slippers is the tale of Creel, an intrepid 15-year-old whose aunt wants to sacrifice her to the local dragon in the hopes of attracting the attention of a marriageable knight. Creel has other plans, and winds up befriending the dragon and changing the fate of the entire kingdom. Jessica Day George’s highly entertaining novel is followed by Dragon Flight and Dragon Spear.

If you want more humor in your dragon stories, check out Patricia C. Wrede’s Dealing with Dragons in which a rebellious princess chooses to run away from the castle and live with a dragon. More adventures in the Enchanted Forest can be found in Searching for Dragons, Calling on Dragons, and Talking to Dragons.

In Seraphina, the titular heroine receives an unpleasant shock when scales start growing on her skin. In Rachel Hartman’s debut novel, Seraphina must cope with the truth of her heritage in order to save the kingdom.

Christopher Paolini’s Eragon features a young man who learns he’s the last of the dragon riders, and he’s going to have to work with his young dragon to defeat an evil king. This book is succeeded by Eldest, Brisingr, and Inheritance.

For a classic tale, you can always return to J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit and the immortal battle of wits between Bilbo Baggins and Smaug the dragon.

Home Video

Related home video titles:

The woman-sacrificed-to-a-terrifying-creature trope is also key to King Kong.

Gritty princess stories can be found in Ever After, Snow White and the Huntsman, and Mirror, Mirror.

For more family-friendly animated dragon tales, you can try How to Train Your Dragon. A girl goes on a quest to find a magical dragon that can save her shattered kingdom in Raya and the Last Dragon.

Princesses from a Northern kingdom are at the heart of Frozen and Frozen 2. The first film features a handsome prince who is anything but. The sequel requires the princesses to face their kingdom’s lies about its past if they are going to save their people.

A princess refuses to marry as her father wishes and winds up using her martial prowess to save her mother in Brave.

Millie Bobby Brown plays another spunky heroine in two Victorian mystery flicks: Enola Holmes and Enola Holmes 2.