Godmothered Parent Guide
Every job takes some getting used to...some more than others.
Parent Movie Review
Most girls dream of being princesses but Eleanor has loftier goals – she’s training to become a fairy godmother. Eager to excel, she’s front and center in every class, conscientiously internalizing the three essentials of her craft: 1) “A glittery gown turns a frown upside down.” 2) “Find their true love.” 3) “Live Happily Ever After”.
Given her commitment, Eleanor is devastated to discover that fairy godmothers are being reassigned as tooth fairies because humans have lost faith in their magical guardians. Determined to prove that fairy godmothers still have a role to play in the world, Eleanor finds a letter from 10-year-old Mackenzie Walsh, and sets off to fulfill her wishes.
Sadly for Eleanor, there was no date on Mackenzie’s letter, and when Eleanor finds her, she’s an exhausted, overworked single mother who doesn’t believe in happily ever after. In fact, she’s not sure she believes in “happy”. But Eleanor’s naive cheerfulness is infectious and Mackenzie swallows her doubts and allows her to stay, with consequences that neither woman could predict.
Let me say right off the bat that Godmothered isn’t going to win any Academy Awards but that’s not what it’s trying to do. It’s endeavoring to be a funny, heartwarming family movie about the power of optimism, believing in yourself, and bouncing back from life’s reverses. In this, it largely succeeds. The jokes don’t always land; sometimes they fall hard – but there are some genuinely funny moments. My favorite is Eleanor’s conjuring of a raccoon named Gary who helps out around the house. Watching Gary hang Christmas lights might be my favorite scene in the movie – who doesn’t need a home-handy raccoon to do chores? He’s certainly quicker and more obedient than the kids.
The film’s biggest weakness is its tendency to cross the line into sugary predictability. (And its CGI is terrible.) Most viewers will forgive these weaknesses thanks to the movie’s good heart and Jillian Bell’s performance as Eleanor. She deftly projects an aura of innocent goodwill and earnest dedication as she strives to cheer and encourage Mackenzie and her daughters while also trying to figure out how life works in modern Boston. That Eleanor is able to learn and grow is pivotal to the story – she is able to look beyond her own preconceptions and accept other people’s perspectives on what constitutes “happily ever after”.
Perhaps the most compelling aspect of this film is its examination of “being trapped in the fairytale”. Although we laugh at the fairy godmothers’ three principles, all we have to do is look at the Disney princess paradigm to see how consistently those ideas are programmed into our kids. Even adult women struggle with internalized expectations about looking perfect, enjoying ideal relationships, and living a life of endless bliss. Godmothered can provide a real service by opening up discussions between parents and children about their dreams for the future; about what makes them feel fulfilled, motivated, excited, and, yes, happy.Directed by Sharon Maguire. Starring Isla Fisher, Jillian Bell, and Santiago Cabrera. Running time: 110 minutes. Theatrical release December 4, 2020. Updated December 2, 2020
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Rating & Content Info
Why is Godmothered rated PG? Godmothered is rated PG by the MPAA for some suggestive comments
Violence: A character is accidentally knocked over by a runaway saucer toboggan. A character is accidentally hit in the face with a pool ball. A character has an anaphylactic reaction to shellfish and is forcibly injected with an epi-pen despite her protests. Boys throw a snowball at a girl’s face: a magic spell then dumps a pile of snow on top of them.
Sexual Content: A gay couple is seen holding their baby. A man and woman embrace.
Profanity: There is a single term of deity.
Alcohol / Drug Use: Main characters drink beer in large quantities; they might be intoxicated. A main character drinks a martini. A main character is asked if she’s on drugs – she isn’t. Someone mentions drinking too much eggnog.
Page last updated December 2, 2020
Godmothered Parents' Guide
If you had a fairy godmother, what would you wish for? Why? Is there any way you can achieve that goal through your own efforts?
How does our culture socialize us to view success and happiness? What makes you happy? Is that different from people around you?
Psychology Today: Combating Princess Syndrome
Becoming Minimalist: 12 Intentional Actions to Choose Happiness Today
Greater Good: Is There a Happiness Gender Gap?
Loved this movie? Try these books…
The story of Cinderella and her fairy godmother has been retold by countless authors. Kate Stradling’s Soot and Slipper features a mischievous fairy godmother who helps to make things right. Ella Enchanted tells the tale of a young girl who is given a fairy gift of obedience.
Versions for older readers include a darker Cinderella story with a less-than-charming prince by E.L. Tenenbaum in End of Ever After: A Cinderella Retelling. Also for teen readers is Kingdom of Ash and Briars, a fantasy tale that incorporates elements from well known fairytales. The young girl at the heart of the story has unusual gifts and masquerades as a fairy godmother.
Related home video titles:
A fairy godmother sends a young girl off to the ball in Cinderella, best known from Disney’s animated and live action versions. In Cinderella III: A Twist in Time, a fairy godmother’s wand is seized and her powers are used for evil instead of good.
Ella Enchantedfeatures a young girl who is given a fairy gift that feels more like a curse.
What happens if you get in the way of a determined fairy godmother? Nothing good, as everyone’s favorite ogre learns in Shrek 2.