Red Shoes and the Seven Dwarfs Parent Guide
This is a fractured fairy tale where the writing is clever, the story is original and the world is familiar.
Parent Movie Review
The Fearless Seven are a group of heroic princes who travel across a magical kingdom rescuing princesses, until one day they get on the bad side of a fairy princess who curses them by turning them into green dwarves. The only way to get back to their normal selves is to be kissed by a beautiful princess. At the same time, Princess Snow White (Chloë Grace Moretz) is searching for her missing father when she comes across a magical pair of shoes. When she puts them on, her appearance changes to make her more conventionally “beautiful”. These shoes belong to Snow’s evil stepmother, Regina (Gina Gershon), who will stop at nothing to get them back. Snow, now going by the name Red Shoes, enlists the help of the Fearless Seven, who see her as a means to breaking their curse. Together they set out to defeat Regina and find the missing king, while hopefully breaking the curse along the way.
Red Shoes and the Seven Dwarves is a fractured fairy tale, much in the same style as Shrek or Hoodwinked. The writing is clever, the story is original, but the world is familiar. The movie doesn’t waste time on worldbuilding, and it doesn’t need to. The writers chose instead to focus on the characters. Each of the seven princes are given distinct personalities and flaws, and we come to care about each of them as they learn and grow. Snow White is a strong, confident woman who can hold her own against the men, but who also has some personal growing to do. The jokes are well-written, and even adults will find themselves laughing. Prince Average (Jim Rash) and the Magic Mirror (Patrick Warburton) are particularly hilarious, as well as perfectly cast.
As far as the message of the film goes, it takes a little while to get where it’s trying to go. For about the first half of the runtime, the body-acceptance message can feel a bit muddled, and at some points almost contradictory. Red Shoes is seen as beautiful because she is tall and slender with big eyes and lips. While wearing the shoes, she notices how people treat her differently. When she is in her magically transformed body, people are kind and helpful, even going out of their way to give her free things. When she takes off the shoes, she is short and plump. As her real self, she is ignored at best, and bullied at worst. Although she enjoys the special treatment being “beautiful” gets her, she also expresses not feeling like her true self in this new body and missing the strength she had that her frail frame now lacks. The commentary here really is how the world treats people differently based on their outward appearances. Snow and Prince Merlin (Sam Claflin) both have to learn in their own ways to love themselves and to love a person’s true self, not their looks. I think that for children, this is a heart-warming story about self-acceptance and that appearances don’t matter. Is it perfect? No. One could quibble about some of the finer details of the messages in the film, absolutely. But on a surface level, which is really what kids are going to take away from it anyway, I think Red Shoes is a great starting point for discussions about conventional beauty, self-acceptance, and loving people for who they are.
Lacking much objectionable content, I feel I can whole-heartedly recommend this movie. I really enjoyed it and I laughed a lot. Kids will enjoy the magic and the silliness, while adults will appreciate some clever jokes and an original story. This is also a perfect jumping off point for important discussions about appearance and self-worth.Directed by Sung-ho Hong. Starring Chloë Grace Moretz, Sam Claflin, and Gina Gershon. Running time: 92 minutes. Theatrical release September 18, 2020. Updated October 29, 2020
Watch the trailer for Red Shoes and the Seven Dwarfs
Red Shoes and the Seven Dwarfs
Rating & Content Info
Why is Red Shoes and the Seven Dwarfs rated PG? Red Shoes and the Seven Dwarfs is rated PG by the MPAA for some action/peril.
Violence: A dragon breathes fire. Characters are attacked by a sentient tree and also some tree-like monsters. Minor fantasy violence including a slap to the face, fighting with swords and spears, being shot at by a canon, a frying pan is used as a weapon, characters are knocked out by hits and falls, boulders are thrown. A character uses lightning magic throughout.
Sexual Content: Part of the plot revolves around a curse that can only be broken with a kiss, so there are multiple attempted kisses. A man and woman kiss a few different times.
Profanity: One use of a term of deity, a man calls another man a “blockhead”, a man says, “kick it where the sun don’t shine”.
Alcohol / Drug Use: None.
Page last updated October 29, 2020
Red Shoes and the Seven Dwarfs Parents' Guide
How is Snow White treated differently when she is wearing the shoes? Do you see people being treated differently in real life because of how they look? How does Snow White feel about her new body and why does she tell Merlin she doesn’t feel like herself? What does Merlin learn about focusing on appearances?
Loved this movie? Try these books…
Fractured fairy tales are a rich genre to explore. For a good laugh, try out The Three Little Wolves and the Big Bad Pig by Eugene Trivizas. John Scieszka and Lane Smith take another kick at the same story in The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs. Eric A Kimmel’s Little Red Hot features a caped girl who turns the tables on the big bad wolf. Falling for Rapunzel by Leah Wilcox and Lydia Monks will have little ones laughing as the long-tressed maiden repeatedly misunderstands the handsome prince’s requests. And for another twist on Snow White, try Davide Cali’s Snow White and the 77 Dwarfs.
There are also plenty of books to help kids love the skin they’re in. You can start with What I Like about Me by Allia Zobel Nolan and Miki Sakamoto and I Like Myself! By Karen Beaumont and David Catrow. Kids who hate their hair can benefit from I Love My Hair! By Natasha Anastasia Tarpley and E.B. Lewis. I Don’t Want Curly Hair! by Laura Ellen Anderson hits similar themes. Appreciating one’s racial or ethnic heritage is dealt with in Karen Katz’s The Colors of Us and Sulwe by Lupita Nyong’o. Youngsters struggling with their weight will relate to Davide Cali’s titular heroine in Abigail the Whale. Kathy Caple’s Starring Hillary features a character who is desperate to lose weight before auditions for the play she wants to be in.
Parents trying to help their kids develop a positive body image can turn to several sources. Psychologist and journsalist Brenda Lane Richardson and Elane Rehr have written 101 Ways to Help Your Daughter Love Her Body. Good Girls Don’t Get Fat by Robyn Silverman tackles our culture’s dangerous fixation with weight and how parents can help their kids appreciate their own bodies.