From recent theatrical releases, such as Into the Woods, to required reading lists for students, fairy tales are prominent contributors to popular culture and academia. Some parents may contemplate the lessons taught by fairy tales, while others fear the films may be too scary for their youngsters. We are sharing the Best Fairy Tale Movies series with the intention of addressing both of these considerations as well as broadening the fairy tale genre to include animated classics, live action adventures, and modern interpretations. So, delve into these on-screen stories to experience lessons in love, loss, and life and, perhaps, to find your new favorite film.

Enchanted

Disney’s Enchanted is the perfect mix of live action and traditional animation. The musical/romantic comedy features leading lady Giselle, who challenges the archetypal princesses characteristic of Disney‘s classic films. Giselle’s admirable character traits develop throughout the movie, especially after Queen Narissa, fearing Giselle will ascend to Andalasia’s throne, banishes Giselle to New York City where she must adapt to the hustle and bustle of city life.

Movie details:

Released: November 21, 2007

Director: Kevin Lima

Cast: Amy Adams, Patrick Dempsey, James Marsden, Idina Menzel, Susan Sarandon, Timothy Spall, and featuring Julie Andrews as the narrator

Rating: PG

Run time: 107 minutes

Is Enchanted educational?

While Giselle is introduced as a one dimensional character (literally and figuratively), she evolves into an independent and well-informed woman, strong enough to be considered a valuable role model for boys and girls of all ages. She and the other characters teach worthwhile lessons such as:

  • The importance of being educated and empowered. Robert says of Morgan, “I know she’s shy. I know she doesn’t have very many friends. I just want her to be strong, you know? To be able to face the world for what it is.” Perhaps without realizing it, Giselle takes the lead toward empowering Morgan by first empowering herself.

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Giselle had grown used to her fairy tale home of Andalasia, where she had grown up cheerful and carefree. It is not until she is exiled to New York City that she takes risks and experiences struggles that are accompanied by a range of emotions. In this scene, Giselle experiences a breakthrough with her emotional range, presenting an opportunity to discuss emotions with your younger kids and teens.

  • The importance of sticking to your convictions and being yourself. While Giselle gains a range of emotions, she does not become cynical. She continues to see the best in people and remains optimistic.
  • Feel free to break those stereotypes; Giselle certainly did, by slaying the dragon and saving her prince charming. A feat typically accomplished in fairy tales by prince charming.

Like many of the film reviews on Learning Liftoff, Enchanted‘s educational offerings are what you make of them. Opening up the movie for discussion, allows many opportunities for your family to talk about themes such as gender roles, stereotypes, decision making, and non-nuclear families.

Will my family like Enchanted?

Enchanted‘s PG rating makes it an easy pick for family movie night. Younger viewers will love the animation as well as Giselle’s chipmunk friend, Pip, who follows her to the three dimensional world of New York City. Older viewers can try to catch all of the homages to Disney classics and the whole family can appreciate Disney’s ability to parody the typical  fairy tale paradigm that it has perpetuated since its was founded in 1923.

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