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Earwig and the Witch | 2020 | PG | – 1.3.1

content-ratingsWhy is “Earwig and the Witch” rated PG? The MPAA rating has been assigned for “some scary images and rude material.” The Kids-In-Mind.com evaluation includes a near kiss, a child is left at an orphanage, a child is made to work for a witch and we see them concocting spells and potions using some gruesome ingredients, a couple of face and head slaps, many arguments, belittling remarks, name-calling and insults. Read our parents’ guide below for details on sexual content, violence & strong language.


Japanese animated movie based on the novel by Diana Wynne Jones about a resourceful orphan called Earwig, who is adopted by a witch and forced into servitude. The English dubbed version is voiced by Vanessa Marshall, Richard E. Grant, Taylor Henderson, Thomas Bromhead, Alex Cartañá, Pandora Colin, Gaku Hamada and Logan Hannan. Directed by Gorô Miyazaki. Original title: “Âya to majo.” [Running Time: 1:22]

Earwig and the Witch SEX/NUDITY 1

 – A woman sings while standing in a moving car and leans toward a man in the backseat, seeming to nearly kiss him.
 A girl tells two other girls that she submitted a letter for them and that they “Will get a romantic reply soon”; the girls giggle and swoon. A woman wears a one-piece swimsuit that reveals cleavage and legs to the hips.

Earwig and the Witch VIOLENCE/GORE 3

 – A swirling cloud opens in a girl’s room and a pile of wriggling worms falls on the floor; the girl puts the worms through a hole in a wall and it glows red, a giant glowing man with what resembles dragon’s legs and talons steps through the wall yelling about the worms and he walks through another wall leaving the room, threatening a woman, and the girl jumps through a swirling tunnel into another room. A woman rides a motorcycle on a highway, speeding around and between other cars and trucks, while being chased by a car that has what looks like moving tines in place of the grill; the woman conjures glowing tendrils, throws them at the car and they stick to it as the scene changes.
 A woman becomes enraged, her face changes and she slaps a girl hard in the head (the girl is stunned). A woman screams as two arms grow out of her forehead and her hip; the hands pinch her on the nose and on the abdomen as she twists around and yells, and she pushes a girl out of the room with a broomstick, shoving her into a metal bed frame in another room (the girl complains that it hurts). A man’s eyes spark and glow behind glasses and he smolders and changes color when he becomes angry; in one scene he burns holes in a newspaper. A man presses his head through a wall (we see a glowing outline in the wall). A man passes through a door (as if he’s a ghost). Two red spots glow in a wall in a girl’s room and she is alarmed.
 A man and a woman with exaggerated features (long noses, sunken eyes and pointed ears) are introduced to several older children in an orphanage; the man glows and bubbles and seems to stretch very tall while walking behind the woman (one child can see what is happening); they choose a girl and she says she doesn’t want to go but is forced to leave with them, as she says, “I can run away any time I want.”
 A girl enters a dark room piled high with books; we hear movement above her and a book is pushed from a shelf and hits her on the head, and then another book falls on her and she runs away as a pile of books fall toward her. A girl tries to scare a boy by talking about finding a severed head that opens its eyes and mouth and the boy covers his ears and yells. A girl and a younger boy sneak into a tower and climb to the roof, where they watch their friends on the ground playing in a cemetery; the boy is afraid of getting caught and the girl teases him. A girl gently manipulates people around her to do what she wants them to do. A girl teases a man about his girth and pinches his abdomen.
 A girl complains about people interacting with children in an orphanage and says, “Those kids are not dolls.” A girl tells a boy to remember to cross his eyes when people meet him for adoption. A woman tells a girl, “I’m a witch,” and the girl replies, “Great.” A woman tells a girl to never disturb a man and says, “Pray you never find out what happens if he gets angry.” A woman yells at a girl, “More work and less talk.” A woman threatens a girl and a cat that if they don’t do what they are told she will feed them worms. A girl tries to open her window but it is stuck closed. A girl yells at a woman in a few scenes and says, “I am not your slave”; she later complains that the woman works her half to death. A woman tells a girl, “Music is forbidden in this house.” A girl pleads with a man to allow her to go to school to see her best friend. A boy paces outside a house, with thunder and lightning flashing and booming, and he is afraid to go to the door.
 A woman holds an infant and leaves her on the front stoop of an orphanage where the child cries and is attended to by two women; one woman reads a note left with the child and it talks about the child’s mother being chased by twelve witches and that she needs to get rid of them before returning for the child.
 A woman grabs a cat and places it hard onto a workbench and it looks frightened; it jumps down when the woman walks away and hides behind a cauldron. A girl steps into a room with a slime-covered floor and jars of unusual items tipped over on a worktable; a woman orders her to clean up and the girl yelps when she gets slime on her sleeve and a snakeskin wraps around her foot. A girl is told to grind up rat bones and we see a skeleton as she works with a mortar and pestle. A woman tells a girl to go to the garden and get some nettles, thistles and belladonna; we then see the girl swinging a scythe like tool. A woman tells a girl to bring mouse claws, newt eyes and sliced toad; we see the girl slicing part of a dead bat’s wing off, and she scrubs the carcass of a creature. A girl goes into a room and holds her nose saying, “It stinks” and we see goo on the floor (it’s not clear what it is). A girl slices strips of a snakeskin. There’s thunder and lightning as a girl goes outside and a wall of water pours from the roof onto her head. A girl makes a doll to look like a woman and prepares a spell that will make the woman grow two new hands somewhere on her body; we see the girl forming hands out of something that looks like wax and trying to figure out where to put the hands on the doll. A girl pushes a screwdriver through a wall and when she looks through the hole, she sees a man playing a keyboard with bats flitting around him.
 A woman makes spells for people that call her wanting things, like a potion to guarantee that a dog wins a dog show competition, etc. Children wearing sheets to look like ghosts run through a cemetery scaring each other and a man and his dog watch from the street, become frightened and run away screaming and barking.
 A girl smears a potion on a cat and herself (the cat moans and whimpers). A girl says, “Magic smells so awful.” A girl brushes her teeth and spits (we see foam on her lips but do not see her spit).

Earwig and the Witch LANGUAGE 1

 – Name-calling (shameless witch, demon, rubbish, nonsense, scaredy-cat, weirdo, Little Miss Sniffer, useless, nutter, bookworm, idiot, stupid girl, weakling, foolish, hideous, wicked girl, rude, ghastly, cheat, lazybones, lazy creature, boring), exclamations (okay, shut-up, good grief, oh my gosh, oh dear, bother, drat, hey mister, no sweat, get a move on, sourpuss, oh boy, bleugh, yuck, ow, what). | profanity glossary |

Earwig and the Witch SUBSTANCE USE

 – A woman pours and drinks glasses of wine in a couple of scenes.

Earwig and the Witch DISCUSSION TOPICS

 – Witches, orphanages, adoption, foster parents, familiars.

Earwig and the Witch MESSAGE

 – An independent nature can help one get through trying situations.

CAVEATS

Be aware that while we do our best to avoid spoilers it is impossible to disguise all details and some may reveal crucial plot elements.

We've gone through several editorial changes since we started covering films in 1992 and older reviews are not as complete & accurate as recent ones; we plan to revisit and correct older reviews as resources and time permits.

Our ratings and reviews are based on the theatrically-released versions of films; on video there are often Unrated, Special, Director's Cut or Extended versions, (usually accurately labelled but sometimes mislabeled) released that contain additional content, which we did not review.


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