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Gretel & Hansel | 2020 | PG-13 | – 2.5.1

content-ratingsWhy is “Gretel & Hansel” rated PG-13? The MPAA rating has been assigned for “disturbing images/thematic content, and brief drug material.” The evaluation includes a discussion of virginity between an older man and a teen girl, allusions to sexual servitude, and a cleavage revealing dress; a man is shot in the head with an arrow with a little blood on the wound, the death of a horse presumably caused by a child, the death of a man presumably caused by a child, several scenes of sorcery with the implied death of children, implications of dead children being eaten by others, discussions of mothers killing their children, and children being left to survive on their own; two children eat mushrooms that cause them to hallucinate, and a woman makes potions out of herbs; and some name-calling and sexual references. Read our parents’ guide below for details on sexual content, violence & strong language.”

When a teenage girl (Sophia Lillis) and her young brother (Samuel Leakey) are left to their own devices, they wander through an eerie forest until they stumble upon a place that offers shelter and all the food they could ever need, with a seemingly generous host (Alice Krige) eager for guests. The longer they stay, the more convinced they become that something evil lurks within. Also with Jessica De Gouw, Charles Babalola, Ian Kenny, Abdul Alshareef, Manuel Pombo and Beatrix Perkins. Directed by Oz Perkins. [Running Time: 1:27]

Gretel & Hansel SEX/NUDITY 2

 – A teen girl puts on makeup before meeting a man to interview for a housekeeping job; the man quizzes her about whether or not she is a virgin and she becomes increasingly uncomfortable (she leaves and does not go back). A man tells a teen girl, “Men of the world would find another use for you” (implying sexual servitude). A boy asks a teen girl how babies come and she changes the subject.
 A teen girl sits in a tub of milky water (we only see her bare shoulders and knees). A young boy holds up the queen piece of a chess set and says, “It’s naked,” and we see the outline of breasts and abdomen without details. A woman wears a low-cut dress that reveals cleavage and several tattoos.

Gretel & Hansel VIOLENCE/GORE 5

 – A teen girl and her young brother go inside a seemingly empty house and lie on a mattress to sleep until a man sits up from the shadows and yells something unintelligible; the man then chases them outside, tackles the boy and the girl hits him in the face (it appears that she knocks one of his eyes out), and he is then shot in the head with an arrow from behind (we see a bloody spot on his forehead). A young girl stands near a man working with metal at a forge and he pushes a glowing hot piece of metal into his mouth; we do not see his death (it is implied that the child killed the man). A young girl stands near a horse and we hear a crack and the horse falls dead to the ground (it is implied that the child killed the horse).
 A teen girl is strapped to a large table as her young brother walks across the room toward large flames and climbs a ladder propped over them toward a cage perched above them; the girl calls to him to try to make him stop, he continues up the ladder, she causes a stick to pin another woman against the wall above the flames, and the woman is engulfed in flames, and she writhes and screams until the stick is pressed hard against her neck and we hear a crunch (presumably breaking her neck); she falls in a clump into the flames and the boy is freed from her control. A woman pours a large bucket of what looks like organs and intestines covered with blood onto a large table and then pulls a severed arm out of a barrel and adds it to the pile and she waves her arms in the air and turns the pile into food with a lot of slurping and squishing. We see a woman covered in black (no facial features are seen) and with hands with long pointed nails gesturing over a child held in her arms, as she “draws out an illness”; we see a pulsating tube of black slime coming out of the child. A teen girl has a nightmare and she follows a young girl through a house and down a set of stairs into a large open room where a large table holds several dead bodies covered with a cloth (we see discolored feet and the fabric becomes soaked with blood). A nightmare shows a teen girl standing in front of a mirror, and we see many children in the reflection; one young boy pounds on the glass, the teen touches a girl’s shoulder from the back and the girl’s head falls off (there’s no blood).
 We see a dark forest with a hole in the ground and several children walk toward it and down into the ground and out of sight (it is implied that they are killed). A teen girl and her young brother walk through dark woods and we see silhouettes of people standing among the trees; a large bird squawks and flies near them. A teen girl searches through a dark house and finds a doorknob that she turns and it opens a small door through a dark passage. A young boy swings an axe at trees and it sticks into the bark of one tree; he is unable to free it. A young boy chops down a small tree with an axe. A teen girl sees toys and dolls among the rocks on a riverbank. A young boy finds a bank of trees with shoes hanging from the branches. A young boy finds a 5-pointed star scratched onto the trunk of a tree. A young boy hears a voice telling him to sharpen a saw for the bones of the dead; we see the boy sharpening the blade while holding it on his lap. A woman slathers goop on her hands and it seems to allow her to control a stick and make it move without touching it; a teen girl does the same making the stick stand upright without touching it. A teen girl touches a tree trunk and when she walks away; its heavy limbs creak and lean toward her.
 A teen girl finds a room and a set of stairs that she follows into a large room where she finds her missing brother standing in a corner; thick liquid pours from a pipe nearby and a woman stands up from the formed puddle. A teen girl grabs her young brother by the shirt collar and leads him outside in the dark, leaving him alone and she can’t find him later. A teen girl and a younger boy approach a house with fires burning outside on the grounds; they knock on the door and look in a window, the boy climbs through a window and inside, takes food from the table and puts some in his pocket and the girl panics when she sees someone inside wrap him with a cape; a woman comes out of the house with the boy unharmed. A young boy helps a woman sharpen an axe blade on a sharpening wheel.
 A woman tells her daughter that her father is dead and that she and her young brother must leave; the woman later swings an axe down hard on a table, startling the girl, and yells at her to leave, stating, “I will hack you up.” A woman threatens to turn a teen girl’s tongue into a flower and make her brother delicious. A woman says, “I ate my children” and we see the chimney of a house spewing red smoke. A teen girl has several nightmares of a sorceress and a young girl and she hears voices sometimes saying, “My mother killed me, she ate me.” We hear about a child thought to be the most beautiful but that she suffered from an illness that was cured by a sorceress and the child was left with dark powers. A teen girl tells her young brother, “Nothing is given without something being taken away.” A woman talks about her daughter being rotten to her core and as sweet as vinegar; she says, “I hated her” and, “I gave her back to the darkness that created her.” A woman tells her daughter to go to the convent or to start digging graves for her and her brother. A man tells a teen girl to “limit the number of words that come out of your mouth.” There are several discussions about pestilence and suffering. A teen girl asks herself what would have happened if she had slapped a man asking her uncomfortable questions. A teen girl and her young brother argue and he accuses her of making trouble. A man tells a teen girl and her young brother that they must follow the path he has laid out for them or they will meet wolves. A teen girl talks about souls being trapped in a place. A woman talks about being young again. A woman says that she’d rather have roaches than guests.
 A woman digs a hole in the ground and vomits into it (we hear retching and splatter and do not see goo), she sits up and wipes her mouth. A teen girl vomits into a chamber pot (we hear her retch but do not see goo. A teen girl and her young brother talk about being hungry and they find mushrooms that they taste (please see the Substance Use category for more details); the boy holds his stomach and runs to the side of a tree at one point (we do not see him vomit, but it is implied that he might have). A teen girl is shown with scabs on her knees. A woman picks at a boy’s hair and says that she is “checking that he doesn’t have louses,” and she pulls out several strands of his hair and places them in a box. A young girl is shown riding in a carriage with a sorceress completely covered in black except for her hands, which have long pointed nails. A teen girl drinks a potion after recoiling from the smell. A teen girl wakes up to find blood on her bedsheets and she washes them in the river (it’s presumably menstrual bleeding). A teen girl imagines blood seeping into a rag that she is holding and she gasps and drops it on the floor. A woman eats a piece of meat and makes loud smacking noises; she reaches into her mouth and pulls out long strands of hair with a bow at the end. A few people are shown with their fingers blackened. Several people snort like pigs in a comical manner.

Gretel & Hansel LANGUAGE 1

 – 2 sexual references, 1 mild obscenity, name-calling (pig, bigger pig, idiot, rude, burden, dumb, filth), exclamations (shut your mouth). | profanity glossary |

Gretel & Hansel SUBSTANCE USE

 – A teen girl and a teen boy find mushroom growing in a forest and when they eat some they behave as if they are under the influence of a hallucinogenic, and a woman presses herbs into potions that a teen girl drinks (a sleeping draught and another to help her feel better when she feels sick).


 – Fairy tales, lessons, suffering, illness, cruelty, sorcery, death of parents, fear, life choices, hatred, vulnerability, immunity, weakness, bravery, fate, superstition, mental illness, mothers eating their children.

Gretel & Hansel MESSAGE

 – What seems too good to be true usually is and you can’t get something without sacrifice. Be brave and trust yourself.


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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