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Into the Woods | 2014 | PG | - 3.4.2

A witch (Meryl Streep) demands that a baker (James Corden) and his wife (Emily Blunt) bring her magical items in order to reverse the curse of childlessness on their family. The couple must confront characters from the Brothers Grimm fairy tales such as the Wolf (Johnny Depp), Cinderella (Anna Kendrick), Prince Charming (Chris Pine) and others. Also with Christine Baranski, Tracey Ullman, Lilla Crawford, Mackenzie Mauzy and Daniel Huttlestone. Directed by Rob Marshall. [2:04]

SEX/NUDITY 3 - A married woman encounters a married prince in the woods and he begins to woo her, asks to kiss her, embraces her, kisses her hands, dips her back to kiss her, and finally kisses her lips several times before riding away on his horse; she laughingly says it is nice to have a husband for always and "a prince for whenever." A husband and his wife kiss briefly.
 A man with wolf ears and tail menaces a 13-year-old girl in with double entendres (he sings that her "...flesh is so pink and plump" and "scrumptious looking") and speaks to her with wide eyes and a leering smile close to her face while twirling his moustache (please see the Violence/Gore category for more details).
 A 12-year-old boy milks a cow that he calls "he" in four scenes and we see the udder and teats, with milk spurting in one scene; his mother tells him about cows, "Only shes give milk!" and only the back of his head is toward the camera so we cannot see his face, but she looks at him in disgust and cuffs his head (please see the Violence/Gore category for more details) without injury. A woman clutches her bosom during an earthquake to prevent it from shaking.
 We hear that a woman is barren because a witch placed a curse on her family and that the witch's mother placed a curse of ugliness on her; the witch appears, looks at the barren woman and states, "There's nothing cooking in that belly." A woman's abdomen under a long dress swells quickly to the 9-month-pregnancy size and later, she and her husband hold a small infant.
 A few women wear long gowns with scooped or deep-V cut necklines that reveal the throat, upper chest and some cleavage. Two women reveal significant cleavage and one older woman pulls her neckline down slightly and shimmies to expose a bit more cleavage while riding in a carriage to a party. One woman wears a short black skirt that hits mid-thigh with stockings and high heels.
 After marrying a prince, a woman leaves him because he is unfaithful with another woman; he says, "I was raised to be charming, not sincere."


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VIOLENCE/GORE 4 - The film centers on dark fairy tale villains and opposing heroes: we see a haggardly witch, a mean and frivolous stepmother, a slinking wolf in a zoot suit and the stomping feet of two hulking giants, all of which menace humans; many scenes take place in a shadowy wooded area where the trees are black, twisted, thorny-looking and often leafless; loud thunder and flashing lightning occur several times with castles and some other dwellings appearing dimly lit and/or made of dark-gray or black stone.
 A baker's front door blows in with a loud gust of wind and smoke that shakes the theater seats and a witch steps into the store, shouting. A witch appears suddenly on tree limbs, jumps to the ground and disappears in a whirlwind of smoke, a funnel cloud, and swirling leaves in several scenes. A witch jumps from a treetop onto a man and a woman below and disappears mid-air in smoke. A witch tosses beans onto a forest floor and each one causes a small fire that is extinguished by heavy winds. A witch sings and screams, looking and reaching upward into a flashing full moon, with lightning, wind and thunder, and then disappearing into the ground; the camera pans forward to show a lake of bubbling tar. A witch wears a long black gown walks bent over at the shoulders and has dirty, long hair as well as a grimy face and facial warts while her teeth are blackened, broken in places and uneven, and her fingernails are yellow-gray claws; in each of her appearances, we hear thunder and see flashes of lightning.
 We hear growling off-screen before a wolf in a zoot suit accosts a young girl walking through the woods; he sniffs her basket of bakery items like a dog, he stalks around her, leers as he comes close to her face and she rebuffs him several times until she leaves him standing alone and proceeds to her grandmother's house in a tree trunk; the girl says, "Granny could already be dead" and she finds the wolf in her grandmother's bed; the scene cuts to a man entering the tree trunk to find the wolf in bed with a red ribbon hanging from his mouth and the man plunges a dagger into the stomach of the wolf below the frame (we never see the dead wolf) and the camera cuts to outside the tree, where we see the man, the girl and grandmother safe; the girl explains to the audience what happened and the camera cuts to a huge cartoonish skull full of wolf teeth projected onto a sheet hanging in front of a bed, the girl falls down a hole and tunnel all lined with fluffy material and finds her grandmother at the bottom where a light appears through a slit, the man outside looks inside and the camera cuts back to the trio outside the tree.
 A boy climbs down a beanstalk, while a giant above him shouts, "I'll grind your bones!" and the boy chops at the stalk with an axe; the camera cuts to a house that we see shake as we hear a loud boom like an earthquake as we see a huge boot and the ankle of the giant lying on the ground and we hear that he is dead. We hear loud booms as a giantess stomps through woods accosting several humans who shout at her to stop hunting a boy; she shouts and turns around, stomping away with thunderous sounds. A boy and a man in tall trees use slingshots to hit a giantess in the head with rocks and then a magic bean between the eyes; blackbirds swarm around her, creating confusion and she steps into a tar pit where she grabs a tree limb and falls forward, then backwards, to the ground with the broken tree; the camera pans away and we hear that she is dead and see that the man and boy are unharmed, even though tree branches buried the man temporarily.
 A witch receives a baby girl in exchange for her ruined garden which was the fault of the infant's father; the witch locks the infant into a tower without stairs or doors and she grows where she grows into a beautiful woman with long yellow hair and the witch and the woman argue and the woman cries.
 A woman runs and falls in the woods as she pulls on a yards-long golden hair braid and it cuts away from the owner's head via a metal outcropping; the running woman hears loud earthquake sounds and falls off-screen; we later hear that she died at the bottom of a cliff, but we do not see this. A woman's golden shoes become stuck in black pitch on a stone staircase until she pulls her feet out to escape; a man loosens one of the shoes and tries it on all the women in a village and one woman uses a large knife (below the frame) to cut off the toe of one of her daughters and one heel of the other as both scream; the shoe fits then, but an aide shows the prince a drop of blood on his glove and the second daughter faints and falls unconscious before a witch causes both daughters to become blind and they wear dark eyeglasses and carry white canes from there forward.
 A woman shouts at a giantess to stop hunting her son and a man knocks her down, where she lies on the ground and closes her eyes (we later hear that she died). After a series of earthquakes caused by a giant's footsteps, we hear that a grandmother went missing and is likely dead. We hear that entire villages were destroyed and we see a castle tower crumble without harming anyone.
 A woman strikes her adult stepdaughter in the face with a loud slap in close-up, making her fall to the stone floor of their cottage (no marks or injuries show) and the older woman dumps a pot of lentils into the hearth and orders the younger woman to pick them all up; she belittles the younger woman as being ugly and poor. A woman cuffs her son in three scenes, pinches his cheek and pulls his ear in a third scene. A woman runs through the woods at night and falls twice, once tumbling down a short hill (she is unhurt).
 A witch throws electricity bolts from her fingers to produce brambles that a man falls into when his horse throws him off-screen. A man wears a white blindfold and says he is blind. A woman walks through a creek filled with snakes but is unharmed. A woman embraces a man in close-up and we see scratches on his face, which heal as her tears fall on them.
 A man in a forest attempts to steal a little girl's cloak, but she hangs on and screams loudly; he pulls it away and runs as she screams extremely loudly for several seconds. A woman screams loudly for several seconds when she finds a giant beanstalk in her yard. A girl pulls a knife on a boy who rushes up to her suddenly, but puts it away. A prince pulls a sword from a sheath on his horse, but does not use it. Three women scream when a man jumps into their carriage. A man and a woman argue about who should be doing what. A man, a woman, a boy and a girl shout at, sing and accuse one another of making mistakes that killed others and of making foolish mistakes of other sorts; a witch appears in the crook of a tree during one argument and shouts, "Whoooo cares!?" then berates the group for blame-placing instead of problem solving. A man argues with his elderly father in the woods and stomps away where he sits on a stump and cries. A man's dead wife (a ghost, but does not look like a ghost) sits beside him and tells him he is not alone, and then walks away. A girl asks a woman whether it is right to kill a giant and the woman says that she must decide for herself. A boy threatens to kill a man for killing his mother, but another man talks him out of it.
 In close-up, a horse rears at a woman who has fallen, but no harm occurs. A woman kneels at the grave of her mother under a huge oak tree that we hear was watered by her tears; the ghost of her mother appears in the branches, moves her hand to make leaves swirl around to create a golden dress for the younger woman; the tree breaks in half after a giant stomps loudly through the area in a later scene.
 A cow falls with its back to the camera, but we see no injuries; we later hear that the cow died.
 A boy milks a cow in four scenes; we see the udders with milk spurting in one scene and in another scene we see the cow give magic milk, which a witch drinks. A woman can talk to and understand birds; other people look at her askance, as if she is odd.


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LANGUAGE 2 - 1 anatomical term ("breast" in lyrics about a giant: ‘She drew my head to her giant breast'), name-calling (liar, Mr. Liar, thief, thieves, peasant, peon, drunk, dim-witted, scullery maid, fool, fools, foolish, mad [crazy], bully, clodhopper), stereotypical references to royalty, snobs, the rich, the poor, single parents, bad parents, orphans, men, women, villains, heroes, people who are different, 2 religious exclamations (Oh My God! Oh My...!).


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SUBSTANCE USE - Three women call a man "drunk" for jumping into their carriage (he was not drinking).


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DISCUSSION TOPICS - Frightening stories, magic, ghosts, spells and curses, danger, problem solving, overprotective parents, raising children, bullying, loss, regret, loneliness, responsibility, wishes and their consequences, marriage, families, infidelity.

MESSAGE - When dreams come true, the result is not always what we really want.

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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