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The Witches | 2020 | PG | – 1.5.3

content-ratingsWhy is “The Witches” rated PG? The MPAA rating has been assigned for “scary images/moments, language and thematic elements.” The Kids-In-Mind.com evaluation includes some cleavage revealing dresses, many scenes of encounters with witches including the witches being shown with unnaturally large mouths with sharp teeth, unnaturally large nostrils, claws for hands, bald and scarred heads and toeless feet, a fatal car crash, several potions are ingested by people that turn into chickens, mice and rats, and some mild language and name-calling. Read our parents’ guide below for details on sexual content, violence & strong language.


Based on Roald Dahl’s 1983 eponymous children’s book: Set in 1960s Alabama, an orphaned boy (Jahzir Kadeen Bruno) moves in with his grandma (Octavia Spencer) and together encounter a coven of evil witches led by the powerful Grand High Witch (Anne Hathaway), who is determined to turn all children into mice or kill them. Also with Kristin Chenoweth, Stanley Tucci, Codie-Lei Eastick, Charles Edwards, Morgana Robinson and the voice of Chris Rock. Directed by Robert Zemeckis. [Running Time: 1:44]

The Witches SEX/NUDITY 1

 – A woman pulls down the bodice of her dress to reveal a metal undergarment (it looks like a corset and we see cleavage) and retrieves a small bottle of potion. A woman wears dresses that reveal deep cleavage in several scenes. A woman wears a dress slit up the side to reveal her bare leg to the upper thigh. A woman bathes her grandson and we see his bare shoulders, chest and knees when he sits in a bathtub. Men and women on a beach are shown wearing swimsuits that reveal cleavage, bare shoulders and backs, men’s chests, abdomens and legs.


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The Witches VIOLENCE/GORE 5

 – Witches are described and shown with scars along the corners of their mouths that open wide displaying many sharp teeth, their hands are claws with sharp nails and usually covered with gloves, their feet seem to have no toes — one witch has a single long toe appendage with a sharp nail — and they are bald and wear wigs that leave their scalps with sores and scars (one witch pulls what looks like a worm off her scalp and eats it).
 A woman’s reflection in a mirror looks like a skull. A woman yells loudly and in a growling voice as the sides of her mouth separate to reveal many pointed teeth and her eyes go dark; she throws a podium across the room splintering it and she floats into the air; another woman asks a question and the first woman throws a blast of glowing light toward her that cause her to disintegrate into ash on the floor. A woman in front of a room-filled with other women tells them to remove their gloves and we see their clawed hands, she tells them to remove their shoes and we see their feet with no toes, and she tells them to remove their wigs and we see their bald heads and many of them have scabs, sores and scars on their scalps. A woman sniffs deeply along a stage floor (we see her nostril expanding unnaturally) and she flings the stage across the room splintering it. A woman entices a boy into a room with a bar of chocolate and as he approaches her he thrashes feverishly, is launched into the air in a cloud of mist and his clothes land empty onto the floor and a small mouse merges; many women try to stomp on the mouse as it skitters through the room and another mouse drags it by the tail to safety. A woman reaches into a vent and pulls a boy out, she and several other women hold the boy down on the floor while pouring drops of a potion into his ear, the child thrashes, and is launched into the air where we see his skin bubble and he blows mist from his ears and mouth as he is changed into a small mouse. A woman extends her arms unnaturally (we hear crunching and stretching sounds) through a vent trying to catch three mice; she gets her hands caught in a spinning vent fan and we see splattering of black dust as she screams (we later see her hands bandaged). A woman’s arms stretch unnaturally toward a woman and the first woman’s toes are caught in mousetraps causing her to scream and a potion is dropped into her mouth turning her into a large rat; she is trapped under a glass ice bucket until a cat tips the bucket over and presumably attacks the rat (off-screen, we hear the cat screech and the rat squeal).
 A woman catches a mouse by the tail and tries to hit it with a mallet, another mouse bites the woman’s hand and she lets the mouse go as she brings the mallet down on her own hand and screams in pain. A maid chases three mice through a hallway swatting at them with a broom; they skitter into a woman’s room and the maid pulls the door closed. A mouse is a lowered in a knitted pouch to a balcony below and retrieves a bottle of potion; as the mouse is lifted back up, a woman from the lower balcony grabs the pouch, until another woman above pulls on it to get her to let go. Many women in a dining room thrash, are thrown into the air and change into rats after eating soup laced with a potion; the rats fall to the floor and skitter around other diners as they run and scream; one rat jumps onto a man’s crotch and the man screams and holds his hand over his crotch, as the rat presumably bites him. A woman throws a headboard across a room in anger and confronts another woman in the room.
 A car is shown overturned and a boy, wearing his seatbelt, is pulled out by an emergency crew as a voiceover explains that his mother and father were killed in the accident (we see e a woman’s lifeless leg, without any blood shown). A woman meets a boy in a store and speaks to him with a gravelly voice and a growl as she holds her hand out to him and a snake slithers along her arm toward him; she tells the boy to kiss the snake and he runs away. A woman describes how a friend of hers was taken by a witch when they were young and we see the child accept candy from the witch and the next day the child turns into a chicken; we see her sprout a beak and claws and she pecks on a counter until she shrinks to the size of a large chicken and struts around on a porch. A woman speaks to a man in hotel and her cat climbs up her back and along her arm toward the man as he explains that they have a strict no pet’s policy. A cat climbs down the outside of a hotel building after perching on a ledge outside a woman’s room. A woman grabs her son by the ear after reprimanding him for being dirty. A woman’s dress has a snake decoration that slithers around her shoulder and its tail moves at the hem of her dress. Many mousetraps are shown set with chunks of cheese. A woman slams the door of a cat carrier and the cat inside hisses and arches its back. A chef yells in a hotel kitchen and a fire bursts from one of the stovetops (it is put out with a tarp). A woman holds a small mouse in her hand and tells a man and a woman that it is their son; the woman screams, the man yells and they storm away.
 A voiceover talks about witches and that they are “real” and that “they are here” and that they “hate children,” with opening credits accompanied by drawings of bats and a child being squashed by a woman’s high-heeled shoe. We see a photo of a school bus driver handing a child a piece of candy with an impression of a skull on it, a teacher holding a graded paper with an “F-” on it and a nurse holding a large hypodermic needle (all represented as being witches). As a woman describes the features of witches, we see glowing outlines of claws and bald heads outlined in rainwater on a window. A room in a woman’s house contains a variety of herbs and crystals that she combines into herbal remedies and potions and a voiceover describes her as even being a “voodoo priestess.”
 A woman threatens to reach inside a woman’s chest and “rip out your shriveled heart until it bursts.” A rat threatens a woman by saying, “I will rip out your tongue.” A woman says, “Squish this horrible child.” A woman says that witches “prey on the poor.” A boy describes his father as being furious. A woman orders a roomful of women to “rub out” children. A woman describes a potion as a “mouse maker potion.” A mouse talks about having been a young girl living in an orphanage when she was changed into a mouse. A woman tells her grandson that “Sometimes life isn’t fair,” and there are many “hard lessons.” A woman tells her grandson that if he uses rusted nails for something he is building that she would have to treat him for “lockjaw.” A convention sign reads that attendees are members of an organization for the prevention of cruelty to children. A reference is made to an architect being a believer in numerology. A woman describes a boy’s behavior as being a “conniption fit.” A woman says that something is going to make her “puke.”
 A woman coughs deeply in several scenes and when she coughs into a handkerchief in one scene, it is implied that she sees blood (we do not).


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The Witches LANGUAGE 3

 – 3 scatological terms (2 mild), 2 mild anatomical terms (sweet patootie), 1 mild obscenities, name-calling (horrible child, tough lady, crazy, lazy, scary lady, ugly, no-good, rotten, traitor, chubby, crazier, high-strung, panhandler, disgusting little brat, pathetic, so-called ladies, low-down, foul, clumsy, sneaky-sneaky witch, lollygagger, pure evil, greedy, pea-brained, parasite, fat, stupid, little man, brats, silly, nasty, feeble, insane, filthy), exclamations (curses, jeez, shut-up, oh my no, crikey, what’s the big idea, quiet, are you mad, well I’ll be), 9 religious exclamations (e.g. Godsend, Good Lord, Lordy, Thank The Lord, Oh My Lord In Heaven, Oh Lord, Lord, For God’s Sake, Jesus). | profanity glossary |


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The Witches SUBSTANCE USE

 – A room in a woman’s house contains a variety of herbs and crystals that she combines into herbal remedies and potions. A woman pulls down the bodice of her dress to retrieve a small bottle of potion. A woman holds a glass of what could be whiskey (she does not drink from it).


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The Witches DISCUSSION TOPICS

 – Death of parents, grief, witches, friendship, magic, potions.

The Witches MESSAGE

 – Never give up on what you are inside.

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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