By Australian Council on Children and the Media
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Still image from Mary and the Witch's Flower (c) M.F.P.
© 2017 M.F.P.
 
This movie at a glance Move mouse over icons to see their meaning
Rating
  • Parental guidance recommended
Recommendations
  • Not recommended for children under 8
  • Parental guidance for children under 10
  • Suitable for children over 10
Warnings
  • Contains frightening scenes
  • Contains violence and scary scenes
Genre Animation, Adventure, Family
Length 103 minutes
Release Date 11/01/2018

Story

In Mary and the Witch’s Flower, Mary (voiced by Ruby Barnhill) has just moved in with her Great-Aunt Charlotte (Lynda Baron) in the English countryside. Mary is nervous about starting school and making friends.

One day, after being teased by a local boy named Peter (Louis Ashbourne Serkis), Mary escapes to the woods and stumbles across a beautiful glowing flower and an old broomstick. These items transport Mary to the magical school, Endor College, run by Madam Mumblechook (Kate Winslet) and Doctor Dee (Jim Broadbent).

When Mary discovers a horrible secret, she must be brave to save herself and Peter.

Here we outline any topics, issues and ideas in this movie that might upset children and adolescents, so that you can gauge whether it is appropriate for your child. For example, children and adolescents may react adversely to themes of crime, suicide, drug and alcohol dependence, death, serious illness, family breakdown, separation from a parent, animal cruelty or distress, children as victims, natural disasters and racism.

Magic/fantasy; separation from family; kidnapping; children in danger; cruelty to animals

Here we identify any violence in this movie, and explain how and why it might impact on your child or adolescent. In general, movie violence can make children less sensitive to the use of violence in real life. Alternatively, they may become fearful about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world. In some contexts, it can also teach them to see violence as an acceptable means of conflict resolution.

Mary and the Witch’s Flower has some violence. For example:

  • Doctor and Madam kidnap Mary and Peter, and lock them in their dungeon. They render them unconscious with some magic gas. It’s implied that Doctor and Madam plan to magically transform the children into something else. At the end of the movie, they try to transform Peter into a magical being.
  • Doctor and Madam conduct experiments on helpless animals, trying to transform them into magical creatures. The results of failed experiments (animals who are deformed) are locked in cages in the dungeon.
  • It’s implied that a previous student was killed as a result of Doctor and Madam’s experiments.
  • Doctor and Madam have magical creatures that chase Mary and Peter, and try to attack or capture them. Some of these creatures look like robots and others like large magical birds.

Content that may disturb children

Under 5
In addition to the violent scenes mentioned above, Mary and the Witch’s Flower has some scenes that could scare or disturb children under five years. For example:

  • The movie opens with a girl escaping buildings that are on fire. There are explosions everywhere. The girl almost falls off a cliff, and some scary creatures chase her.
  • There is a big storm with thunder and lightning. Mary’s broomstick flies right into it.
  • The teachers at Endor College (Madam Mumblechook and Doctor Dee) might scare younger children. Doctor Dee is partly mechanical and has a robotic arm. Madam Mumblechook first appears as a large overbearing water-being who scares Mary.
  • The scene where students make themselves invisible might be scary for some children. The students wear creepy masks and long robes. When Mary tries to make herself invisible, she creates a large explosion that throws some students across the room.
  • Throughout the movie, broomsticks lose their power and fall from the sky. Mary and another girl fall from a great height. Mary hurts herself a little and cries.
  • Some of the transformed animals in the dungeon might be scary for young children. When the animals are transformed back into themselves, they try to stampede out and almost crush Mary and Peter.
  • The final scenes where Doctor and Madam are trying to transform Peter might be scary. Peter is locked into a tube, and magic liquid flows over him. There are lots of explosions, the lab starts burning down, and a huge magical beast engulfs Peter.

From 5-8
Children in this age group might be disturbed or scared by the scenes mentioned above.

From 8-13
Some children in this age group might be scared by the scenes mentioned above.

Over 13
Nothing of concern

Sexual references

Nothing of concern

Alcohol, drugs and other substances

Nothing of concern

Nudity and sexual activity

Nothing of concern

Product placement

None found

Coarse language

Nothing of concern

Ideas to discuss with your children

Mary and the Witch’s Flower is a beautiful Japanese animated movie by Studio Ponoc (founded by former Studio Ghibli animators). Based on Mary Stewart’s 1971 classic children’s book The Little Broomstick, the movie is a magical adventure starring a lovable and brave young girl.

Mary and the Witch’s Flower is sure to appeal to both parents and children. But because it has some scary and violent scenes, the movie isn’t recommended for children under 8 years, and we recommend parental guidance for children aged 8-10 years.

Values in this movie that you could reinforce with your children include kindness, bravery and willingness to help others.

This movie could also give you the chance to talk with your children about the real-world consequences of lying. For example, you could talk about what happens when Mary lies about being a witch and lies about Peter.

 
 
 
 
  • Last Reviewed 2018-01-29