Erica Wig – called Earwig –is a young girl growing up in an English country orphanage after being abandoned by her mother, a glamourous red-haired woman with magical witch-like powers.
One day, much to her horror, Earwig is adopted by a strange, scary and mean-looking couple, who take Earwig from the orphanage to be a servant in their house. Earwig soon discovers that she has been adopted by a witch and her role is to cook, clean and help with the spells and potions. The witch’s husband, the Mandrake, is a tall, hulking creature, who transforms into a menacing monster when he’s bothered or annoyed.
Always optimistic, Earwig decides that she’ll get the better of the couple and escape, but despite her best efforts the magical house keeps her trapped inside. With the help of Thomas, the black witch’s cat, Earwig learns enough magic to protect herself and cause some mischief.
Orphans; magic; supernatural; horror; music
Earwig and the Witch has some violence. For example:
- Earwig flicks her friend, Custard, hard in the face.
- Earwig grabs a man’s belly roughly and pinches it, telling him that he should go on a diet.
- Earwig grabs the cat’s head roughly, holding it by the ears and shouting at it.
- The witch uses magic to make a broom push Earwig out of the room. The broom roughly shoves Earwig against a bed post, where she hits her head.
- One woman slaps another woman in the face.
Earwig and the Witch has one mild romantic scene. In this scene, Earwig’s mother kisses a man as they drive along in a car.
Alcohol, drugs and other substances
Earwig and the Witch shows some use of substances in this movie. For example, it shows adults drinking wine.
Nudity and sexual activity
There is no nudity and sexual activity in Earwig and the Witch.
The following products are displayed or used in Earwig and the Witch: Sky Sports is shown on a banner hanging from a building.
Earwig and the Witch has some mild coarse language and insults in, including ‘idiot’, ‘stupid’ and ‘scaredy-cat’.
Ideas to discuss with your children
Earwig and the Witch is Studio Ghibli’s first foray into CGI, and it lacks the charm and warmth of the studio’s earlier hand-drawn animations. It’s a surreal and sometimes sinister movie, that might confuse some viewers.
There are some very scary moments for small children and the main plot about an orphan being adopted and held captive in a house to work as a slave is quite disturbing. But older children might enjoy the more imaginative elements of this movie, as well as its quirky characters.
These are the main messages from Earwig and the Witch:
- Sometimes solutions to our problems are unexpected and take us by surprise.
- Affection can warm even the coldest hearts.
Values in Earwig and the Witch that you could reinforce with your children include optimism, bravery and tenacity.
You could also talk with your children about whether Earwig’s situation seems realistic. That is, she’s kept in a house against her wishes and can’t escape. She’s also forced to do housework and work for the couple. But Earwig remains cheerful and brave and seems unbothered by her situation.