This movie begins with the young Snow White’s father, the King, marrying Regina (voice of Gina Gershon), a gorgeous woman reputed to be a witch. Snow White is sent away and slowly her father’s subjects begin to disappear.
By the time Snow White (voice of Chloe Grace Moretz) returns as a strong young woman, her father has also disappeared. Regina is desperately trying to recapture her youth and beauty through an apple tree that grows magical red shoes. When Snow White inadvertently tries on a pair of the shoes, she’s instantly transformed into a slim, curvy and ravishing beauty. Men swoon when they see her and will do anything for her, but Snow White just wants to find her father.
Meanwhile, seven dashing young men have an unfortunate encounter with a fairy princess whom they saved but then attacked, thinking that she looked more like a witch than a princess. The fairy princess curses them, turning them into green dwarfs until they can earn a kiss from the most beautiful princess of all. Defeated and discouraged, the dwarfs wait until Snow White literally flies into their lives. Wanting to keep her identity a secret she introduces herself as Red Shoes and enlists their help to find her father. The dwarfs each hope that she’ll kiss them and end their curse.
While Red Shoes and the dwarfs search for her father, Regina desperately searches for the mysterious beauty who has taken her shoes. At the same time, the dwarfs are all infatuated with Red Shoes, but she begins to have feelings for Merlin (voice of Sam Clafin), who’s always there to help and for whom she would gladly give her life. Merlin begins to understand that true beauty is not something you see with your eyes – it’s something you see with your heart.
Evil curses; separation from a parent; the idea that ‘big’ is not beautiful and that youth and physical beauty are the most important characteristics of all.
Red Shoes and the Seven Dwarfs has some violence. For example:
- A magic tree tries to ensnare Red Shoes with its branches. The tendrils chase after her and try to entrap her wherever she goes.
- One of the dwarfs smacks Red Shoes in the back of the head with a frying pan before he realises his mistake.
- There are numerous fight scenes that involve hitting, stabbing, punching, slicing, crushing, blasting, exploding, electrocuting, throwing, smashing and smacking.
- A prince and his army launch a cannonball at the dwarfs’ house. Merlin tosses it back to them and the house collapses around them.
- Merlin’s magic often includes blasting things with electricity.
- Red Shoes slaps one dwarf across the face when he tries to kiss her without her permission.
- Merlin is held by the magic mirror tree and stretched across the branches as though he’s about to be tortured. Later he’s held in front of Red Shoes who’s forced to eat a poison apple to save his life.
- Merlin sacrifices himself by holding onto Regina, plunging off a cliff and using his magic to create an explosion. He’s brought back to the castle, barely alive, where Red Shoes’ tears help break the spell. Regina doesn’t survive.
Alcohol, drugs and other substances
Nudity and sexual activity
Red Shoes and the Seven Dwarfs has some nudity and sexual activity. For example:
- The dwarfs all want Red Shoes to kiss them. They try to create opportunities for this to happen.
- Red Shoes and Merlin kiss a couple of times.
Red Shoes and the Seven Dwarfs has some infrequent name-calling, including ‘buffoons’, ‘bumbling bits of kindling’, ‘loser’, ‘haggard old crone’ and ‘block head’.
Ideas to discuss with your children
Red Shoes and the Seven Dwarfs is a twist on the classic tale of Snow White. Promoted as a family movie and rated G, it might look like it’s suitable for all ages. But it sends some unfortunate messages about appearance and body image. Children will need parental guidance to counteract and clarify these messages.
These are main messages from this movie:
- Appearances are the most important thing.
- Being old, large and physically unattractive is bad.
- If you don’t conform to certain standards of beauty, you aren’t worthwhile and others might be reluctant to help you.
Values in this movie that you could reinforce with your children include selflessness, honesty, graciousness, determination and the ability to see a person for who they are on the inside, not for how they look on the outside.
This movie could also give you the chance to talk with your children about real-life issues and behaviour, like:
- making fun of someone because they’re big or heavy, or because of their height or the colour of their skin
- making assumptions about others based only on physical appearance
- wanting to be with someone just because of how they look, rather than what kind of person they are
- using others for personal gain or to make yourself look better.