In a fairy tale world of magic, two brothers begin a school for good and evil. They coexist peacefully until one brother becomes tired of sharing power and uses the dark forces of blood magic to try and kill the other. The ‘good’ brother is victorious and becomes headmaster (Laurence Fishburne). He prefers to sit aloft in his tower and leaves the everyday running of the school to Lady Lesso (Charlize Theron), the Dean of The School Evil, and Professor Dovey (Kerry Washington), the Dean for The School of Good.
Meanwhile in the village of Gavaldon, two girls, outcasts from a young age, have developed a powerful friendship. Sophie (Sophia Anne Caruso), who lost her mother when she was small, is forced by her stepmother to slave away doing all sorts of menial tasks. Sophie endures patiently and seems to embody kindness itself but all she really wants is to become a princess. At the same time, her best friend Agatha (Sofia Wylie) is relentlessly bullied and tormented by the townspeople who accuse her of being a witch.
When Sophie learns the legend of ‘The School for Good and Evil’ and then discovers she will be forced to work in a factory, she hatches a plan to escape the town, find the school and train to be a princess. Agatha tries to convince her to stay but ultimately won’t let her go alone. When both girls are taken, Sophie is dropped at The School for Evil and Agatha at the School for Good. Both girls maintain that there has been a terrible mistake – that Sophie has been dropped in the wrong school, and that Agatha just needs to go home.
Stuck where they are, the girls try to show the school where it went wrong and that Sophie is truly a princess, capable of having a prince fall in love with her. The headmaster, however, has other plans and the school is in far more danger than anyone could ever imagine.
Good versus evil; vanity; the corrupting influences of power and greed; bullying; magic; injustice.
The School for Good and Evil has some violence. For example:
- Two brothers' sword fight, pushing each other and blasting each other with brute strength and magical power.
- One brother looks like his hand has been chopped off but flames fly from it and later blood swirls around him as a sinister force, ready to obey his every command.
- One brother tries to stab the other in the head with a dagger. He shoots him backwards, leaving a sizzling, fiery wound on his chest and they both plummet off a cliff.
- A boy throws a tomato at Sophie, hitting her in the chest.
- A man threatens Agatha, trapping her in an alleyway, calling her a witch and describing how witches are burned at the stake. He threatens her with a knife and Sophie hits him over the head with a frying pan.
- Agatha smashes a fairy against a stone. The fairy bites her finger and then a group of them drag Agatha forcibly into a castle while she struggles against them.
- Twenty boys sword fight against one champion, there is additional punching, slicing, flipping and kicking until only the champion remains standing.
- One boy fights against a Cyclops who is intent on destroying him. The two struggle until the Cyclops is defeated and burned by his own flaming weapon.
- A girl grabs Sophie and pushes her back over a balcony, ready to plunge her over the side. She threatens her with a knife and tries to chop off her hair before Sophie turns the tables, fighting back and pushing the girl to the edge of the balcony instead.
- Sophie has her face shoved into a potion filled with attacking tadpoles.
- Vicious flowers attack the end of a spear and look as though they are going to attack other people.
- Students are told of a grisly pumpkin patch that is safe by day but a horror land by night, where reapers will hunt you down, drink your blood and sell your limbs for spoils.
- A character falls and rolls down a hill, knocking everyone over as he goes.
- A pansy bites a boy on the leg.
- Agatha punches a boy in the face and then shoves him backwards.
- Sophie is dragged away by a wolf-man for talking to a student from The School for Good.
- Lady Lesso takes Sophie to a room filled with torture equipment. Sophie begs her not to hurt her but Lady Lesso takes a blade, holds it to Sophie’s face and uses it to chop off her hair.
- Students line up to have their fingers pierced by a sharp object, said to release their power. Some students have their fingers simply poked while others have their fingers completely impaled, with the point going straight through and coming out the other side.
- Sophie streams blood magic through her fingers towards the group of boys brandishing swords at her. The swords glow red hot before the boys drop them to the ground.
- Two girls shove each other, which starts an all-out brawl in a cafeteria.
- Sophie yanks out a tooth and chucks it on a table.
- Sophie conjures a fire to battle the group ready to attack The School of Evil.
- The good side shoots arrows at Sophie which she turns into flowers before they can hit her.
- Sophie puts two axes to a boy’s throat and burns him and others while they writhe in pain and smoke rises around them. The boys collapse on the floor and arise looking dark and evil.
- Students from both schools fight each other, sword fighting, hurling fire balls, pushing, punching and shoving each other or conjuring magic to attack on their behalf.
- Balls, which burst into flame, are thrown or kicked into people, Sophie’s blood magic knocks people to the ground. A boy is knocked unconscious and others burst into flame. Sophie entangles Agatha in ropes of blood magic, then threatens her and throws her out the door.
- One brother stabs the other in the back.
- An evil plan shows students being crushed to death by falling rocks as the school begins to crumble and fall apart.
- A sharp, metal quill impales Sophie in the chest as Agatha rushes to her side.
- A student is attacked in the headmaster’s tower, thrown across the room and pinned to a wall while he struggles to free himself and a man threatens to kills him with a dagger.
- Agatha uses a sword to slice a man through the chest. Blood flows out all around him and he bursts into black pieces.
There are no sexual references in The School for Good and Evil.
Alcohol, drugs and other substances
The School for Good and Evil has some use of substances. For example, a character drinks from a flask and appears to be drunk.
Nudity and sexual activity
The School for Good and Evil has some nudity and sexual activity. For example:
- Sophie kisses a couple of characters.
- Agatha kisses a boy.
There’s no product placement in The School for Good and Evil.
The School for Good and Evil has some coarse language.
Ideas to discuss with your children
The School for Good and Evil is a fantasy adventure based on the book series by Soman Chainani. The film is well cast and features numerous special effects. It also has some scary scenes and violence. Because of this The School for Good and Evil is not recommended for children under 11, and we recommend parental guidance for children aged 11-13 years.
These are the main messages from The School for Good and Evil:
- True goodness lies in caring for others.
- Real power lies in being true to yourself and not being swayed by the opinions or actions of other people.
- The best stories need both heroes and villains.
- We all have the ability to write our own tale and, ultimately, to become the stuff of legends.
Values in The School for Good and Evil that you can reinforce with your children include friendship, unity, kindness, helpfulness, courage, and forbearance.
The School for Good and Evil could also you the chance to talk with your children about the real-life consequences of things like:
- blindly believing all that you’re told
- seeking power at the expense of friendship and love
- the forced segregation of groups
- using violence as a means to solve conflict
- forgetting what it means to truly be good instead of just appearing so.