Story

Young adventurer Tristan (Charlie Cox) pursues a falling star to bring back to his beloved, Victoria (Sienna Miller). He does this by stepping through the wall that protects his village from the supernatural universe, known as Stormhold, on the other side. The star is not what he expects. He finds it in human form – a beautiful woman named Yvaine (Claire Danes). She has been struck down from the heavens by a ruby necklace belonging to Stormhold’s dying king (Peter O’Toole).

The king’s surviving sons, Prince Primus (Jason Flemyng) and Prince Septimus (Mark Strong), pursue Yvaine for the ruby. At the same time, the witch Lamia (Michelle Pfeiffer) and her sisters also want Yvaine for her heart and its eternal properties. During the journey back to the wall and his beloved Victoria, Tristan and Yvaine encounter friends and enemies, and learn about the meaning of love. The final dual with the evil Lamia ends in a destiny beyond Tristan’s imagination.

Themes

The supernatural; captivity and slavery

Violence

  • There is a sword fight with sticks between Tristan and Humphrey.
  • A prince is pushed to his death through a window of a tall tower.
  • Characters frequently talk about murdering people and removing Yvaine’s heart.
  • Witches slaughter an animal and remove some of their organs.
  • The wall guard prevents Tristan from passing through by beating him up with his stick.
  • The witch Lamia whips goats and horses pulling carts.
  • Septimus stabs and kills a soothsayer.
  • The witches kill and dissect a crocodile.
  • The witches kill a fallen star on a stone table (not shown on screen).
  • Lamia slits Primus’s throat while he is in the bath.
  • A unicorn headbutts a man (previously a goat). He changes back into a goat as he hits a wall, falls to the ground and dies.
  • Lamia lunges at Yvaine with a glass blade. The blade breaks as it hits the wall instead.
  • Captain Shakespeare (a pirate) puts a knife against Tristan’s throat, threatening to kill him. He then throws a body out of the porthole of his ship, leading the audience to believe it is Tristan’s. He is rough with Yvaine as he takes her to his cabin.
  • Septimus stabs and kills a trader, Ferdy the Fence.
  • There is a sword fight on the deck of Captain Shakespeare’s ship between his crew and the Prince’s guards. Septimus beats the Captain (off camera) and threatens him with a knife.
  • Septimus throws a farm boy off his horse before taking the horse for himself.
  • Lamia and a lesser witch, Ditchwater Sal, engage in a magic battle. Sal loses her head, runs into ‘the wall’ and incinerates to the ground.
  • Septimus and Tristan threaten each other with knives outside Lamia’s palace.
  • Septimus and Lamia’s sister engage in a dual. She dies when Septimus spears her with a lance.
  • Lamia tortures Septimus with a voodoo doll, breaking his arm, then his leg, and finally drowning him.
  • Lamia sharpens her butcher’s blade menacingly over Yvaine as she lies strapped to the stone table.
  • Tristan lets loose all of the wild animals the witches keep in cages. The animals attack one of the witches.
  • Lamia hits Tristan with a huge flying urn. He retaliates by hitting her with lightening bolts. She then raises Septimus’s corpse to fight him with a sword.
  • Lamia and Tristan duel using a meat cleaver and sword.
  • After believing they’ve been released, Lamia locks Tristan and Yvaine in the palace and causes the windows to explode onto them in succession.
  • Yvaine emits a pulse of light and explodes Lamia into confetti.

Content that may disturb children

Under 5

  • Tristan’s father Dunstan comes across a two-headed miniature elephant and a jar full of seeing eyeballs at a market.
  • When each prince dies, he turns into a ghost. Some have their weapons of death still embedded in them.
  • The king’s necklace hits a star, causing an explosion which impacts on the earth and again explodes.
  • Frequent use of magic causes physical transformations and disappearances. For example, Lamia transforms a farm boy into a goat, Ditchwater Sal’s face is blown under a spell, a farm boy is changed into a woman, a village is magicked into existence, and Sal turns Tristan into a mouse.
  • Tristan is transported magically from his house to arrive at the impact crater. Upon re-entry he appears out of nowhere, colliding with Yvaine and knocking her to the ground.
  • A large imposing ship flies through the air during a loud thunderous storm with bright flashes of lightning.

From 5-8

  • Una, the slave of Ditchwater Sal, is kept in chains in the service of her mistress.
  • Tristan uses a magic chain to tie Yvaine to himself and later to a tree to prevent her escaping.
  • Tristan and Yvaine are tied up together in the brig of Captain Shakespeare’s ship.

From 8-13

In addition to the scenes described above, the scene where Septimus poisons all but one of his brothers and the priest with a poisoned drink could also scare or disturb children in this age group.

Over 13

Children in this age group are unlikely to be disturbed by anything in this movie.

Sexual references

  • Captain Shakespeare leads his crew to believe that he wants to have sex with Yvaine.
  • In attempting to prolong a charade, Captain Shakespeare suggests that he has captured Yvaine solely for Tristan’s personal pleasure.
  • Lamia’s breast and the farm boy’s chest noticeably decrease or increase at separate points in the film. The camera focuses on the transformation and the characters’ reactions to it.

Alcohol, drugs and other substances

There are scenes where champagne and wine are consumed, as well as poison.

Nudity and sexual activity

  • Una and Dunstan kiss passionately at the market.
  • Tristan spies on Yvaine briefly while she is taking a bath.
  • Tristan and Yvaine kiss passionately while she is wearing only a towel.
  • When Prince Primus is killed in the bath, his ghost later appears naked. 
  • The naked ghost of Primus is shown sitting in full view, but the nudity is discreet.
  • After the triumphant defeat of Lamia, Tristan and Yvaine share another kiss.

Product placement

None

Coarse language 

This movie contains some mild coarse language and name-calling.

Ideas to discuss with your children

Stardust is a fantasy adventure movie based upon the illustrated novel by Neil Gaiman.

The main messages from this movie are about the importance of ambition, love, bravery, loyalty and dedication to a cause. You could discuss these with your children as well as the values displayed by the characters: 

  • the desire to dream and explore the world
  • the courage to face injustice
  • open-mindedness with new cultures and experiences and in relationships with others.

You might also like to talk about the real-life consequences of forcing others to do things against their will, naively embarking on unsafe adventures and using violence to achieve goals.