Last week my daughter and I went to see the movie “Into the Woods” and having heard many mixed reviews ahead of time I was concerned we would not enjoy it, but we did. I am glad however that my husband and son did not join us. I know my husband would have gotten up and walked out like a surprising number of people did during the movie.
This movie, to me, is a musical in the true sense of the word because a lot of dialog is sung not just a few sporadic songs. This reason alone would be enough to deter many from watching it, my husband included.
The basic premise of this movie is that a baker and his wife who have been unable to have children discover the witch next door has cursed their family and if they want the curse lifted they have to obtain a list of items and bring them to her. All of these items can be found within the stories of various fairy tales and this is how the fairy tales are intertwined. It is a creative mix of stories and characters that you would not originally think could be combined into one plot.
Meryl Streep plays a convincing witch and while I adore Johnny Depp his lecherous wolf character made me uncomfortable. If that was the intention then he was successful but I had a hard time reconciling myself to seeing him in this roll. Anna Kendrick’s portrayal of a Cinderella, who walks away from the royal life she initially craved, was both sensitive and strong as required.
As a lover of the Brothers Grimm I appreciated the dark twists that were included from their original telling of these stories. Unfortunately many people have not read and are therefore unaware of the often macabre and violet nature of the original stories. The cutting off of one step-sister’s toes to try to get her feet to fit in the glass slipper garnered an audible gasp from some in the theatre who were obviously unaware of this version of the story.
The movie was not all doom and gloom however; I loved the light hearted, corny interplay between the two princes as they waded through a stream singing about their romantic woes and tearing open their shirts in a show of male ego and competition with one another.
All in aIl, I am definitely glad I ignored the negative reviews and went to see this movie anyway.