I have a confession to make, I do not care for Sleeping Beauty. I really loved Disney movies, as most children do. I watched the Little Mermaid until the VHS tape was worn out. The first movie I ever saw on the big screen was the Lion King. I still love most everything that Disney puts out. At 24 years old I can be caught singing Under the Sea and saying every lyric of the Jungle Book right along with the movie. So of course, I was really interested in seeing Maleficent.
This movie is incredible. I loved it. My husband loved it. There was a lot to love about. Maleficent, as we find out from the beginning of the movie, is a fairy who befriends a human. She is a sweet fairy child, with a glorious pair of wings. She and her new friend grow older and as they do, they grow apart. The humans eventually try and take over Maleficent’s home, as humans are ever eager to do. This is where her old friend has to pick a side and this is also where the movie went from good to magnificent.
I always appreciate a movie that tries to tell a story from a new perspective, and this movie easily and beautifully accomplishes that. Maleficent is the guardian of her home. She has a beautiful set of wings. She has a loving and forgiving heart. She even forgives her childhood friend when he comes to warn her that the human king wants to harm her. And then she is drugged, and has her wings sliced from her body and taken to the king as a trophy. This is actually mentioned in the trailers, but seeing it in this movie is so powerful. This scene is very much like a woman waking up after being date raped. Maleficent has just had a special part of her identity ripped away. It is such a powerful and sad image. Jolie does an amazing job with this character.
Even after all that betrayal Maleficent manages to be such a powerful female character. She does the hard thing. When Aurora is born, Maleficent curses her,as we are all familiar with from the cartoon. Aurora is taken deep into a secret place in the forest to be raised by three rather frizzled and flighty fairies. One of the best scenes in the movie is of Maleficent and young Aurora, played by Jolie’s young daughter.
This is a Disney movie, so of course we can expect a happy ending, but as they have been doing recently, it will not be what you expect. This is the movie to take your sister, or female friends to. It is really, truly, all about feminine struggle and female empowerment and getting past a betrayal of the worst kind. The hype surrounding the film is not just hype, it was truly magnificent.