Rated: PG

Distributed By:

Walt Disney

Directed by:

Robert Stromberg


Angelina Jolie as Maleficent; Elle Fanning as Aurora; Sharlto Copley as Stefan; Brenton Thwaites as Prince Phillip

Adapted From:

Plugged In Online


In Disney’s Sleeping Beauty, Maleficent calls herself “mistress of all evil.” She puts a deadly curse on Princess Aurora, kidnaps the girl’s true love and transforms into a scary dragon.

How could there be any good in a character like that?

Maleficent tells the Sleeping Beauty story from the villain’s point of view. Turns out, Maleficent used to be nice. She had a friend named Stefan (who would grow up to be Princess Aurora’s father). At one point, Maleficent and Stefan shared a kiss—a kiss, Stefan told her, of true love.

Sadly, war erupted between the two kingdoms. Stefan disappeared. Then one day, he came back. Maleficent was overjoyed. She drank a potion Stefan gave her, and happily fell asleep in his arms.

When she woke up, her fairy wings were gone. Stefan had cut them off. Heartbroken, Maleficent fell into darkness and anger. And that’s where we meet her at the beginning of Sleeping Beauty, cursing the princess to a deathlike sleep.

As Aurora grows up, Maleficent finds herself secretly taking care of the girl. The “good” fairies don’t know how to raise a baby, so Maleficent gives her food and protects her from danger. At first, she wants to ensure the child survives so her curse can come true (Aurora is supposed to die on her 16th birthday). But as the princess grows up, Maleficent begins to truly love her. She can’t undo her curse, but she can lead a prince to the castle to awaken Aurora with true love’s kiss.

Maleficent is a tricky movie for us to review. It’s full of fairies and magic and spells. That’s enough for a lot of Christian families to avoid seeing it. The violence is dark and jarring, especially for a PG-rated film, and could scare young viewers. Soldiers fight against tree monsters, living thorns and a dragon. At least one character dies from a fall. Then there’s the problem of Maleficent herself. In Sleeping Beauty, she calls upon “the powers of hell” to assist her.

And yet, we see glimmers of redemption. Maleficent’s love for Aurora changes her. As Christians, we know that love is a beautiful, powerful thing. The sacrificial love of Jesus saved the world from sin. While Maleficent doesn’t bring God into the story, it’s encouraging to see such an evil character redeemed by love. Because that’s our story, too.

Copyright © 2014 by Focus on the Family.