Maleficent – Movie Review (Spoilers)
Out of all the fairytales Sleeping Beauty has never been one of my favorites, neither the Disney version or the original (which is actually quiet disturbing). But Maleficent intrigued me because it was the Sleeping Beauty story from Maleficent’s point of view. One of my favorite types of stories is a story told from the supposed villains view point. Whenever we read a story we always have to have an antagonist and rarely do we get a chance to understand them and why they are making the decisions they make. Normally we get a superficial or surface layer story. A tale to me is never complete until we can see or understand all sides of the story. The heroes point of view can be vastly different from the villains.
Maleficent started life as a friendly and curious young fairy. From a young age she was the one everyone went to when there was a problem. One day a young boy, Stefan, sneaks into the Moors and tries to steal a jewel from them. Aura confronts him but not with anger and harsh words, but more with curiosity. They talk and he quickly finds that he has a kindred spirit in her. They become fast friends which evolves into a romantic relationship.
Stefan has high ambitions though. He wants to become king and rule over the land. In the end his ambition becomes more important to him and he betrays Maleficent. He drugs her and cuts off her wings, leaving her helpless and alone.
The betrayal is a sword to Maleficent’s hear. It destroys her and breaks her down. She no longer is curious or friendly, she becomes dark and angry. She cuts off her home from the humans with a thorn wall and crowns herself ruler of the Moors. No longer is she looked at with respect and a smile; the other creatures cower at her presence and stay away in order not to annoy her. She goes from a naive and idealistic young woman to a woman destroyed by fake love. Her destruction creates the villain we know from the stories.
Just as in the original story Maleficent curses Aurora to fall into a deep death like sleep on her sixteenth birthday after she pricks her finger on a spinning wheel. At this point we see her as a woman who cares about nothing and no one but hurting the one who hurt her. Stefan puts pixies in charge of watching over Aurora until her sixteenth birthday and she is safe. Maleficent also watches from afar, to ensure that her curse will go into effect.
It doesn’t take long though for the good in Maleficent to make itself seen again. Her predominate traits are anger and evil, those are the traits that were brought out because she was in pain and didn’t know how to deal with that pain. She forms a connection to Aurora, one that is ultimately both of their saving graces.
Aurora is awoken by a kiss but it is not Philip’s kiss, but Maleficent’s kiss. Yet again we see that these new movies and shows are showing us that true love does not always have to be from a romantic relationship. Yes, that is one form of true love but there is also true love between siblings, best friends as well as parents and children. Frozen showed us how strong a sister connection can be and now Maleficent shows us that a parenteral love is just as strong as any romantic relationship. This was one of my favorite aspects of this movie, a different take on a theme we have seen often in these types of movies. It is good to show an audience that true love is vast and can encompass so much.
At the very end of the movie the narrator, an older Aurora, tells us that her home and the Moors were saved not be a villain or a hero but by someone who was both hero and villain. I love these types of stories because they show us that those we consider villains or evil are not fully that way. They have this good and caring side to them, they are complex, sometimes more so than our heroes. Villains deserve to have their stories told just as much as any hero.
We all have good and bad sides to us. We all have moments when we lash out and don’t think about our actions. We act out of emotion that at times seems to dominate our vision. When we become hurt or angry, we see only red and we want a way to make that pain go away. So we do things like get revenge or hurt someone close to the one who hurt us. At the time that seems perfect reasonable because they did the same to us. But as Maleficent did we see that our choices have longer consequences then just that one moment. Maleficent quickly regrets her curse because she comes to care so deeply for Aurora; she tries to take back the curse but can’t.
She is not just a villain, she is a woman who was hurt by the one persons she gave her whole-self too. She can’t see or think past that pain. This movie allowed us to see that all stories have many angles. We think we know what happened but until we hear what everyone has to say and see where they come from we can never truly understand what took place.
In the end Maleficent is able to return herself and her home back to its former glory. She rights her wrongs and Aurora unites the human land with the magic land. I highly enjoyed this movie and have put it on a list of my favorites. It beautifully done, Angelina Jolie portrays Maleficent so well and the story is paced and told very well. I highly recommend watching this movie and seeing a whole new side to a story we thought we knew so well.