Damsel Movie Review

Mar 29, 2024 by HL Bernabe, in Movies

Damsel starts out stating quite clearly that the movie is not about a fair maiden that needs rescuing by the hero, which intrigued me.

Elodie is the privileged eldest daughter of a wealthy landowner in northern lands, though privilege and wealth are relative terms when the people are starving through the winter. Elodie is a hands-on leader, helping to chop and split wood, and do what it takes to help the people around her.  

She comes back home from chopping wood to find her father has struck a deal with the island kingdom of Aurea, and she is to be married to a bonafide Prince. She’s not happy about the arrangement, but the terms are extremely favorable, and will help bring her father the money he needs to help the people he lords over. So Elodie reluctantly agrees to the marriage—though it is clear she doesn’t have a choice. She’s going.

Once in Aurea, Elodie and her family are charmed by the wealth and prosperity of the kingdom. Though cracks start forming, Elodie’s stepmother is alarmed by some of the things she witnesses. She urges Elodie to call off the wedding, but she doesn’t, because she wants to help her people.

Pretty soon, Elodie discovers the depth of the Aurean royals' duplicity, when she is tossed into a cavern where a dragon intends to kill her. Elodie must survive if she is going to save her family and get her vengeance.

I really liked this movie!

Millie Bobby Brown is Elodie, and seeing her in an adult role was so strange. I still think of her as the kid in Stranger Things. She has grown into a beautiful young woman, and her performance was good in this.

Robin Wright is the evil Queen Isabella of Aurea. It is so fun to see how her roles have changed. From the damsel in distress in Princess Bride, to the kickass General Antiope in Wonder Woman, to the evil queen here. She pulls off bitchy well!

I liked that Dan Mazua, who wrote the screenplay, didn’t go with the evil stepmother trope. Instead Lady Bayford loved Elodie like her own and was the voice of reason, trying to convince Lord Bayford leaving Elodie there was a mistake. The stepmother was played by Angela Bassett, and I would have loved to see more of her, because she is such a fantastic actress. 

In fact, in this movie, the women shine. The men don’t get as much screen time, and this show is more about the women. Her father gets an inglorious and well-deserved death. Ray Winstone did a good job playing a father who regretted his decisions. I would have liked to see more of Elodie’s reaction to that and his death. But Elodie is a survivor. Having survived the hardships of the north, she wasn’t going to let a little ol’ thing like a dragon stop her. She is the opposite of a damsel. She's a hero!

If you like stories about strong women who save themselves, then this movie is for you. Watch it!