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The official student newspaper of Walter Johnson High School

The Pitch

The official student newspaper of Walter Johnson High School

The Pitch

Damsel puts feminist spin on traditional fairytale

Released on Netflix on March 8, Damsel provides a refreshing new take on the traditional fairytale as Elodie, rather than waiting for a man to save her, saves herself after being betrayed and thrown into a dragoness lair. (Courtesy IMP Awards)
Released on Netflix on March 8, Damsel provides a refreshing new take on the traditional fairytale as Elodie, rather than waiting for a man to save her, saves herself after being betrayed and thrown into a dragoness’ lair. (Courtesy IMP Awards)

Rapunzel. Cinderella. Snow White. Lois Lane. Princess Peach. What do all of these women have in common? They are all damsels in distress – women in perilous situations who are saved by men and live happily ever after. While this cliche story trope might have been the norm once upon a time, when women truly were damsels in distress, dependent on their husbands for security, in today’s progressive social climate, this is no longer the case. Millie Bobby Brown’s new film “Damsel” turns this overused trope on its head with a refreshing new feminist story about a damsel in distress who, instead of waiting for a man to do the saving, saves herself.

Brown stars as main protagonist Elodie, delivering yet another astounding performance. With her previous experience in “Enola Holmes” and “Stranger Things,” “Damsel” is just the third in what is sure to be a long line of Brown’s feminist films centered around a strong female protagonist.

The movie is centered around a noblewoman, Elodie, who agrees to marry a prince from a faraway kingdom in order to save her people. However, she realizes it is a trap and that the royal family has chosen her as just one in a long line of sacrifices to a dragoness that lives beneath the kingdom. As Elodie is thrown into the dragoness’ lair, she resolves to escape and avenge the other sacrificed damsels.

Overall, the story kept me entertained and on my toes, especially with the many plot twists as Elodie attempts to escape the dragoness’ lair and discovers the truth behind the sacrifices. The ending was especially satisfying to me as Elodie achieves justice for all the women sacrificed as she teams up with the dragoness, who was also tricked by the royal family, and burns their kingdom to the ground. This was also a great fantasy and adventure film, with captivating action scenes and realistic CGI.

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While Brown did an excellent job as the main protagonist, we should certainly not overlook actresses Robin Wright, who played Queen Isabelle (the main antagonist), and Angela Bassett, who played Lady Bayford (Elodie’s stepmother). With prior experience playing strong female royalty, from Wright’s role as Princess Buttercup in “The Princess Bride” to Bassett’s role as Queen Ramonda in “Black Panther,” these two women certainly did not come to play. It was refreshing to see Wright play a villain rather than a heroine, and she played the role well, perfectly encapsulating the deceptiveness and wickedness of the queen. Basset, a foil to Wright’s character, plays the concerned stepmother, yet another twist to the typical fairytale, in which the stepmother is almost always evil. All of the acting in “Damsel” was well done, or at least nothing was egregious enough to point out, but it was awe-inspiring to see three female powerhouses collaborate to produce this feminist tale.

Overall, “Damsel” was a fresh new feminist film, with not just one but four strong female characters (including the dragoness). The cinematography and CGI were excellent, the plot was entertaining, and the acting was on point. While this film doesn’t really have any existential meanings, it does provide a strong message about women, so I definitely recommend it.

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Sara Elster
Sara Elster, Print News Editor
Senior Sara Elster is looking forward to her first year on the Pitch as a Print News Editor. When not writing for the Pitch, Sara enjoys baking, practicing taekwondo, and hanging out with friends.
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