Young maiden, Ella, has been given the ‘gift’ of obedience by her misguided godmother, Lucinda. Having to do as she is told causes problems with Ella’s family, friends and her new acquaintance, the handsome Prince Char. With no-one else able to lift the spell, Ella decides to find Lucinda before anyone can abuse Ella’s obedience for their own ends.

Ella Enchanted (2004) – Director: Tommy O’Haver

"Is Rating: PG

Running Length: 96 mins

Starring: Anne Hathaway, Hugh Dancy, Cary Elwes

Genre: Comedy, Fairytale

Ella Enchanted movie poster


Ella Enchanted is a delightfully modern fairytale story based on the book of the same name by Gail Carson Levine which has clearly been aimed towards young children. With elements to keep both boys and girls entertained, this is a movie that exudes charm; there is plenty to return to for repeat viewings. While many similar children’s movies try to also appeal to adults with barely concealed innuendo, Ella Enchanted does not go in for such cheap laughs, opting instead to be an unashamed family film.

The ever watchable Anne Hathaway is our eponymous heroine, Ella of Frell, and her fellow stars add to the fun at every stage of the journey. While there are some elements of the ‘Cinderella’ story – for example the mean step-mother and step-sisters – this is a new story of elves, ogres, giants and damsels in distress. Children are likely to be captivated by the rich, bright costumes and set dressing, the entertaining characters, and the fun, innocent comedy which is consistently appealing throughout.


This movie should be suitable for children of all ages but there are a few things which parents may wish to be aware of. For example, Ella’s mother dies early in the movie. She is seen to be in bed, clearly suffering from some kind of illness. She talks to a young Ella, giving her advice to take into her adulthood. The death is done in a very mild way and we do not see her die as the camera cuts away before this happens. There is no real emotional distress on display here but this subject could upset some children who are sensitive to the concept of death.

Lots of the girls are attracted to Prince Char and are very silly when he is around. This is done very innocently although two lines stood out as slightly less childlike. When some of them find that they are standing on the floor which the Prince has walked on, they drop to their knees and start kissing it. One of the characters says ‘stop tonguing the floor girls!’ Another character also comments that she bets ‘he showers naked’. There is no bad language in the movie, however the words ‘puke’ and ‘butt’ are used once each.

The ogres use dialogue which can be quite threatening to some of the characters although they are far more comical than frightening and wear trousers which show the tops of their bottoms. There is a fight scene when they are first introduced to the story and while this isn’t particularly violent, one is dragged along by his legs and he ends up getting hit in the crotch with a tree stump. This bit is played for laughs and the ogre is not overly distressed.



Ella Enchanted is a fun and enjoyable movie which can be enjoyed by both little and big kids! It is unlikely that any of its content will be unsuitable for children of any age and therefore we would not put an age limit on this movie.

  • Violence:  1/5 (mostly mild and comical in nature, a giant who looks depressed is briefly shown to be whipped by a palace guard, it is made clear in the dialogue that the giants are being used as slave labour by the evil Sir Edgar)
  • Emotional Distress: 1/5 (The death of Ella’s mother is very subtle. Some of the situations that Ella’s enforced obedience puts her in often upset her)
  • Fear Factor: 1/5 (Ella is instructed to kill one of the characters and she struggles to fight against the obedience spell)
  • Sexual Content: 1/5 (Prince Char gets a minor wound and is seen without his shirt on while Ella tends to it. This is not sexual in nature)
  • Bad Language: 0/5
  • Dialogue: 1/5 
  • Other notes: Deals with themes of being true to oneself; working together against bad people and evil deeds; jealousy and fighting for the rights of those who are being discriminated against.

Words by Laura Record

Ella Enchanted [DVD]

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