Jakob and Will Grimm are brothers and con artists. They travel from town to town where, for a handsome fee, they rid the uneducated citizens of their spirits, demons and witches by way of props, actors and some medieval special effects. However, they are plunged into a real fairytale when they are forced to visit the town of Marbaden where young girls are going missing and the nearby forest seems to be enchanted by an evil force.

The Brothers Grimm (2005) – Director: Terry Gilliam

is The Brothers Grimm appropriate for kids?

Rating: 12

Running Length: 118 mins

Starring: Heath Ledger, Matt Damon, Lena Headey

Genre: Action/Adventure, Fantasy

 

REVIEW

Former Monty Python member, Terry Gilliam has brought his unique style of storytelling to ‘The Brothers Grimm’. While receiving mixed reviews from critics, this is a fun and entertaining film containing plenty of Grimm fairytale references which will later provide the source of the Brothers’ tales. The reason for them to visit the town of Marbaden is somewhat forced but otherwise the plot is good and Ledger and Damon make a good pairing, pulling off some decent British accents.

The rivalry between the practical Will and the sensitive Jakob is convincing. Unfortunately there are too many references to Jakob’s childhood error of trading the family’s cow for magic beans instead of medicine; which lead to their sister’s death. By constantly bringing up Jakob’s guilt over this, Will’s love for his brother doesn’t always seem genuine. While Gilliam isn’t known for being sentimental about his characters for a movie aimed at a younger audience some of the deaths are handled quite callously. Also some animals are cruelly killed and injured unnecessarily, usually for laughs.

There are some parts of ‘The Brothers Grimm’ which could be upsetting for younger children and we would therefore recommend caution, but it is an enjoyable adventure story with plenty of good comedy and action sequences.

IS ‘THE BROTHERS GRIMM’ SUITABLE FOR CHILDREN?

When Will and Jakob are first introduced as adults, they are convincing the townspeople of Karlstadt that they can get rid of a witch. After being paid a hefty sum, they take a villager to a barn and are attacked by the witch. She has a grotesque face, laughs in a loud and shrill way and flies at them at speed. After they defeat her and the villager leaves, the Brothers reveal that they rigged the barn with pullies, ropes and spring boards and that an actor wore a costume and make-up to play the witch. This scene could be quite frightening for younger viewers as it is quite sustained and the con isn’t revealed until after there have been several scares.

The scenes where the children are taken could be quite upsetting for younger children. While all the kidnappings are uniquely disturbing, perhaps the worst is when a little girl has her eyes, nose and mouth sealed. As she is staggering and trying to get to safety, a mud monster chases her. When another character is holding her, the monster drags her away from him. This scene is shown in the clip below. We feel that if a child is ok to watch this scene, then the rest of the kidnappings should not cause any additional concerns.

When Will and Jakob are captured and taken to the evil Delatomb, they are taken to a room where their friends (who helped them with the witch con) are being threatened with torture by being hung upside down by their feet, having their heads encased in a transparent box which is full of snails and gradually lowered, head first, towards a cauldron of boiling water. They are clearly terrified and the Brothers are afraid for them. This could be distressing for kids as the threat of such brutal violence is quite unexpected at this point. There are lots of other violent scenes, however we feel that the ones we have mentioned are the most extreme examples and therefore if a child is ok with them, they should be fine with the rest of the movie.

There is quite a lot of animal cruelty in the movie and while nothing is lingered upon, it is worth mentioning for children who are sensitive to animals being hurt. Towards the beginning, two horses are forced to run at a high-speed by having the tops of their tails set on fire. They run away and round a corner but are not seen again for several minutes where they appear briefly on screen with shortened tails and blackened behinds. Later on, a horse is clearly distressed after it is fed small, enchanted spiders. Another scene shows the Brothers in a torture chamber. A fluffy kitten is seen walking around and, in what is clearly meant to be a comedy moment, it startles one of the characters who kicks it at some spinning blades and kills it.

While there is only minimal blood, some of the imagery is quite vicious and gory. One of the characters is seen skinning a dead rabbit which is positioned in the foreground of the shot and is therefore very graphic. A few moments later, another character throws a knife into a different dead rabbit which is hanging on the wall. Later on, some of the characters are attacked by trees in the woods. One is almost rescued when he is being dragged towards the open trunk of a tree but is killed when a branch shoots through his mouth. Another character falls from a height and is shown to only have the top half of his body. In an unexpected moment of cruelty, Delatomb displays the decapitated heads of characters who have previously been in the film. The eyes and mouths are open and this imagery along with the shock of these characters being killed so brutally could be very upsetting for children. Another scene towards the end of the movie shows a bloody spike being pulled out of one man’s chest and inserted into another. This is done on camera and looks very painful.

CAN I SEE A CLIP?

VERDICT

While there are many scenes in ‘The Brothers Grimm’ which may cause some upset to children, Gilliam has made this film in the spirit of the fairy tales of the Grimm Brothers themselves which included many brutal acts of violence. There are sustained moments of suspense but generally, the frightening moments aren’t too strong and should not be so distressing as to cause nightmares. We would recommend this movie for children aged 10 and over however, we would also advise that kids aged between 10 and 12 should be supervised while watching this movie in case any reassurance or explanation is required.

  • Violence: 4/5
  • Emotional Distress: 2/5 (some characters are killed and their loved ones grieve for them)
  • Fear Factor: 4/5 (the enchanted forest and its inhabitants, including the queen who appears towards the end of the movie, may be quite scary for younger children)
  • Sexual Content: 2/5 (early in the movie, Will is portrayed as a bit of a womaniser and is seen asleep in bed with two women (who he has previously been dancing and flirting with). They are in their underwear but this isn’t particularly revealing. Another character uses an excuse to move very close to a woman and puts his face next to hers and she is clearly made to feel uncomfortable)
  • Bad Language: 2/5 (a few minor to moderate uses of bad language towards the beginning of the movie but there is very little after this point)
  • Dialogue: 4/5 (some of the stories told by characters include people being burned to death and flesh rotting away due to plague)
  • Other notes: Deals with themes of sibling rivalry, doing the right thing, courage, learning from past mistakes and self-sacrifice for the greater good.

Words by Laura Record

Brothers Grimm [Blu-ray]


New From: £6.43 GBP In Stock

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