Witches can be right, Giants can be good.
You decide what’s right, You decide what’s good…
“No One is Alone”
This may come as a shock to you but I have never seen the stage show INTO THE WOODS and I didn’t know a darn thing about the story before seeing the movie. I am not the type of person who reads reviews or listen to the music before seeing a movie. I want the film to unfold before me in the theater.
The story of INTO THE WOODS follows a Baker and his Wife, Cinderella, Jack (of the Beanstalk fame), Rapunzel and Little Red Riding Hood on separate journeys that collide in the woods. These stories are weaved together because of the Witch and a spell that she is attempting to undo. We also get to see into the Witch’s life and the struggles she has encountered on her journey in life. In the first part of the movie each of the characters get what they wished for.
But in the second half of the movie we get to find out what happens after “happily ever after” occurs. This part of the movie is heavy and this is where all of the lessons of our characters come into play. The Giant in the movie is also a metaphor that things in life can come crashing down around us at anytime and take away everything we know without warning.
Getting what you want may not be what you really wanted in the first place and we get to see how the characters deal with their decisions. However, during these tough times we learn that we are not alone in our struggle. No matter what side you are on (good or bad) there is always someone there to help you because you are not alone.
What I do know about INTO THE WOODS
Some people have been annoyed with the changes made from the stage show to the movie. These complaints don’t bother me (nor should they bother you) because I understand that some stage show elements can’t be translated on-screen or don’t make sense on film.
“Into the Woods” opened on Broadway on November 5, 1987 and ran for 764 performances. It won Tony® Awards for Best Score (Stephen Sondheim), Best Book of a Musical (James Lapine) and Best Actress in a Musical (Joanna Gleason as the Baker’s Wife).
Even if you have seen the stage show I think it would be best to not compare the stage show with this version because they ARE different, some elements are missing and some songs were cut but none of that matters. It doesn’t matter because this isn’t a stage show, it’s a movie so get over it.
I suggest going to see this version with an open mind and enjoy this version for what it is, it is a film and changes were made for many reasons. The result is a beautiful story that touched my heart and currently occupies my mind.
My interpretation of INTO THE WOODS is that the “Woods” is a metaphor for life, it’s a journey. At first we are optimistic about going into the woods, we have a plan and drive to succeed or sometimes we go into the woods with a bit of hesitation and confusion.
We make mistakes along the way and sometimes we realize that what we wanted in life isn’t what we really wanted at all once we’ve gotten it. I am sure that most of us have felt like each of these characters in the story at one point in our journey.
The cast is led by the amazing Meryl Streep who plays the Witch, Emily Blunt plays the Baker’s Wife and Anna Kendrick is Cinderella.
Lilla Crawford is Little Red Riding, Johnny Deep is the Wolf, Daniel Huttlesone is Jack,
Mkenzie Mauzy is Rapunzel, James Corden is the Baker and Chris Pine is Cinderella’s Prince.
Christine Baranski is the Stepmother, Tracey Ullman is Jack’s Mother and Billy Magnussen is Rapunzel’s Prince
Each of the actors bring not only their acting talents to the screen but their incredible singing skills as well. The range of songs that Meryl Streep performs are fantastic and each actor was brilliant in their own right. I really enjoyed Emily Blunt and Anna Kendrick in the movie. Chris Pine was also a nice treat in the film and I love watching his performance.
I am in love with the music from INTO THE WOODS, I have the 2-disc CD set and it plays in my car, at work and on my computer at home. Stephen Sondheim wrote the lyrics for the stage show and was brought in on the film to adjust some of the lyrics such as with Cinderella’s song “On the Steps of the Palace.” My favorite song is “No One is Alone” because it is such a raw song, in it the characters explain that everyone makes mistakes but that we are not alone because someone is always on your side.
I also love the “Finale/Children Will Listen (part 1)” because it is a reassuring song that even though people leave us in the woods on our journey we are still not alone. This is very important because as a person who has experienced loss it is important to remember that at times you may feel alone but you are not. In other words – grab the Kleenex when you hear this song.
Sometimes people leave you
Halfway through the wood.
Do not let it grieve you,
No one leaves for good.
You are not alone.
No one is alone.
“Finale/Children Will Listen (Part 1)”
The music for the film was pre-recorded over a two-week period at Angel Studios in London with a 56-piece orchestra and it sounds amazing inside a movie theater. Here is a link to iTunes to listen to the album
Anna Kendrick as Cinderella sings “On the Steps of the Palace”
Should you see it?
YES, you should see it, I give it two big thumbs up.
One question that I have been asked many times is if you should take your kids to see this movie. The Disney Channel is currently running teaser spots with Anna Kendrick singing “On the Steps of the Palace” and keep in mind that these spots are running on the Disney Channel, not on Disney Junior so if your kids watch Disney Junior then this is not a movie for them.
While this is a Disney movie and tells the story of familiar fairy tale characters it doesn’t mean that it is for all kiddos. My 9-year-old saw the movie with me and she is obsessed with the music but has asked some clarifying questions about some aspects of the movie. My 4-year-old did not see the movie but does still enjoy the music.
I personally think that any kiddo younger than 7 may not find the movie interesting, but it all depends upon your child. Some of the subject matter, especially Little Red and the Wolf will more than likely go over their head or they will just be confused by it.
The movie is dark as the majority of it takes place in the woods. This may be frightening to younger children, so don’t be fooled into thinking that this is a Disney musical for all ages. It is rated PG so keep that in mind when making the decision if your child should see it or not.
INTO THE WOODS has been nominated for 3 Golden Globes including Best Picture, Best Actress Emily Blunt and Best Supporting Actress Meryl Streep, it is rated PG and is now playing everywhere.