Netflix’s Damsel: Subverting Expectations with Nothing | Exhibit Tech Movies

Netflix’s Damsel: Subverting Expectations with Nothing

DAMSEL - Millie bobby brown

Damsel is Netflix’s latest fantasy film that didn’t quite hit their maximum potential. Directed by Juan Carlos Fresnadillo, the movie starts by informing the viewers it isn’t the typical “damsel in distress” trope. For the most part, they kept their promise but at the cost of an inspiring ending. Their main selling point is that their leading lady, Elodie, is played by Millie Bobby Brown. Brown nails the role given to her in every way possible but it only makes the audience want more out of the movie. 

Elodie and Henry

Marriages and Rituals

Damsel follows the engagement of Elodie and Henry, played by Nick Robinson, after receiving a proposal from the Queen of Aurea and Henry’s mother, Queen Isabelle (Robin Wright). She and her family set course to Aurea to scope out the kingdom and also help their poverty-struck community. Henry and Elodie don’t hit it off right away until they discover their shared love for travel. However, not all seems rosy as Lady Bayford (Angela Bassett) instinctively feels something is off. 

Angela Bassett as Lady Bayford

Elodie, despite her stepmother’s advice, does not break off the engagement but everything takes a turn when she is deceived into a deadly ancient “ritual” deep in the mountains. It strikes a series of thrilling events where she has to successfully evade and survive against a dragon looking for her next sacrifice. The dragon is voiced by Shohreh Aghdashloo, whose deep, gravelly voice brings a hint of terror to the story. Brown’s performance is the saving grace of the movie’s overall lack of nuance. 

People praise the VFX of the dragon

So What Went Wrong?

The biggest criticism of the movie is that every aspect had wasted potential. The harsh environment could have been utilised more effectively or at least emphasised and explored. The characters deserved fleshed-out arcs with better chemistry. More than that, the ending of the film was predictable and boring. Brown’s performance was inspiring to young girls who need a strong leading female protagonist of their age. However, the overall message the ending conveys is nothing short of lazy. The poor writing choices and inability to fully employ the creative freedom the fantasy genre allows you are disappointing. 

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