I haven't hit the theaters too hard these past few months with my partners in crime, aka my movie dates (Sabrina and Savannah) having moved to Texas. Truth be told, I was also holding out for those coveted holiday releases; it's sort of a tradition to visit the theater Christmas weekend and explore the blockbuster event of the year. This year heading into the holiday, I was a bit skeptical of what I might be watching. With The Hunger Games Mockingjay Part I already on old rotation from Thanksgiving, and a thirst for something over-the-top-cinematic, Into The Woods was a natural candidate. Luckily, there just so happened to be a screening in Austin last week while I was visiting the family for the holidays.
And it should, after all, Into the Woods is an imagined retelling of the intertwined fates of some of the most beloved fairytales. From Little Red Riding Hood and The Big Bag Wolf to Rapunzel and Cinderella, each of these characters find themselves 'in the woods' learning a valuable lesson. And speaking of lessons- you'll find the original themes of each story prominent throughout, but the ultimate message seems to be 'Be Careful What You Wish For.' And, as cliche as that sounds, as the character's actions spiral downward into one greater tale, it's easy to see how we, as viewers are asked to reflect on the inventory of our own lives, and how we prioritize the goals within them.
As only a theatrical production could, Into The Woods plays with the viewers emotions vacillating from riotous laughter to intense introspection with contrasting scenes such as Chris Pine (Cinderella's Prince) and Billy Magnussen (The Other Prince) belting out 'Agony' alongside Witch Meryl Streep's hauntingly emotional rendition of 'Stay A Child.' It was quite odd indeed to still feel the warm tears of laughter, yes I caught myself clutching my side during the Princes number, as a more poignant and emotional scene unfolded just moments later. As a viewer I was indeed along for the ride from one scene to the next.
Should you see this film? Yes. Be sure to catch it in theaters, and even with a group- everyone is sure to have their thoughts on favorite scenes and theatrical interpretations to discuss after. But be warned, you WILL be singing the songs for days- I've already downloaded the soundtrack on iTunes, and I plan on visiting it in theaters again soon! And my other partners in crime? Mother Savannah admitted she couldn't get the film out of her head and placed it up there with Malificent, while 12 year-old Sabrina called it an 'odd film' that was a 'lot of fun' and 'worth seeing again.' Into The Woods opened Christmas Day and is playing at theaters nationwide, for more information visit the official website.
What Daughter Says: Recall what it was like to discover your favorite fairytale characters all over again, with Into The Woods.