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This Review Reveals Minor Details About the Plot.

Hansel and Gretel Revisited

Gretel & Hansel (2020) on IMDb

Plot Overview

Abraham rejecting Hagar“Gretel & Hansel” reworks a very popular Grimm Brothers fairy tale that possibly dates back to the 1300s during the Great Famine in Germany. In the real old days it was not uncommon for unwanted children to be abandoned. Lack of modern birth control methods meant excessively large families some­times, while infertility left other couples childless. Throwing one's excess children out onto the street was sort of an informal first step in adoption by the families who were looking for children. It wasn't until the industrial revolution with its reliable incomes, that parents were expected to keep and raise all of them. In this story a peasant woman has fallen on hard times and cannot feed her young ones Gretel (16) and Hansel (8), so she boots them out and they wander into the woods.

cornucopiaBefore modern medicine there was the ‘wise woman’ learned in herbal lore and some­times in witch­craft as well. The two lost children find such a woman Holda (Alice Kringe) whose lack of garden or live­stock belies the feast set at her table. Gretel (Sophia Lillis) having second sight her­self clues in to an occult origin of the bounty. Holda wants to nurture the girl's talents while fattening up her brother for dinner.


The difference in power between two children and an adult is comparable to an adult encountering a whole band of robbers. As such we might draw an analogy with the prophet, (Hosea 6:4-7) “O Ephraim, what shall I do unto thee? O Judah, what shall I do unto thee? for your good­ness is as a morning cloud, and as the early dew it goeth away. There­fore have I hewed them by the prophets; I have slain them by the words of my mouth: and thy judgments are as the light that goeth forth. For I desired mercy, and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings. But they like men have transgressed the covenant: there have they dealt treacher­ously against me.” The clouds and the dew evaporate in the morning sun­shine. So do the good intentions of a father and of a neighbor in the opening scenes. A father can't bear to see his pretty daughter waste away with sickness, so rather than give her the best care trusting in God's mercy to heal her or take her, he brings her to a wise woman whose forbidden ritual saves her life but turns her into a witch, too. An elderly neighbor offers to hire Gretel for house­keeping but there are strings attached.

(Hosea 6:8-10) “Gilead is a city of them that work iniquity, and is polluted with blood. And as troops of robbers wait for a man, so the company of priests murder in the way by consent: for they commit lewdness. I have seen an horrible thing in the house of Israel: there is the whoredom of Ephraim, Israel is defiled.” Holda has a lewd lust for the flesh of children as is the way of witches in this story. They pass it on to their successors. If you can stand to watch the horror in this movie, you too can say, “I have seen an horrible thing.”

Production Values

” (2020) was directed by Oz (Osgood) Perkins. It was written by Rob Hayes, based on the Grimm Brothers fairy tale “Hansel and Gretel.” It stars Sophia Lillis, Charles Babalola, and Alice Krige. This film boasts an his­toric­ally anchoring script and good per­for­mances from the three principals playing Hansel, Gretel, and the Witch. The dialogue, though, seems overly rudimentary to the point of demeaning historical intelligence. The sound track is garbled, further compromising speech, but nonverbal cues and story context make up for it—this is not a complex plot.

MPAA rated it PG–13 for disturbing images/thematic content, and brief drug material. It's shot in a smaller than normal aspect ratio of 1.55:1 making the film more square. This combined with the triangular cabin visually adds to the tension. Add fog-filled forests and candle­lit dens & homes, and we get a good sense of gothic creepiness. A great score by Robin Coudert doesn't hurt any, either. Its pacing is uneven, starting fast and ending slow. It's just shy of 1½ hours long.

Review Conclusion w/ Christian Recommendation

The story is a familiar one since childhood, here with a difference of ages of the two children as they work their ways towards adult­hood. The lessons are fundamental as are the frights. Here one probably already knows the core story going in; it's just the order and ages of the kids that get shuffled. What we've got is a cinematic version of a familiar fairy tale from a book.

Movie Ratings

Action factor: Decent action scenes. Suitability for Children: Suitable for children 13+ years with guidance. Special effects: Well done special effects. Video Occasion: Good for a Rainy Day. Suspense: Don't watch this movie alone. Overall movie rating: Three stars out of five.