"Friends and Family Are Better than Magic"
What You Need To Know:
MARY AND THE WITCH’S FLOWER is delightfully told. Ultimately, it has a positive moral message because Mary learns friends and family are more important than magic. Mary is a likeable, big-hearted character who isn’t seeking to become a witch. She recognizes her mistakes and tries to redeem and restore relationships and the natural order of things. In the end, she declares, “I don’t need magic.” That said, the movie’s occult elements, which include riding a broom, being called a witch, casting spells, and having a cat as a familiar, warrant caution for children.
MARY AND THE WITCH’S FLOWER is an animated fantasy adventure made in Japan. It depicts a red-headed young girl named Mary living with her Great Aunt Charlotte in a small village near the woods. Mary’s parents are alive and working in a city far away.
Mary declares that she hates her red hair and is so bored. Aunt Charlotte doesn’t have a computer, and the TV is broken. Mary, who’s full of exuberance and pluck, does her best to help Aunt Charlotte, the maid and the gardener, but her helping is causing more of mess. While trying to help clean outside, Mary meets Peter, the neighborhood delivery boy, who makes fun of her.
Aunt Charlotte encourages Mary to take a break and enjoy the outdoors. The maid packs a picnic lunch for Mary, and she scurries off. As Mary sits overlooking the valley, a small, black cat comes up to her. The cat entices her to explore the woods. Mary follows the black cat, who’s soon joined by a gray cat, and discovers a shimmering blue flower that looks like a bluebell.
The black cat then leads Mary to a broom surrounded by vines. The magic from the flower seeps into Mary’s hands, and the broom transforms and starts to fly with Mary holding on for dear life. The broom takes Mary to Endor College where the headmistress, Madam Mumblechook, welcomes her with open arms as a talented and powerful applicant into the school of magic. Mary is completely unaware of the world of witches and reluctantly accepts her destiny at Endor College under Madam Mumblechook and Doctor Dee.
Madam Mumblechook constantly flatters Mary regarding her magical talents and her red hair. Mary warms to the praise because she felt clumsy and unhelpful at home, and she has always hated her red hair.
While Madam Mumblechook is looking for an application form for the college, Mary finds a hidden book of spells and steals it from Madam Mumblechook. Later, she discovers that Doctor Dee is performing magical science experiments on animals. Mary lies to Madam Mumblechook about the discovery of the blue flowers, blaming Peter. Madam Mumblechook eventually kidnaps Peter after stealing his address from a note in Mary’s possession. Along the way, Mary learns that the magic from the blue flower only lasts for a day.
Mary is overwhelmed because she knows she’s put Peter in danger. However, she’s running out of time to help save Peter, to save the animals, and to get back home to Aunt Charlotte before the magic runs out.
Mary is a very likeable, big-hearted character, who isn’t seeking to become a powerful witch. She recognizes her mistakes and seeks to redeem and restore relationships and the natural order of things in the world. Mary also learns that flattery is cheap, and that her friends and family are more important than any magic a flower can give. In the end, she declares, “I don’t need magic.”
Based on a children’s novel by the late popular British author Mary Stewart, MARY AND THE WITCH’S FLOWER is delightfully told. Ultimately, the movie has a positive moral message because Mary learns friends and family are more important than powerful magic. That said, if the movie’s terminology and elements were different, for instance, if the movie was titled “Mary and the Fairy’s Flower,” and she had a magic wand and a clever rabbit to help her, then the movie perhaps would embody more of the values MOVIEGUIDE® seeks to honor and endorse. However, since the movie has occult elements such as witches, flying brooms, and a cat referred to as a familiar, MOVIEGUIDE® recommends caution for children who can’t clearly distinguish occult elements from fantasy elements.