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‘Damsel’ Review: A Great Revenge Story With Dragon-Slaying Millie Bobby Brown 

From Damsel in Distress to Dragon Slayer: Millie Bobby Brown’s Fiery Tale of Revenge and Resilience.

Damsel Review
Netflix

I still remember well the first time I saw Stranger Things by The Duffer Brothers. When I observed the young actor playing the lead character of Eleven, I thought she held so much promise. Fast forward a few years, Millie Bobby Brown returns with her remarkable talent as Elodie in the new fantasy Netflix Original, Damsel, directed by Juan Carlos Fresnadillo and written by Dan Mazeau. Damsel is empowering and full of spectacular action sequences, serving as both a revenge story and a coming-of-age tale. The script and camera work remain entertaining, and the entire ensemble gives knight-worthy performances.

Damsel Review – Dragon Slaying & Millie Bobby Brown

Damsel centers on Elodie (Brown), a young woman from a poor village who spends her days helping her family alongside her sister Floria (Brooke Carter). When Elodie’s father, Lord Bayford (Ray Winstone), strikes a bargain with the royal family, which includes Queen Isabelle (Robin Wright), King Roderick (Milo Twomey), and Prince Henry (Nick Robinson), the young woman dutifully agrees to marry Henry as a result of said deal. However, what she doesn’t realize is that the royal family is inherently evil and intends to sacrifice Elodie to fulfill an ancient debt.

While Damsel’s brief description may appear plain and perhaps dull, the film is far from that. Although the first act is a touch slow, the action heats up, especially when the filmmakers incorporate engaging action scenes in which the camera moves upside down to highlight the characters’ movements. Brown, who is no stranger to fantastical fiction, understands how to make each scene engaging. Best known for her portrayal as Eleven, she fully comes into her own and demonstrates her versatility as an actor across multiple genres. Angela Bassett is another great addition to the narrative. While she plays the minor role of Elodie’s stepmother, Bassett depicts a character that is not malicious, as is common in fantasy films and known as the “evil stepmother” trope. In contrast, in her stepmotherly role, Lady Bayford is supportive and protective of both Floria and Elodie.

Damsel boasts a strong cast, costumes, and set design. Especially the subterranean environment is very well done, with each hurdle in the caves indicating Elodie’s determination. As the main character repeatedly faces a fire-breathing dragon, the aforementioned growth is also reflected in changes to her attire or hairstyle.

Despite certain moments that feel too long, Damsel is worth viewing, especially for the satisfying finish. The creators include a few surprises along the road, making the film quite bloody, which is a welcome treat for genre fans. Despite its flaws, Damsel ultimately delivers a noteworthy story that is both elaborate and inspiring. Brown expertly depicts Elodie’s development as she struggles to find her way out of danger while fighting an ancient creature. The film even manages to highlight Elodie and Floria’s wonderful sisterly bond while nevertheless telling a harrowing survival story.

Fresnadillo’s Damsel is quite enjoyable to see. Just when you think Elodie will be able to get out of danger, the creators throw another challenge at her. As a result, Damsel’s script, full of twists and turns, remains enthralling. In addition, the film isn’t only visually pleasing, but also puts a modern spin on the “damsel in distress” trope and introduces another attractive dragon character with a fascinating backstory for contemporary pop culture as well as younger and older audiences.

Grade: B-



Damsel

Damsel

A dutiful damsel agrees to marry a handsome prince, only to find the royal family has recruited her as a sacrifice to repay an ancient debt. Thrown into a cave with a fire-breathing dragon, she must rely on her wits and will to survive.

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