Damsel: Millie Bobby Brown Faces a Dragon in Netflix Film

Millie Bobby Brown as Elodie in Damsel. Photo Credit: John Wilson/Netflix © 2023.

Millie Bobby Brown goes face to face with a dragon in Damsel, the newest original Netflix film to star the Stranger Things actress.

I’m going to get to the idea behind the film in a moment. But before I do, I’ve been enjoying the Netflix original films starring Millie Bobby Brown. There’s something about them that allow the actress to show off her wit or action skills. This film is no different except for the fact that she’s going up against a dragon because of reasons that are so messed up. It’s not even an understatement to suggest how messed up the reasoning is. For spoiler purposes. I’m not going to get into it until after the below photo.

As far as non-spoilers go, it’s a solid film that will quickly move into the Netflix top ten. After all, the actress is a regular on the platform between Stranger Things and two Enola Holmes movies. It’s a different showcase this time around but Brown fans should be satisfied. After all, this is a film that offers a mix of fantasy, adventure, thriller, and  epic all in a single film.

Millie Bobby Brown as Elodie in Damsel.
Millie Bobby Brown as Elodie in Damsel. Photo credit: John Wilson/Netflix © 2023.

The gist behind the film is simple: a royal family is pretty screwed up. There really is no other way to put it. In short, they recruit a girl from another kingdom to marry Prince Henry (Nick Robinson) of Aurea, only to sacrifice her to a nearby dragon. This is the only way that the royal family can repay their ancient debt. However, they appear to have met their match in Elodie (Millie Bobby Brown). Meanwhile, Elodie’s stepmother, Lady Bayford (Angela Bassett), realizes early on that something is not right with this family but Elodie’s dad, Lord Bayford (Ray Winstone), is having none of it.

Much like The Princess, this is not your typical film about a princess. The film even says so during its opening. When one thinks of a damsel in distress, they think of a prince saving a princess and living happily ever after. This is not so much the case here because the prince is not walking through the door. In fact, he’s probably waiting around for his family to pick another princess, thinking that Elodie is as good as dead. But since Millie Bobby Brown is the star, we’re not to count her out. And again, we’re dealing with a royal family that is better off being the victim of a coup. Anyway, Elodie has to grow up really quick as she fights for survival. Meanwhile, Brown has to carry much of the film on her own while drawing on her own personal experiences in bringing the character to life.

Other things setting the film apart from others in the genre: the stepmother is not a cruel woman. Unlike her counterparts, nothing about Lady Bayford offers any sense of cruelty to her children. In fact, she’s quite the opposite. Her counterpart, Queen Isabelle (Robin Wright), is a very different story with honoring her kingdom’s ancient traditions. Princess Buttercup would be so ashamed.

Other things to admire about the film are its score, costume design, and production design. The irony of the film turning the genre on its head is that David Fleming’s score is rather traditional. He gives the film numerous themes and motifs that play throughout. Fleming gives Elodie a few themes to showcase where her journey takes. One is innocent while the other is darker.

Damsel takes the princess genre and turns it on its head.

DIRECTOR: Juan Carlos Fresnadillo
CAST: Millie Bobby Brown, Ray Winstone, Nick Robinson, Shohreh Aghdashloo, Brooke Carter, with Angela Bassett and Robin Wright

Netflix will release Damsel on March 8, 2024. Grade: 4/5

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Danielle Solzman

Danielle Solzman is native of Louisville, KY, and holds a BA in Public Relations from Northern Kentucky University and a MA in Media Communications from Webster University. She roots for her beloved Kentucky Wildcats, St. Louis Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts, and Boston Celtics. Living less than a mile away from Wrigley Field in Chicago, she is an active reader (sports/entertainment/history/biographies/select fiction) and involved with the Chicago improv scene. She also sees many movies and reviews them. She has previously written for Redbird Rants, Wildcat Blue Nation, and Hidden Remote/Flicksided. From April 2016 through May 2017, her film reviews can be found on Creators.