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High Tide

The online student news site of Redondo Union High School

High Tide

The online student news site of Redondo Union High School

High Tide

Not Your Ordinary Damsel in Distress

“Damsel” puts a thrilling spin on an overused trope, making for an innovative story.
Image via Netflix


Fantasy is thought to be whimsical and pretty, but in “Damsel,” it meant a blood-drenched woman fighting for her life.

 Damsel came out on Netflix on March 8. When I hear “damsel” the first thing that comes to mind is annoying stereotypes of women being weak and helpless. But, Damsel avoided these stereotypes entirely. Millie Bobby Brown’s character, Elodie, was a brave and powerful female lead, but it wasn’t because she was unafraid or started out so strong. She grew throughout the course of the film, making her feel very realistic and relatable. 

Elodie comes from a provincial village in desperate need of money. A royal family ends up offering a large sum of gold for her hand in marriage, so she agrees despite not particularly wanting to marry Prince Henry of Aurea, as she knows the money will benefit her village. When she comes to the castle there are obvious red flags, dragon statues everywhere and ominous undertones at times- but Elodie doesn’t think much of it. On the actual wedding day, for part of the ceremony they do a blood ritual to make her of royal blood, then she is thrown into a chasm unexpectedly. She finds out it wasn’t a marriage but a ritual, where she is sacrificed to a dragon like many women before her. Now trapped in a dragon’s lair she must fight to survive.

Something I particularly enjoyed was that the film made the audience have to analyze what is actually happening and read between the lines sometimes. There was never a moment that outright said “Elodie is horrified right now” or “Elodie is determined now,” they displayed it through the way Brown portrayed the character. When Elodie was starting to discover the real reason young women were being sacrificed to the dragon, it showed clips of fashbacks she was seeing, that displayed the reasons and showed she was figuring out what was happening, instead of having a narrator fill in the blanks. As a result it felt like I was figuring it out for the first time too.

Image via Netflix

The writing was excellent for this film. Although some cliches were present like the inescapable “protagonist with a dead mother,” trope the story overall felt unique. The story had villains that felt remorse for their actions and villains who were completely irredeemable, which contributed to the villains’ characters feeling realistic. When Prince Henry has to sacrifice a little girl to the dragon later on in the film he feels remorse and is forced to do it, near the end he even seems like he genuinely regrets his actions, but he is still a villain. The fact that he is not 100% a bad person makes him seem like a real human and not some fake antagonist who is purely evil and never feels human emotions.

In “Damsel,” not only was the writing amazing, but the acting was excellent. Although a significant portion of the film is spent in silence, the acting made it extremely realistic and helped build the character. The shrieks of pain were so horrifyingly genuine and human that the story felt raw and real. 

The costuming told a story all on its own. As the story progresses and her goals are shifting, Elodie’s dress is torn more and more. Her gown looks completely different and tattered at the end. She started scared only trying to survive but ended brave and determined, this parallels how she starts with a gorgeous gown and at the end she looks completely different covered in blood, burns, dirt, grime and a dress torn to shreds. 

Overall, the film was amazing both technically and how it was executed theatrically. I highly recommend it. This is the kind of film that redefines the word “damsel” and illustrates the power of perseverance.


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About the Contributor
Ariya Anvari
Ariya Anvari, Print Opinion Editor
My name is Ariya. This is my third year on staff. This is also my first year as an opinion page editor. I love stoats, snakes, and esoteric words. I make pretty good crepes.

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