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MOVIE REVIEW

The Addams Family

also known as “A Família Addams,” “Adamsu gimene,” “Adamsu seimynele,” “Addams Family - A galád család,” “Addamsova rodina,” “Die Addams Family,” “Familien Addams,” “Familjen Addams,” See more »
MPAA Rating: PG-Rating (MPAA) for macabre and suggestive humor, and some action.

Reviewed by: Alexander Malsan
CONTRIBUTOR

Average (somewhat offensive)—Caution
Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
• Older Teens • Adults
Genre:
Animation Horror Comedy 3D
Length:
1 hr. 27 min.
Year of Release:
2019
USA Release:
October 11, 2019 (wide—4,007 theaters)
Copyright, United Artists Releasing, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) click photos to ENLARGE Copyright, United Artists Releasing, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) Copyright, United Artists Releasing, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) Copyright, United Artists Releasing, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM)
Relevant Issues
Copyright, United Artists Releasing, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM)

Fictional family that shares macabre and demented interests, embracing the dark, gruesome and destructive side of life, living in their own separate quirky culture of ghastliness, deadly things, and death and evil impulses—and yet also being somewhat friendly and hospitable.

Attempting to subversively combine Darkness with Light

“…whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable… think about these things.” —Philippians 4:8 ESV excerpt


What are the underlying messages of this film?


Teenage girl coming-of-age / rite of passage / pushing boundaries and buttons


Mother-daughter relationship problems

Copyright, United Artists Releasing, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) Copyright, United Artists Releasing, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) Copyright, United Artists Releasing, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) Copyright, United Artists Releasing, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) Copyright, United Artists Releasing, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) Copyright, United Artists Releasing, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) Copyright, United Artists Releasing, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM)
Featuring: Charlize TheronMorticia Addams (voice)
Oscar IsaacGomez Addams (voice)
Chloë Grace MoretzWednesday Addams (voice)
Finn WolfhardPugsley Addams (voice)
Nick KrollUncle Fester, Gomez’s brother (voice)
Bette MidlerGrandma, Gomez and Fester’s mother (voice)
Catherine O'HaraGrandma Frump, Morticia’s mother (voice)
Martin ShortGrandpa Frump, Morticia’s father (voice)
Allison JanneyMargaux Needler, a reality TV show host (voice)
Snoop DoggItt, Gomez’s cousin (voice)
See all »
Director: Greg Tiernan
Conrad Vernon
Producer: Charlize Theron
Greg Tiernan
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM)
Cinesite Animation [Canada]
See all »
Distributor: Logo: United Artists Releasing, a subsidiary of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM)
United Artists Releasing, a subsidiary of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM)

Gomez Addams and his bride to be Morticia are about to celebrate the happiest day of their entire lives… their marriage! Not soon after they are wed, though, an angry mob comes for Mortica, Gomez and the rest of family that are present at the gathering (Fester, Grandmamma and others). “We need to find a place far away from the world. Where no one will come after us just because of who we are,” says Gomez.

Flash-forward 13 years, Morticia and Gomez have settled somewhere in New Jersey and have raised two children, a young girl named Wednesday and a boy named Pugsley. It’s a huge week for the Addams’! You see, Pugsley is preparing for his upcoming marzuka—a celebration in which a young Addams is officially seen as a man in the eyes of the rest of the Addams’ extended family.

While Pugsley and Gomez are busily preparing for the Marzuka, in a nearby location homemaker TV star Margaux Needler is busy building and trying to advertise the soon-to-exist-town of Assimilation, a place where people of a variety of races live, where everyone lives in the same type of neighborhood, wears the same type of clothing—you get it.

But there’s a problem, Margaux discovers… the Addams’ dreary house and their “freaky” family live right up the hill from Assimilation. Why not just ask the family to move to Assimilation? No, they’re “freaks,” according to Margaux.

They’re creepy and they’re kooky… the Addams Family!!

Where do I even begin with a film like this, other than just by saying that the “Addams Family” is perplexing. What has always made the Family memorable is the macabre-style wit and humor through action and dialog. In the series and films, the dark-humor was dispensed casually, not screaming in your face all the time shouting, “Hey look at me, I’m funny!”

While part of me did appreciate this film’s macabre humor, to an extent, eventually it just became non-stop and, at times, annoying. I couldn’t help but go “Ugg” under my breath when Morticia says to Wednesday, “Don’t forget to kick your father goodnight.” Some of the humor is inappropriate, even knowing that is coming from the Addams Family.

To the film’s credits, the animation is good, with no detail being overlooked. I liked the nice homage to the original comic strip image. The performances of many of the leads, particularly that of Oscar Isaac and Charlize Theron are well done.

Political messaging

I could forgive many of the film’s faults, if it weren’t for the consistent, non-stop political messaging: the master-planned community is called Assimilation, the children of the town sing a song about how everyone should be the same, every type of race lives in the town, but everyone dresses the same. I mean, enough, Hollywood. Just, please, stop. Leftist activist Charlize Theron is one of the movie’s producers and plays Morticia. In real life, Theron self-identifies as a “pagan at heart” and actively promotes Leftist causes, the Feminist Movement and Transgenderism—she’s raising her adopted son as a girl, claiming he started to “identify as female” when he was 3. In an interview she subtly hinted at her film’s diversity and immigration messages:

“It is ultimately is about supporting one another’s differences. …I, think at the core, why people really respond to the Addams family is because ultimately they will always be Addams, and they take pride in that and never try to change themselves for anybody. …This film reminds us that whatever we think is normal is something very different for each individual. …there is an underlying message: being different is not a bad thing, and we need to celebrate that a little bit more. And I love that I’m a part of something that carries that message.”

In an interview, the producers stated that, yes, there is an underlying embedded message. It is meant…

“…to inspire people of all ages to embrace a new idea of what is normal… in a subversively delightful way, represents what family really means… Everyone involved in the movie…found the Addams Family’s struggle incredibly topical and important… It is an immigrant story. They come from the old country to America and set up roots and build their life here. And someone from outside their world comes in and tries to set up a neighborhood that they don’t fit into, so she tries to run them out. …Basically, it’s all about acceptance and how Margaux can’t see past her preconceived notions of what her neighborhood should be and accept these people that might be outside of her norm. And about her coming to terms with that and them learning to accept other ways of life. The Addams Family always accept, you know? They might think people are a little strange, but they always try to understand everyone. It’s about other people having to accept them.

Actor Oscar Isaac (Gomez) confirmed that this movie is an allegory, “It’s definitely in there…” and joked, “Bring down that wall! That should be on the poster…”

Copyright, United Artists Releasing, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM)
It is no accident that the movie’s villain is “a power-mad reality-show host with crazy hair.”

If you are going to make a movie about the Addams Family and their everyday issues as a kooky family, great! Focus on that. I work with students on a daily basis. They don’t care about the politics of a film. They remember the story and the humor. Create a film with a strong story with some humor and a general, non-polarizing message. Make that your priority, and your children’s film will shine.

Content of Concern

VIOLENCE: Most of the violence is played in a light manner, but there are some things to be aware. Rioters chase after the Addams, launching fireballs at them. Pugsley wants to blow up things. Wednesday attempts to kill Pugsley in many different ways (burying him alive, archery, etc.), and Pugsley tries to kill Wednesday as well (he throws an ax at her). An arrow is shot into Uncle Fester’s back a few times. The Addams house is attacked with fiery boulders while people are inside. Frogs come back to life during an experiment and attack teenage girls who are school bullies. Wednesday, wears hangman’s nooses in her hair, sleeps in a guillotine, and is seen cutting the heads off of her dolls. A car runs into Lurch. (I did not list every moment of violence here.)

SEX/NUDITY: Morticia’s outfit is very form-fitting. Fester is seen naked in a bathtub (nothing graphic). We see his underwear a couple times, and he flashes a couple people during a song. Thing is looking at beautified feet on his laptop computer before quickly shutting it—clearly played as a pornography viewing reference. Fester flirts with Margaux a few times. Grandmama states Lurch should head upstairs to her room when the family is done with him. One Addams family member might be considered trasngender (due to how they are comically clothed and appear).

OCCULT: Morticia is seen using a Ouija board and crystal ball to communicate with her dead parents.

OTHER, including possible mental health triggers: Morticia staples her earrings into her ears, and also uses her dead parents’ ashes as eye shadow. We see oozing blood dripping from the walls and rats on the floor. When Morticia and Gomez first move in, the spirit of the house screams, “Get out!!” (and this is repeated throughout the film). Thousands of swarming bugs spring forth from a woman’s dress. There’s a reference to the offensive supernatural-horror movie, “It.” Pugsley is seen climbing the walls with glowing eyes. A tree grabs two children out of their room and hurls one. Cheating and robbery are promoted in a conversation. A child eats a moldy sandwich. A character eats some toe candy. The song “Drop It Like It’s Hot” is played in one scene (with the curse words and marijuana reference taken out). An alarm clock displays an ambulance popping out a skeleton on a gurney.

Message

Part of the film’s underlying messages is kindness to strangers, forgiveness and that we should not be judged based on who we are on the outside, but by our actions and who we are on the inside. These are Biblical messages. Scripture almost never mentions any person’s outward appearance (whether they might be considered beautiful or ugly, or the color of their skin), but it has a lot to say about their hearts and actions, and what goes on in their minds. The Bible describes true love, and shows that both true beauty and true ugliness come from within.

“…those things which proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and they defile a man.” —Matthew 15:18 NKJV

Additionally, Scripture cautions against passing judgment on others, for we are all sinners and only God truly see the inner motivations and know every thought, word and action.

“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” —Matthew 7:1-2

The Addams Family franchise is recognized as having had a profound influence on American comics, cinema and television, and has been seen as an inspiration for the goth subculture and its fashion.

Final Thoughts

Taking the political messages out of this film, what you have is an attempt to repackage a classic series for a new generation. Successful? Well… I don’t think the filmmaking quality is where it needed to be. Also, “The Addams Family” isn’t the cleanest family film out in theaters right now, although it isn’t the worst. The film is obviously geared toward kids, but is not fully suitable for them. If you are considering taking kids to this, bear in mind that the macabre humor is too dark at times (although not extensive), the family which is endearingly portrayed as the good-guys does some dark or evil things, and there is political messaging and some sensual dialog you may need to explain later. Everything considered, I personally don’t recommend this film. Use prayerful discernment.

  • Occult: Moderately Heavy
  • Violence: Moderate
  • Harsh language: “brainless peons,” “mutants,” “freaks,” “monsters,” “creepy,” “stupid”
  • Nudity: Moderate
  • Sex: Minor
  • Profane language: None

Learn about DISCERNMENT—wisdom in making personal entertainment decisions

What does the Bible say about DARKNESS versus LIGHT? In what ways does Satan try to confuse and deceive young minds—making evil and dark things in our world seem attractive, good or enlightening? What is GOODNESS and RIGHTEOUSNESS? What is SIN?

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.


Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Positive
Positive—A solid “8/10” is what I’d give this charming yet odd little film, for reasons which I shall state in this comment.

Let me begin with the aspects I liked. I love how “Addams Family” it felt, and how the setting, the characters, and even the character designs were true to the franchise. The story was simplistic in a good way—kids can follow it, and there’s nothing really sophisticated or complex that the over-the-top cartoon craziness can distract you from. The animation was surprisingly smooth and satisfying, and didn’t look as cheap and five-dollar-bin-ish like the trailers made it look. The voice cast seemed fine to me, although my one gripe on this topic is the voice actor choice for Uncle Fester, who produced a voice which made it often very difficult for the theater audience to understand what Fester was saying (in my opinion, they should have rehired Christopher Lloyd from the “90s Addams Family movies—he was the best Fester I’ve ever beheld). Mostly all of the characters were likable and interesting, specifically the eight core Addams family members (which is a great thing), while the rest of the characters were made unlikeable—intentionally by storytelling goals, and likely unintentionally by storytelling execution. (Minor spoilers from here on out.)

Now the things I disliked, starting with the big one: the villainess and her daughter’s rotten relationship, which is never mended or repaired. Throughout the movie, the two grow further apart, and intentionally cause each other great distress by radically firing their worldviews at each other, in different, sour ways. A compromise is never made, and the two never reconcile or meet somewhere in the middle of their opinions—such as, the mom could have agreed to be less of a psychotic perfectionist and a dictator, and the daughter could have acquired the liberty to have individuality, but not go full-out goth for the sake of being different and rebellious. We get no satisfying ending for the two of them, and the last we see of them together is in a scene where the daughter bitterly tells her mother that she’d rather be with the Addamses than with her. And even after the villainess is changed for the better (or less worse) at the end, we never see her and her daughter interact again.

The second and more mild gripe I have is the dull and preachy message that we shouldn’t disregard or disown others because of their quirky habits, or because they are unable to perform actions as well as we can. While this can be a nice message—if interpreted CORRECTLY—it was, very often, delivered very coldly and emotionlessly (quite literally in one case, as it was once delivered by Wednesday Addams). Of course, some people could interpret this message to make others accepting towards LGBT-ism, but such ideas weren’t really hinted at. I was unimpressed by how the movie villainized the “normal” society and negatively presented everyone therein.

Now let me discuss something else while I’m here. The plot moves in favor of making the Addamses be accepted by the people around them, and be seen as fellow human beings, despite their odd habits, as a part of the movie’s message, and uses this to demonstrate that no matter how different, people are still people, and there are no inferior nor superior individuals. But I see a flaw in this. You see, throughout the Addams Family franchise, the Addamses are presented as being more than just different—they are ambiguously presented as being an entirely different species—mythical creatures, likely—which are apparently immune to physical pain and can do rather humanly impossible things, and come in shapes and forms that only vaguely resemble a human. This, to me, makes it difficult to roll with the concept of using the Addamses as examples of human beings of different ethnicity and culture or disabilities in the real world, who have trouble fitting in in foreign or different societies.

All in all, it’s a good movie. It’s fun and decent, and worth the four dollars I paid at my small town theater. It could have given us more, and fixed the sketchy subplot between the villainess and her daughter, but I appreciate the most of it.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 4
Alexander, age 20
Positive—I enjoy the various versions of “The Addams Family.” Overall, I say the film is fine. It’s not as good as the 90s Live Action movies or the classic TV show, however it’s far better than the awful stage musical. It’s a family film, so morally it’s very clean. The theme of, it’s okay be different, has always been an undercurrent in Addams Family stories, but in this one it’s explicit. I didn’t get any agenda from the movie other than the filmmakers feel for some reason family films needs an explicit lesson, and they included it. If you are a fan of The Addams Family go see this movie, but I think the franchise deserves a great animated movie. Maybe someday they’ll make one.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 3
Keith Chandler, age 41 (USA)

PLEASE share your observations and insights to be posted here.

Secular Movie Critics
…nearly laugh-free script…
John DeFore, The Hollywood Reporter
…Little kids will snicker and snap their fingers in time to the tune. Parents? You might might grin at the nostalgia of it all, an inventive moment or two, but little else. [2/4]
Roger Moore, Movie Nation
…unfunny, and poorly structured… it’s a painfully generic kids’ film… When the normie characters are more memorable than the freaks, there’s a problem…
Caroline Siede, The Verge
…low-energy… Only Oscar Isaac as patriarch Gomez Addams provides consistent sparkle with some wonderfully delicious line readings. …what really sinks the film is the nitwit plot…
G. Allen Johnson, Datebook, San Francisco Chronicle
…an undistinguished children’s comedy full of dull pop-culture referencing and half-hearted commentary about the importance of inclusiveness…
Tim Grierson, Screen Daily
…good-natured flop… [1½/4]
Johnny Oleksinski, New York Post
…a rote plot… you should be prepared for a film that has all the comic danger of a bowl of Count Chocula. …it should have invested their story with something to actually care about…
Owen Gleiberman, Variety
…The filmmakers and a nifty cast give the characters some clever, amusing flourishes…but it ultimately isn’t enough to keep the mood from turning dull. …
Tom Russo, The Boston Globe
…Anyone who’s still engaged by the end of the movie is probably too young to remember the original. …
Katie Rife, The A.V. Club