Reviewed by: Alexander Malsan
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.
“…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
Charlize Theron … Morticia Addams (voice)
Oscar Isaac … Gomez Addams (voice)
Chloë Grace Moretz … Wednesday Addams (voice)
Finn Wolfhard … Pugsley Addams (voice)
Nick Kroll … Uncle Fester, Gomez’s brother (voice)
Bette Midler … Grandma, Gomez and Fester’s mother (voice)
Catherine O'Hara … Grandma Frump, Morticia’s mother (voice)
Martin Short … Grandpa Frump, Morticia’s father (voice)
Allison Janney … Margaux Needler, a reality TV show host (voice)
Snoop Dogg … Itt, Gomez’s cousin (voice)
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Cinesite Animation [Canada]
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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.
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…”
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.
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.
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 so that you will not be judged. For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you.” —Matthew 7:1-2 NASB
“Judging others makes us blind, whereas love is illuminating. By judging others we blind ourselves to our own evil and to the grace which others are just as entitled to as we are.” ―Dr. Dietrich Bonhoeffer, The Cost of Discipleship
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.
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.