Sometimes hearing from the cast and crew of a film really makes you appreciate a film in a way that you may not have just based on first viewing. Hearing what Maleficent: Mistress of Evil meant to the team that made it made me consider the heart and larger message of the film.

The sequel builds upon the theme that family can be made of those you choose more than the ones you are born into. As you can imagine, this concept is near and dear to Ms. Jolie. In talking about the film she asks, “What makes a  family, and what is it that brings them together? Is Aurora better suited to a life spent running around barefoot in the Moors with  fairies, where all creatures are treated as equals, or is she meant to be living in a castle in the human world  with human problems and concerns?”

Since the sequel takes place several years after the original, we find that growing up is causing Aurora to be torn between two worlds. And while, she does not see the rift as inescapable, Maleficent is much more skeptical. But how much of that skepticism is because of the dangers of the human world, and how much is based on Maleficent not wanting to let go?

One character that seems to have grown into his role is Diaval, played once again by Sam Riley. While never wanting to face her wrath, Diaval is able to be open to share his wisdom with Maleficent. “They bicker with one another all the time,” says Riley, “but there  are important messages in the story about tolerance, acceptance, openness and friendship between  races or species that are communicated through their relationship.”  

Diaval plays an important role in Maleficent’s changing role with her goddaughter. In many ways, this mirrors what Angelina Jolie is facing in her real life. At the recent press conference, she mentioned that she had just dropped off her son Maddox at college. She recalled that, at first, she interpreted her son spending time with her before he went away as his way of coping with the prospect of missing his mom. She then realized what he was really doing was preparing his mom to let go and to let him live his independent life.

Maleficent: Mistress of Evil is a film that tackles complex ideas of identity, family, and evolving relationships. Looking at the fantasy film through our experiences with real-world relationships adds a complexity to the storytelling that may not be obvious on its initial viewing, but it is through this lens that the true storytelling artistry emerges.

Maleficent: Mistress of Evil will be released in theaters of October 18, 2019.

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