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Millie Bobby Brown's Netflix film Damsel slated by critics

The fantasy film is out now on Netflix

Millie Bobby Brown as Elodie in Damsel. (Netflix)
Millie Bobby Brown as Elodie in Damsel, which has been slated by critics. (Netflix)

Critics have slated Millie Bobby Brown's new film Damsel, which sees the Stranger Things star play a young woman who is sacrificed by her betrothed to settle a curse.

The Netflix film subverts the typical fairytale as Brown's princess Elodie decides not to go quietly when facing the dragon that she is given to, in a story that hopes to show female empowerment but has been described by critics as being "atrocious" and a waste of her time.

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The Independent's Clarisse Loughrey gave an insightful examination of the film, explaining that it tries hard to make it seem like female empowerment is new to fairytale retellings when classics like Shrek and The Princess Bride show that it isn't so surprising anymore.

Loughrey also remarked how Damsel flounders when Brown's Elodie is left to fend for herself in the dragon's lair. The critic wrote: "The film deteriorates into nothing but Brown bouncing off various rocks and yowling in pain like she’s auditioning for a remake of The Descent, that subterranean horror from 2005."

Millie Bobby Brown as Elodie in Damsel (Netflix)
Damsel has been criticised for its lacklustre plot, particularly when the story sees Elodie fending for herself in a dragon's lair. (Netflix)

Comparing the film to Brown's previous work, Loughrey added: "There’s a sweetness to Stranger Things’s Eleven, and a wit to Enola, that offer the actor a hell of a lot more to do than Damsel’s mean-mugging to camera. Dan Mazeau’s script feels like it was spun out of a series of girlboss Facebook memes."

The Telegraph's Tom Robey called Damsel "atrocious" and didn't mind words when writing about the film, saying it is "easily the most embarrassing assignment" of director Juan Carlos Fresnadillo's career.

Sharing scathing criticism, Robey wrote: "Rather than being any particular person’s bright idea for a girlboss fantasy revenge caper, this lousy romp was obviously hatched by an algorithm, and might just as well have been directed by AI."

Indiewire, though critical, was more balanced in their commentary about the film's storyline, with critic Kate Erbland writing: "The thrust of the story remains that women can be dragonslayers, in any Game of Thrones knockoff they wish, in any generally medieval time period they find themselves in. That remains valuable, if familiar, and occasionally entertaining."

Millie Bobby Brown as Elodie in Damsel (Netflix)
While the film was heavily criticised, some did commend Millie Bobby Brown's performance. (Netflix)

The Hollywood Reporter's Lovia Gyarkye commended Brown's portrayal for saving the film from being a total misfire, writing: "As always, the Stranger Things actress’ strength lies as a performer lies in her expressiveness — the wide eyes of fear and grimaces of pain.

"Her portrayal, which has shades of Emilia Clarke’s Daenerys Targaryen, sustains a film that would have benefited from more depth, especially because its penultimate battle offers a moment of welcome cleverness."

The Daily Beast were also heavily critical of the film, with Nick Schager writing that the film features a generic plot that doesn't work as well as it should.

Schager wrote: "Damsel is a paint-by-numbers twist on a stock formula, with Elodie demonstrating that, even in distress, she’s fully capable of saving herself, her loved ones, and her people—a process that’s reflected in the destruction and repurposing of her fancy wedding dress for survivalist and combat ends. Still, that’s no excuse for a series of plot points that make no logical sense."

The critic added: "What’s missing, alas, is a sense of grandeur or originality that might elevate this perfunctory saga."

Damsel is out now on Netflix.

Watch the trailer for Damsel: