Damsel Movie Explained: What’s Up With the Ending?

On March 8, the fantasy film “Maiden vs. Trouble” was released on Netflix, starring the star of Netflix’s “Stranger Things” and “Enola Holmes” Millie Bobby Brown. In this review, we tell you how, at the time of filming, an 18-year-old actress with a sword at the ready confronted a fire-breathing dragoness in a dark cave and whether this unequal duel was worth the time spent on it.


another opportunity for all her fans to admire Millie Bobby Brown; well drawn CG dragon


primitivism, manifested in everything – from script attempts and characters to the ridiculous depiction of the battle between the main character and the dragoness

“Maiden Against Trouble” / Damsel

Genre dark fantasy
directed by Juan Carlos Fresnadillo
Starring Millie Bobby Brown, Nick Robinson, Angela Bassett, Robin Wright, Ray Winstone
Netflix premiere
Year of manufacture 2024
IMDb website

The young beauty Elodie is forced to agree to an arranged marriage in order to save her naked, barefoot and categorically disadvantaged people from imminent death. Her father Lord Bayford, stepmother and younger sister Floria arrive in the luxurious and frankly fairy-tale kingdom for Elodie to marry local Prince Henry. In return, the king and queen promise Bayford enough gold to fill a shovel.

At first, the friendly hosts seem to be quite nice people, and the prince can even be called a polite and pleasant young man, and the picturesque area here contrasts sharply with the barren wasteland of his native land. But after the wedding ceremony, Elodie is informed of some ancient and strange custom in which she must take part. As a result, the girl, although without pretentious exclamations like “this is Sparta!!!”, is still very unexpectedly thrown into the abyss, where a bloodthirsty fire-breathing dragon with a tragic past awaits her. Already at the beginning, the voice-over proudly informs that this is not just another story for you about a brave knight in iron armor who saves a defenseless doll from a dragon. Actually, even the Ukrainian version of the name, which in the original simply sounds like “The Damsel,” is a direct antithesis of such an archetypal image in art and, in particular, cinema, as “the damsel in distress.” Let’s say no to gender stereotypes! Is anyone really against it?

Only now Millie Bobby Brown destroys these stereotypes by blindly following the examples of masculine action film heroes from the past.

She stubbornly chops wood in the cold, like Rocky Balboa in the snowy Soviet wilderness. Barefoot, he makes his way through the narrow passages of caves with a meager source of light, like that John McClane in a ventilation pipe with a lighter. He is preparing for the decisive battle with the monster and smears himself with healing mucus (don’t ask), just like Schwarzenegger did with cheat mud in his confrontation with the Predator.

All this could look quite impressive if it didn’t look so ridiculous. And it’s not that there’s something wrong with the heroine, because cinema has given strong female characters and tough warriors in abundance (nowadays, Helen Ripley comes to mind first and foremost). It’s a matter of implementing the plan.

Even the critics, who unanimously praised the far from outstanding “Enola Holmes,” have lost patience somewhere, and the feminist pathos here is no longer so saving (at the time of writing, the rating on Rotten Tomatoes is a modest 60% with 93 for “ Enola Holmes 2″).

The real problem is that the adventures here are executed so primitively and unpretentiously that even within the framework of the conventional fantasy genre it is seen as blatantly implausible hackwork. In it, a barefoot girl in a shabby dress gives good blows to a fire-breathing dragon, who in two seconds crushes helpless enemies like overripe tomatoes. At one point, the cave monster unexpectedly resorts to methods similar to the T-1000, ordering the father to call his daughter and then plunging a sharp claw into the body of the unfortunate grandfather. There is no point in remembering the plot or revealing the characters. If the filmmakers had been a little more inventive or cunning, they could have gone the non-obvious route of Jordan Peele and his debut Get Out and come up with something more extraordinary, mysterious and exciting. There, if you remember, Daniel Kaluya’s character also went to visit his soul mate’s crazy family and also almost became another victim of a bizarre ritual.

It was also possible to imagine something like “Prey,” which offered a principled and truly uncompromising confrontation with an adult rating. As a last resort, try to adapt your own version of “How to Train Your Dragon,” the dramaturgy of which is much better than here.

But the hell with it: neither the director of the zombie horror film 28 Weeks Later, Juan Carlos Fresnadillo, nor the co-screenwriter of the tenth Fast and the Furious, Dan Mazo, nor Netflix itself are clearly aimed at a serious audience. They offer another damn straightforward blockbuster with no pretense, suitable for Friday night entertainment for 12-year-old girls. In a word, let’s disagree, this is no place for old people.

Millie Bobby Brown holds her own well in the frame and even performs a rope climb, but she risks getting stuck in a single role in soulless glossy films of dubious quality. Robin Wright doesn’t really have time to be a reasonable bitch for the viewer to get at least some joy from punishing evil. And in general, it seems that it’s Ray Winstone week on Netflix, with whom a new project has been released for the second day in a row after Guy Ritchie’s “The Gentlemen.”

It is good that modern progressive filmmakers are trying to deconstruct established tropes and ossified fairy-tale images. But it’s worth doing this in better ways than creating primitive and almost plotless one-day stories.

There is no doubt (although there is one specifically here) that today a Virgo is able to cope with any misfortune in this unjust world. But all her efforts will be in vain if the tape itself is a complete disaster.


In the battle against an insurmountable metaphorical enemy, the main character is Schwarzenegger, Stallone, Bruce Willis, and God knows who else all rolled into one. But the creators forget to give her at least some individual traits, and this looks much more eloquent than the girl’s ability to achieve a goal with fire and sword.

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