Sleeping Beauty is an old and well known fairy tale. No matter how many times it gets retold there is always an evil entity and a girl cursed as a child to fall into a deep sleep. The most recent version of Sleeping Beauty, Maleficent, follows the story of the main villain.
Maleficent, played by Angelina Jolie, is a fairy that has lost her wings and travels along a path of vengeance because of it. In the movie there is a controversial scene that is meant to explain why Jolie’s character begins to go down that dark path.
Writer Linda Woolverton told the Hollywood Reporter earlier this month, “The biggest challenge [ in Maleficent] was how to make a villain into a protagonist. How on earth was I going to justify that this woman would curse a baby?”
Many people would be quick to say that there’s never a justification for harming a child. The truth is, even the worst bad guy, the most depraved serial killer, has a reason behind their actions. Having a reason is not the same thing as being right.
Angelina Jolie told BBC Radio’s Women’s Hour, during a live broadcast on Tuesday, that the scene meant to explain Maleficent’s motivation is actually a metaphor for rape.
The controversial scene in question shows Angelina Jolie’s character being drugged by the man she loves. He then removes her wings and steals her power. When Maleficent gets up, she’s broken, different and powerless.
Woolverton said that it would not only explain Maleficent’s actions but also explains why Maleficent is often mistaken as witch instead of a fairy.
“We were very conscious, the writer and I, that [ the controversial scene in question ] was a metaphor for rape,” Angelina Jolie said. “The core of [ Maleficent] is abuse, and how the abused have a choice of abusing others or overcoming and remaining loving, open people.”
Angelina Jolie was not indicating that abuse is an easy thing to overcome; just that perpetuating the cycle is something victims of abuse do have the power to stop.
Recently, Angelina Jolie, co-hosted the London summit with British foreign secretary William Hague. During the summit she spoke out against rape and sexual abuse, calling it one of the “great mass crimes” of today. Angelina told those gathered that “there is no disgrace in being a survivor of sexual violence.”
Angelina Jolie dedicated the summit to a rape victim she interviewed in Bosnia.
[ Image courtesy of Disney ]