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'The Addams Family': Movie Review

Movieguide Magazine


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Though presented as a family movie, THE ADDAMS FAMILY requires significant discernment as the popular dark family deals with the ins and outs of raising children and dealing with extended family members.

The movie opens with the wedding of Gomez and Morticia, which is crashed by angry people who call the Addams “monsters” and want the family out of their community. Hurt by years of misunderstanding, Gomez and Morticia flee to the darkest place they know: New Jersey.

On the road to New Jersey, it’s implied that the new couple may be enjoying some romance when their car, driven by a hand named Thing, hits an escaped mental asylum patient named Lurch. When Lurch comes back to life a la Frankenstein’s monster, the couple hands him their luggage and make their way to the abandoned asylum, which will now be their new home.

The couple starts a family in the asylum which is a haunted mansion, welcoming children Wednesday and Pugsley. Wednesday has nooses in her braids and sleeps in a guillotine. Pugsly is obsessed with explosive devices. Now, 13 years after the Addams left “the old country” for New Jersey, it’s time for the extended family to come to their home for Pugsley’s mamushka, a traditional sword dance meant to demonstrate that a boy can protect his family.

As the rest of their extended family journeys to join them at the asylum, they must cross through Assimilation, a bright, happy town down the mountain from the Addams’ family mansion. The message of the aptly named Assimilation is clear: Why be different when everyone can be the same? There’s even a song about it.

Margaux Needler, the town’s developer, wants to destroy the Addams’ family home, claiming the haunted house will affect her sales. Meanwhile, Margaux’s daughter, Parker, befriends Wednesday. Parker and Wednesday use their newfound friendship to terrify their respective mothers, with Parker becoming Goth, and Wednesday donning a pink outfit.

THE ADDAMS FAMILY movie may be about family at its core, but audience members may have a hard time pushing through the darkness to discern some redeeming values. The animated movie is clever, albeit often disturbing, in multiple scenes. Morticia wears ashes as makeup on her wedding day. Wednesday decapitates dolls. Pugsley wants to blow up everything in his path. Yet, patriarch Gomez believes in and encourages his children to show kindness to strangers and honor their family values. The melancholy humor distracts from light moral values, including honoring family and tradition. Some plot points could be considered moral, such as being kind to strangers and forgiving those who have hurt you, but there are also some Romantic and politically correct elements about living one’s own truth. The movie also contains significant pagan/occult elements, including one scene where Morticia conducts a séance to speak with her dead parents. So, despite the light positive elements, MOVIEGUIDE® advises extreme caution and discretion for older teenagers and adults.

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About The Author

MOVIEGUIDE® was founded in 1985 by Dr. Ted Baehr, past president of the Episcopal Radio & Television Foundation and former director of the Television Center at the City University of New York. MOVIEGUIDE® is affiliated with the Christian Film & Television Commission® ministry (CFTVC). Both MOVIEGUIDE® and CFTVC are dedicated to redeeming the values of the entertainment industry, according to biblical principles, by influencing industry executives and artists and by informing and educating the public about the influence of the entertainment media and about how to train their families to become