Angelina Jolie has confirmed that there was rape in “Maleficent.” The A-list star was speaking at the BBC Radio’s Woman’s Hour in live broadcast on Tuesday when she compared one disturbing scene in the Disney fantasy film to rape.
Spoiler alert! Don’t read further if you haven’t watched the film yet.
Before Maleficent (Jolie) became a vindictive villainess in the film, she was a carefree and genial fairy who was in love with a human boy. But the boy turned out to be ambitious enough to betray her trust.
Stefan (Sharlto Copley) was ordered by the mortally wounded King Henry to kill Maleficent, but when he found himself unable to take his childhood friend’s life, he drugged her instead and cut her wings off. Maleficent woke up the next morning in pain, horrified to learn that her wings were taken by her trusted friend.
Some viewers likened the stolen wings scene to rape, saying it is as violent and traumatic as a sexual assault. But because it is a Disney, kid-friendly film, the subject was only implied.
Jolie, a UN Special Envoy, addressed the said scene in her film, confirming that it was indeed about sexual violence.
“We are very conscious, the writer [Linda Woolverton] and I, that it was a metaphor for rape,” she said. “At a certain point, the question of the story is what could possibly bring her back?’”
She told BBC Radio, “The core of [‘Maleficent’] is abuse, and how the abused have a choice of abusing others or overcoming and remaining loving, open people.
The question was asked, ‘What could a woman become so dark? To lose all sense of her maternity, her womanhood, and her softness?’”
“Maleficent,” as Woolverton explained in a separate interview, is a reinvention, not just a retelling, of the classic fairy tale “Sleeping Beauty.”
The film, which also stars Elle Fanning as Aurora/Sleeping Beauty, has earned over U$349 million at the box office since it was released on May 30.