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What Netflix's 'The Knight Before Christmas' Gets Wrong (and Right)

By Kate Hudson | Film | November 29, 2019 |

By Kate Hudson | Film | November 29, 2019 |


I had already composed this post in my mind 5,000 times and decided that these thoughts were so profound, so special, that they had to be shared with you now. I am, of course, talking about the Netflix movie The Knight Before Christmas, about a time-traveling Knight played by Josh Whitehouse, who inexplicably goes from 1300s England to 2019 Ohio, which happens more than you’d expect. Ohio is a hotbed for time-traveling activity. Just ask Halle Berry (bet you didn’t know she was from Ohio.) Oh, did I mention that Vanessa Hudgens is there, also, in 2019? I feel like I didn’t but now I did, so you have your bases covered. Obviously love ensues because that’s what happens in these sorts of movies.

As someone who prides themselves on being an expert in time travel, I have a few bones to pick with this movie, and a few kudos to give as well, because they did do some things right.

First, let’s get to what’s wrong.

Knights Aren’t Like That

Let’s discuss Sir Cole (who I thought most of the time was being referred to as Sir Cool and I was down for that and kind of wished it was my nickname, too.) One of the first things he does when he encounters Brooke once he’s in modern-day is to ask to take a damn bath. Uh, what?

Per my friends over at Ancient History Encyclopedia, that really wasn’t a thing for people in 14th century England:

Indeed, with baths seen as a luxury given the cost of fuel to heat the water, monks, for example, were typically prohibited from taking more than two or three baths in a year.

I also, sincerely doubt, Sir Cole would have such great teeth, either.

Furthermore, Sir Cole probably wouldn’t have had such…refined manners, let’s say, as a Medieval-ologist explains (that’s totally a word, and not something I just made up, btw):

Kaeuper says few medieval texts describing chivalry warned against burning or looting towns or raping common women. That style of warfare was still endemic during the Hundred Years’ War of the 14th and 15th centuries, when England and France fought each other, laying waste to the countryside.

So basically, if you ever find yourself coming across a handsome, pleasant smelling dude who is being nice to you and says he’s a knight, he’s probably faking being a time traveler, you’re dealing with a Bill and Ted situation where he may have come from the past but he’s probably from the present (or future,) or he’s trying to sell you discount tickets to Medieval Times. However, if you come across a dude with terrible teeth, stinks a lot, and is trying to burn the 7-11 down while screaming about heretics and slatterns, chances are he is a time traveler, and you should go ahead and try to fall in love with him as the movie encourages.

Old Ladies in the Woods Are Like That

Look, I’m about to give you some very good advice, so please listen carefully. You should never, ever, ever be rude to old people in the woods. Like, ever. Chances are, they are magical beings who can one hundred percent make your life a living hell, or make you travel in time. That’s just science.

Furthermore, this ethos needs to extend to animals you encounter in the woods, too. I can’t tell you how often I’ve encountered the prince of frogs while wandering the forrest, who offered me magic beans in exchange for a favor. You never want to piss the prince of any animal kind off, because they can make your life miserable. Trust me on this one.

Personally, I think The Knight Before Christmas moved the discourse about old people in the woods being magical and what not ahead more than any other film this year—and that’s something we should seriously be talking about because it can save lives (and hearts), people.

Anyway, if you’re looking for verisimilitude in your time-traveling knight movies, you need to look elsewhere from this film, but if you’re looking for an accurate depiction of what it’s like to run into an old lady in the woods and have her be a magical being, this is absolutely the film you need this holiday season. Just remember to take a lot of notes, you’ll want to revisit this subject time and time again.

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Kate is a staff contributor. You can follow her on Twitter.

Header Image Source: Netflix