Attention, gamers — you may see a bit of yourself in the protagonist of Netflix’s new movie, Too Old for Fairy Tales, the Polish coming-of-age dramedy dropped last week on July 18 and recently cracked Netflix’s top 10 movies list.
Netflix’s recent track record on the movies side has been, well, mixed. The current No. 1 movie, The Gray Man, is already getting a sequel despite lackluster reviews. And the previous list topper, Persuasion, was ripped apart by critics.
Too Old for Fairy Tales (Za Duzy Na Bajki) isn’t quite at the level of those films, which feature big-name stars and had significant marketing campaigns. It’s a small, but sweet Polish-language project that integrate gaming and e-sports into a story that’s ultimately about family bonds.
What is Too Old for Fairy Tales about?
The movie follows a talented tween gamer named Waldek (Maciej Karas), who narrates his story: He’s an “e-athlete” who competes in Robot Rampage video game tournaments with his best friend Staszek (Patryk Siemek).
Waldek’s mom Tereska (Karolina Gruszka) is doing her best to raise him on her own. Frankly, she coddles him. However, she has cancer — which Waldek doesn’t know yet. When she has to go to a hospital for treatment, she leaves him with his Crazy Aunt Mariola (Dorota Kolak).
He totally does not understand her quirks and outright loathes the health and independence regimen she forces on him. Fudge is replaced by vegetables, computer time is sacrificed for bicycling and cleaning the bathroom.
Meanwhile, Waldek has a big Robot Rampage tournament to prepare for. He and Staszek have to recruit a third player … who might turn out to be a girl?!
But Waldek’s focus on the competition wavers, as he deals with a crush on Ant (Amelia Fijalkowska) and starts to figure out something is seriously wrong with his mom.
Too Old for Fairy Tales reviews
Too Old for Fairy Tales doesn’t even have a Rotten Tomatoes score (opens in new tab), as it has few reviews from critics for audience members.
Decider’s John Serba (opens in new tab) writes, “‘Nice’ is the strongest descriptor I can conjure for this movie, which is ever so slightly too meandering for its own good, and leans too heavily on cliches and familiarities.”
Roger Moore’s Movie Nation (opens in new tab) calls it “harmless, not utterly charmless.”
Romey Norton at Ready Steady Cut (opens in new tab) says, “With a nice, wholesome ending, overall this film is an easy, sweet, quirky watch. I’d recommend for younger audiences; some adults, mostly parents, might find parts to relate to.”
Common Sense Media’s Jennifer Borget (opens in new tab) writes, “While Too Old for Fairy Tales has an endearing plot, it takes a while to get to the good stuff. Waldek is really into video games, and that aspect might draw some viewers into the plot.”