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The Secret of Moonacre (2008)

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A 13-year-old girl (played by The Golden Compass' Dakota Blue Richards) discovers that she is the only hope for banishing an ancient curse from a magical kingdom in director Gabor Csupo's ... See full summary »


Gabor Csupo


Lucy Shuttleworth (screenplay by), Graham Alborough (screenplay by) | 1 more credit »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Dakota Blue Richards ... Maria Merryweather
Juliet Stevenson ... Miss Heliotrope
Tim Curry ... Coeur De Noir
Tamás Tóth Tamás Tóth ... Vicar
Augustus Prew ... Robin De Noir
György Szathmári György Szathmári ... Lawyer (as György Szatmari)
Natascha McElhone ... Loveday
Ioan Gruffudd ... Sir Benjamin Merryweather / Sir Wrolf Merryweather
George Mendel George Mendel ... Priest (as György Mendel)
Michael Webber Michael Webber ... Digweed
Szabolcs Csák Szabolcs Csák ... Henry
Lurko Lurko ... Wrolf the Dog
Zoltán Markovits Zoltán Markovits ... David
Marcell Tóth Marcell Tóth ... Richard
Zoltán Barabás Kis Zoltán Barabás Kis ... Dulac (as Zoltán Barabás Kiss)


A 13-year-old girl (played by The Golden Compass' Dakota Blue Richards) discovers that she is the only hope for banishing an ancient curse from a magical kingdom in director Gabor Csupo's adaptation of author Elizabeth Goudge's 1946 children's book The Little White Horse.

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Based on the best selling book "The Little White Horse." See more »

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for some mild peril and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »



Hungary | UK | France | Australia | USA | New Zealand



Release Date:

6 February 2009 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

De maanprinses en het geheim van het witte paard See more »

Filming Locations:

Budapest, Hungary See more »


Box Office


$32,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

£308,099 (United Kingdom), 8 February 2009, Limited Release
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs




Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Was originally slated for a 2008 release. See more »


When Miss Heliotrope is saying goodbye to Maria Merryweather as she sets off for the forest on her horse with the rabbit in her lap, in three successive shots the rabbit changes position each time in her lap as she leaves. See more »


Robin De Noir: I promised I would listen to you, and I have.
Maria Merryweather: Robin you have to help me, you have to!
Robin De Noir: [grabs her by the shoulders] You are a Merryweather!
[lets her go]
Robin De Noir: ... right now I ought to kill you.
Maria Merryweather: Kill me and the whole valley dies with me! You and I can stop it and we only have until moon-rise, tonight!
Maria Merryweather: ...I'm still listening.
See more »

Crazy Credits

When the credits have finished, Digweed says: "that'll be the end, then, folks". See more »


Version of Moonacre (1994) See more »


Written by Christian Henson and Caroline Lost
Performed by SKYE
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Very little is done beyond this to help Moonacre feel like a tale of its own.
6 July 2009 | by OtobokeSee all my reviews

Fairy tales are movies that either sink or swim when it comes to the silver screen, based upon the merits of their story and the characters that exist to propel the fantasy past the absurd and into the tangibly real. The Secret of Moonacre is unfortunately an example of absurdist fairytale done with little restraint or tact; the story is robust with cliché devices, the characters flat and cursed with banal dialogue, and the backstory, costume designs, production—everything just falls far short of what you may come to expect fro productions of this nature. To be fair, there are certain elements inherent to Csupo's outing here that borders on mildly entertaining if only for the references that they make to other works, yet such moments are far and few between and never truly dispel the sour taste of hackneyed amateurism that permeates the majority of Moonacre's ridiculously generic universe.

At its core, The Secret of Moonacre strives to be part adventure fairytale and part whimsy comedy stitched together with undercooked themes of pride, corruption and the power of love to overcome all shadows of the human heart. Ostensibly, this mix has all the elements to make for an enjoyable family feature, yet burdened with a plodding pace and characters that never come off the screen in any manner, the Secret of Moonacre is a dull one. Centring around young teenage girl Maria (Dakota Blue Richards) as she moves into her extravagant and eccentric uncle's mansion in the Middle of Nowhere Forest under the protection of nanny Miss Heliotrope (Juliet Stevenson who serves as a trite source of comic relief every now and then with her biggest character trait being an impromptu belch), Goudge's story is one built upon established ground-works for any old fantasy tale. Sure, fair enough—there's nothing wrong with building upon already tried and tested methods—yet very little is done beyond this to help Moonacre feel like a tale of its own.

Perhaps the greatest and most obvious detractive trait inherent to Alborough's adaptation however is simply through its writing which seems to go through the motions at each and every turn. The result is a feature that plods along through countless cliché and predictable contrivances to the point where all fantastical elements are lost within the generic gloop that is the whole backstory and focus point of Moonacre's world. About half way into the movie, it should be no surprise then that the production boils down to one of absurd ridicule—without the feeling of otherworldly mysticism to back up all the theatrical dialogue, sets and costumes, Csupo neglects his feature to being bland and utterly forgettable in spite of its striking visuals and over-the-top performances. In fact, with the exception of perhaps Ioan Gruffudd , the majority of the acting ensemble here feel just as disconnected to the story's fantasy as everything else does. It's not just bad—it's distracting and downright laughable when any sort of tension or conflict is pushed down the throat with little to no tangible reason to believe in it.

Yet this neglect to raising the suspension of disbelief is what ultimately stops The Secret of Moonacre from ever truly coming off the screen. Perhaps with a greater budget, some bigger stars and a re-write or two, Csupo could have made something more than a sporadically pretty treat for the senses, yet as it stands nothing of the sort of achieved throughout its bumbling and overly melodramatic runtime. This in turn makes recommending Moonacre a lost cause; young females may be able to enjoy all the unicorns, pretty dresses and coy humour to the extent that everything else is ignored, yet even this assertion serves as a broad test of the imagination—which is ironically more than Csupo manages here through his excruciatingly mundane two hour exercise in creating yet another Pedestrian Fantasy By Numbers.

  • A review by Jamie Robert Ward (http://www.invocus.net)

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