Into the Woods is a musical about several fairy tale characters (Cinderella, Jack from Jack and the Beanstalk, The Little Red Riding Hood, etc.) and their innermost wishes.
The first half of the movie is all about the characters getting what they wished for. Mr. Baker and his wife desperately want a child, so they agree to go into the woods to collect four magical items for a witch so she may lift the curse of barrenness she placed on their family. Cinderella goes to the ball and meets Prince Charming. Jack got magic beans and access to a world of giants in the sky.
The second half of the movie deals with the consequences of getting what you wished for, which as we all know, can be quite unexpected. Prince Charming lacks substance; the baker’s wife got seduced by someone other than her husband; Jack pissed off the giants too much and now the whole Kingdom is in danger of being attacked by them.
Humans and their actions muddle things up, and everyone looks for someone to blame… namely, The Witch. Played by Meryl Streep, who was sensational, as always. All of the other actors were too, you could see how committed they were to bringing this play to the big screen. The singing was great, the way the stories mixed with each other was great, and the unexpected deaths and plot-twists served to bring deeper feeling to the overall light-hearted story.
What I most liked about this movie was the way it felt like a play, despite me watching it on my TV screen. It felt theatrical, and that, too, was great.
I recommend this movie to fans of fairy tales and classical fairy-tale characters, and, of course, to people who enjoy musicals.