In this reworking of Disney’s Sleeping Beauty (1959), an iconic villain receives her very own origin story. Beautiful fairy Maleficent (Angelina Jolie) lives a blissful life in her enchanted forest kingdom, The Moors. One day she meets a young boy, Stefan (Michael Higgins), who has accidentally wandered into her land and they become friends. As they grow older their childhood friendship blossoms into romance, and the teenage Stefan (Jackson Bews) gives Maleficent a gift of true love’s kiss before leaving her. Soon the peace of The Moors is threatened by the greed of a king (Kenneth Cranham). Maleficent, with her powerful wings and enchanted army, fiercely protects her land. However, the vanquished and dying king will not accept defeat and promises his succession to the one who can conquer the ‘wingèd creature’. At these words a young man in his court, a certain Stefan (Sharlto Copley), returns to his first love to commit a horrific act of betrayal in order to gain the crown.
Maleficent becomes consumed by hatred and anger for the wrong inflicted upon her. She bides her time until she hears that King Stefan has had a baby daughter. As the court celebrates the Christening of Princess Aurora (Elle Fanning), Maleficent makes her dramatic entrance and commits the ultimate act of revenge for Stefan’s betrayal. She curses his daughter so that on her sixteenth birthday she is doomed to prick her finger on a spinning wheel and fall asleep forever. The only thing that can break the curse is true love’s kiss.
The kingdom’s spinning wheels are destroyed and Aurora is sent away in the care of three incompetent fairies (Imelda Staunton, Juno Temple, Lesley Manville) to a place in which she is believed to be safe from harm. Little do they know that Maleficent is always nearby. As Aurora grows, Maleficent begins to question her actions and her icy heart starts to thaw. Is Aurora the one who can bring peace to The Moors? Is there such a thing as true love’s kiss, and can it undo the curse? And is Maleficent beyond redemption?