Anna (2019)

Movie review by
Jeffrey M. Anderson, Common Sense Media
Anna (2019) Movie Poster Image
Violent, escapist action has a strong female lead.
  • R
  • 2019
  • 119 minutes

Parents say

age 17+
Based on 3 reviews

Kids say

age 16+
Based on 2 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

The movie is mostly about a quest for "freedom," which is defined (for the main character, at least) as not having to be under the control of anyone else. Otherwise, the movie is mainly about an endless string of killing in your country's name.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Anna is a strong, powerful woman, but she never truly feels free or like her own woman (it's a goal she works toward throughout the movie). She's also a relentless killer, and she can be seen as representing an unrealistic female body image.

Violence

Strong martial arts violence, with hitting, kicking, stabbing, slicing, impaling. Lots of guns, shooting, blood. Characters are shot, with blood spurts. Car crashes. Dead bodies. Pools of blood. Severed head in a box. Character swallows suicide drugs. Elderly character with bloody face locked in car trunk. Woman bashed in head. A character slices her own wrist, yielding a puddle of blood. Someone is beaten with a camera.

Sex

Anna has sex with two men at different times; thrusting shown. She's topless in one scene, wears lingerie and revealing/tight clothing throughout. Passionate kissing. Stripping clothes off, heavy breathing. Scene of a man and two women together in bed. Sex talk. Reference to prostitution.

Language

Strong language, with several uses of "f--k," "s--t," "t-ts," "bitch," "hell," "idiot," "pr--k," "Christ" (as an exclamation).

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Supporting character chain-smokes cigarettes. Some social drinking, champagne, etc. Dialogue about buying beer, "getting high."

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Anna is a sleek, violent action movie from director Luc Besson (The Fifth Element) about a KGB assassin (supermodel Sasha Luss). Expect lots of intense martial arts violence, with punching, kicking, stabbing, slicing, and impaling. You'll see dead bodies and lots of blood, guns and shooting, car chases/crashes, and more. Anna is topless in one scene, sometimes wears revealing lingerie, and has sex with more than one partner. There are also scenes of passionate kissing, heavy breathing, clothes being ripped off, and a man in bed with two women. Characters talk about sex, and prostitution is referenced. Language is strong throughout, with uses of "f--k," "s--t," "t-ts," and more. A supporting character chain-smokes cigarettes, social drinking is shown, and there's a reference to getting high. Anna is a strong, powerful woman, but she's also a relentless killer, and she never truly feels free.

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User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byUgzilla February 4, 2020

Adult movies are for adults, imo

Not a very compelling movie; recycled story, told in a clumsy manner, average acting at best.
Nudity, foul language, drug use, not a movie for kids at all in my... Continue reading
Parent of a 10 and 13-year-old Written byMichael T. January 10, 2020
Teen, 14 years old Written byExiled Universe September 24, 2019

An OK action and spy movie but still has major problems.

So when i saw the trailer i thought it was gonna be great and on the same level as john wick and atomic blonde and my expectations were very high. Then i watche... Continue reading
Kid, 11 years old March 8, 2020

TERRIBLE

If you've seen my other reviews you'll know I usually rate things way lower than Common sense media does. But this time I'm rating it higher. Ann... Continue reading

What's the story?

In ANNA, Anna Poliatova (Sasha Luss) is discovered selling Russian nesting dolls in an outdoor market and becomes a successful model. But, as one of her suitors discovers too late, she's also a highly trained assassin for the KGB. Anna's story leaps back and forth in time, covering her humble beginnings as the miserable girlfriend of a low-life thief and her initial recruitment by Alex Tchenkov (Luke Evans), with whom she forms a romantic attachment. Her first assignment goes badly, but her superior, Olga (Helen Mirren), reluctantly decides to give her a second chance. Anna also crosses paths with American CIA agent Lenny Miller (Cillian Murphy), which again changes her fate. In the end, Anna just wants to be free of it all, but she must concoct an exceedingly clever plan to make that happen.

Is it any good?

Writer/director Luc Besson returns with another action movie that prizes swift economy and slick entertainment over depth and meaning, but centers on a powerful, strong leading woman. Anna reunites the director with supermodel Luss, who previously appeared as a princess in Besson's underappreciated Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets. Unlike many models-turned-actresses, Luss is quite commanding and relatable on-screen. She manages Anna's complexly choreographed action scenes with grace and skill and effectively conveys the sheer overwhelming exhaustion of her situation.

Besson tries to get clever with his time-flipping screenplay, which throws viewers back and forth to various moments between the mid-1980s and the early 1990s. While the device is somewhat silly -- and nowhere near as effective as it is in, say, Pulp Fiction -- it actually does help keep a measure of mystery around the character. In the cast, Mirren is plenty of fun, chewing the scenery as a curt, unforgiving veteran KGB agent, and the two main male characters (Evans and Murphy) are understandably smitten with Anna. Anna may run a little too long (it's not as smartly compact as Besson's terrific Lucy), but it looks great, moves beautifully, and feels like total, successful escapism.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about Anna's violence. How did it make you feel? Was it shocking or thrilling? How did the filmmakers achieve this effect?

  • Is Anna a role model? What are her strengths? Where could she improve? Does she have agency? Why does that matter?

  • How does the movie depict sex? What values are imparted? How do they compare to your own values regarding sex and relationships?

  • What is the type of freedom that Anna seeks? Is such freedom possible? Do you feel free?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love thrills and strong female characters

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