A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
The struggles in caring for family and loved ones. Striving for self-improvement. Attempting to decide what to do with your life, although this is portrayed as being messy and difficult.
Positive Role Models
Edward, Patricia, and Cynthia are all polite and courteous, but also repressed and struggle to confront their family's issues. Edward wants to travel to Africa to help others. Rose is polite and professional even when her employers are difficult to deal with. Christopher tries to offer advice on life and painting in his capacity as an art teacher.
Gender balance among the main cast, but the characters are predominantly White and middle class. Some portrayal of mental health issues. Non-professional actors among the main cast.
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Violence & Scariness
Characters hunt for food. Gunshots heard. Conversations about HIV and AIDS. Some heated shouting.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Character strips to underwear when changing for bed. Kissing and flirting. Discussion of sex and contraception.
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Language used includes "f--k," "f---ing," and "s--t."
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Products & Purchases
The main characters are from a family wealthy enough to hire a private chef for their holiday. Other characters are from privileged backgrounds and discuss traveling. They eat well and are catered for by private staff, while one character hires a local artist for painting lessons.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Characters drink alcohol socially and in moderation. One character smokes cigarettes.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Archipelago is a British drama that explores themes around family relationships, and has occasional strong language, some smoking, and drinking. The story follows Patricia (Kate Fahy) and her two children, Cynthia (Lydia Leonard) and Edward (Tom Hiddleston), during their holiday to a small island off the south coast of England. The main characters are all polite and courteous, but clash over seemingly trivial matters and display signs that they are repressed and traumatized. They are portrayed as being well off, hiring private staff and tutors to make their holiday enjoyable. This includes private chef, Rose (Amy Lloyd), who is from a less privileged background. Edward appears to be slightly uneasy at his family's tendency to hire help and is shown to be compassionate. Cynthia, in contrast, is occasionally abrupt and entitled. However, it's hinted at that her defensiveness may be caused by depression and anxiety. There is partial nudity when one character changes their clothes and some use of the word "f--k." One character smokes and there is some drinking, including champagne at lunch, but it is always in moderation. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
The second movie from British writer-director Joanna Hogg is a quiet study in family dynamics where repression and resentment scream silently in almost every scene. Archipelago's minimal "story" is a fly-on-the-wall observation of a short, island break that's supposed to be the official send-off for Edward (Tom Hiddleston) before he heads to Africa to raise awareness about HIV and AIDS. The film's minimal dialogue and the distance at which its keeps its characters from the audience may be frustrating for some. But those who can adjust to its unhurried pace will quickly be drawn in by something else. Edward, his exhausted mother Patricia (Kate Fahy), and passive-aggressive sister Cynthia (Lydia Leonard) all appear to be carrying a very personal pain with them that they can't or won't articulate, save for a couple of explosive, one-sided rows that we hear erupt through the thin walls of their holiday home.
In lesser hands, these characters would be little more than over-privileged caricatures suffering from middle-class problems. Hogg finds a way to make her isolated and unsympathetic leads compelling, though. Hiddlestone, in particular, shines as Edward, portraying him with a fumbling lack of self-awareness. The symbolism of Archipelago's title is another ever-present. As the movie ends, the family remains like the surrounding landscape: a series of islands set in place, battered but unmoved by the elements.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.
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