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Parents' Guide to


By Jeffrey Anderson, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 16+

Unusual, uneven Western has violence, language, drinking.

Movie R 2018 113 minutes
Damsel Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

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Is It Any Good?

Our review:
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Kids say: Not yet rated

This very odd Western, which is peppered with dryly comical moments, is definitely out to thwart viewers' expectations. It succeeds nicely but only intermittently, as it often stretches its quirky moments a bit too far. Co-directed by David Zellner, whose Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter conjured up a similarly offbeat tone, and his brother Nathan, Damsel has at its center the Parson Henry character (played by David), who should probably be more appealing, but he's a little too pathetic. Likewise, the movie's humor is often a bit too queasy or slightly mistimed (on the long side).

Pattinson shows the courage of his convictions; he's not afraid to let his character look silly -- or plain lousy -- in various moments. But it's Wasikowska who comes out the best; her frontier woman is extremely firm and decisive, yet capable of tenderness. A character like hers is a rarity in the Western genre. The Zellners compliment her with their fine use of outdoor cinematography, pitched wide so as to capture the hardscrabble loneliness of this world. One sequence, in which Penelope finds a heart carved in tree bark within a grove, comes close to beautiful. But even so, Damsel is for adventurous viewers only.

Movie Details

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