Parents' Guide to


By Jeffrey Anderson, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 18+

Great lead performance, but very mature, graphic content.

Movie R 2016 130 minutes
Elle Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

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

Community Reviews

age 17+

Based on 2 parent reviews

age 17+

Great ambiguous performances!

A film unlike others. Difficult to ascertain what line it tries to walk and whether it is a story of female empowerment or seeped in male gaze, or all of it. Everyone plays ambiguity well! It's ambiguity is how it succeeds in its storytelling and in engaging the audience. Intense performances and unashamedly confrontational. An interesting, violent woven tale.
age 16+

For mature, smart teens

This is a great, often infuriating film that the mature, thoughtful teenager will appreciate. Young women may especially benefit from the questions it raises about feminism and "likable" female characters. It is less of a straight forward plot driven thriller and more a comedy of manners. Also, the protagonist's motivations are complex, but are obscured by Huppert's performance, so be prepared for a conversation after viewing.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (2):
Kids say (1):

Director Paul Verhoeven's first movie in French features an elegant, powerful Isabelle Huppert; she adds weight to what's really a pretty basic, stretched-out story filled with sex and violence. The Dutch filmmaker (Basic Instinct, Showgirls) spent a couple of decades in Hollywood, making English-language movies that seemed trashy and sensational. Interestingly, now that he's working in French, the material somehow seems less shocking and more thoughtful.

Verhoeven is already known for pushing the boundaries of onscreen depravity, but when the furor dies down, it's clear that he tries to go deeper, hoping to expose hypocrisy and showing how symbols and representations can be turned upside down. In Elle, for example, a house decorated with a huge Christmas Nativity scene actually hides something much darker. But while certain images and ideas are powerful, it's not hard to solve the movie's big mystery, and the wrap-up is a bit rushed and tidy for the movie's 130-minute running time. Still, Huppert's icy, slightly cracked performance is strong -- and a big reason for the movie's overall success.

Movie Details

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