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The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Fanny Lye Deliver'd is a brutal and relentlessly violent period piece, with graphic nudity and sex scenes, but one that comes with an empowering feminist undercurrent. The violence is frequent and graphic in its depiction. Characters stab each other and one character is shot in the face. There are also close-ups of a man with his eyes gouged out and someone having their throat slit. The graphic nature of the movie extends to the sex too, as we see full frontal shots of men and women, and in one scene we see an erect penis being masturbated. In contrast, the bad language is mostly on the mild side -- "arse" and "whore" are as extreme as it gets -- as is the alcohol consumption, though both do exist. Yet in spite of this all, the central character, Fanny (Maxine Peake) is a courageous and curious mother, who is fascinated by the changing landscape in society. The movie scrutinizes the oppression of women and positively anticipates the forthcoming change.
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What's the story?
FANNY LYE DELIVER'D is set on an isolated English farm in 1657, where Fanny (Maxine Peake) lives a quiet life with her oppressive husband John (Charles Dance) and their young son. One day their life is rocked with the arrival of young couple Thomas (Freddie Fox) and Rebecca (Tanya Reynolds) who claim to have been robbed and need a place to stay. But are these strangers really who they say they are?
Is it any good?
By setting this movie shortly after the English Civil War -- a period that saw many changes -- director Thomas Clay has the perfect backdrop for this quietly powerful film. The violence is graphic, as are some of the sex scenes -- the cast clearly didn't have a "no nudity" clause in their contracts -- but the messages about female empowerment and awakening are subtle, yet attention-grabbing.
Peake, as always, is sublime in the lead role. She brings such depth and nuance to the character, which is commendable as she doesn't have an awful lot of dialogue to express herself. Though she does narrate proceedings, bringing the brilliant screenplay to life, which was also written by Clay. If that wasn't enough, it should be noted the talented director composed the score too, which is haunting and, like the time period portrayed, oppressive. Fanny Lye Deliver'd is an unconventional film though, and certainly not for everyone, especially younger audiences.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the violence in Fanny Lye Deliver'd. Do the violent scenes help tell the story in an effective way? Is it shocking or thrilling? Why? Does exposure to violent media desensitize kids to violence?
Discuss the graphic sex scene and nudity in the movie. Did it feel gratuitous? How much is OK to show in movies, TV, or other media?
The movie is about the oppression of women. How important is it that both genders are awarded the freedom of their minds and bodies in the modern era? Are you surprised to see how difficult it was to be a women in this time?
Is the movie scary? What's the appeal of scary movies?
Talk about the period of British history depicted in the movie. Did you know much about it? What did you find interesting about it? Would you like to learn more about this period?
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