Flawless

 
(i)

 

Retro London heist caper may not interest kids.
  • Review Date: June 2, 2008
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 2008
  • Running Time: 108 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Extensive discussion of '60s-era sexism in the workplace, with Moore's character noting her mother's advice that "beating the boys won't make you popular or happy." Being passed over at work because of her gender directly leads to Laura's participation in Hobbs' scheme. Some discussion of South Africa's apartheid regime and the political ramifications of the diamond trade. Extensive discussion of divisions between white-collar executives and the working class, and how that can lead to bitter resentment. The film's ultimate message, while heavy-handed, is a positive one.

Violence

One character is threatened with a gun; another suffers a heart attack that culminates in their collapse.

Sex

Extensive discussion of sexism in the '60s workplace; at one point, a male co-worker clearly appreciates the view when Moore walks past. Some flirting.

Language

One use of "f--king," one "piss," and the phrase "cock-up," in its British slang meaning of "debacle."

Consumerism

The only brand named in the film -- London Diamond Corp. -- is fictional.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Constant cigarette smoking and alcohol consumption, mostly for period effect; there's no mention of long-term consequences.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that although this '60s-set heist drama is relatively tame from a content perspective (aside from the nonstop smoking and drinking meant to evoke the earlier era), it probably won't interest most kids. Its message is a double-edged sword: Sexism and classism are vanquished ... through criminal activity. There's also extensive discussion of whether Moore's character is sacrificing "happiness" (a relationship, children, etc.) in order to succeed at business, as well as a lot of material about the dirty business of pretty things -- how diamonds are mined by the poor and sold to the rich. That said, the movie has virtually no sexual content, and strong language is also infrequent.

Kids say

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What's the story?

In present-day London, a young reporter interviews Laura Quinn (Demi Moore) about her experience as a female executive during the '60s in the male-dominated world of diamond sales and acquisitions. Laura puts a diamond the size of a chicken egg on the table; the movie then flashes back to the past, where her movement up the corporate ladder is stalled due to her gender -- and where friendly janitor Mr. Hobbs (Michael Caine) makes an unusual proposition. He suggests combining Laura's position and privilege with his access to the building -- with the aim of taking just a few diamonds from the basement storage vaults. It's a simple plan ... but, of course, things don't go as planned.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

FLAWLESS is a perfectly fine caper film that's undermined by the framing device and moral lesson surrounding it; Moore's clumsy old-age make-up is distracting, and the film's ultimate message feels tacked on and superfluous. The best thing in the film is Caine; who could have imagined that one of the screen's biggest hams would have turned into such a subtle, sly old pro late in his career? Moore is also good -- in the '60s scenes, Laura has a nice mix of toughness and vulnerability, and while there's a hint of romance in the air when handsome investigator Mr. Finch (Lambert Wilson) asks questions about the theft, Moore gets to be defined by who she is, not by the men around her.

Director Michael Radford shoots the heist material with cool competence; making it even more of a shame that he didn't cut screenwriter Edward A. Anderson's clumsy, clunky modern-day sequences that book-end the retro cool of Moore and Caine's unlikely (and unstable) partnership in crime. The film's smoke-wreathed, tweed-clad style looks great, but the best reason to see Flawless is ultimately Caine's top-notch work as Hobbs.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the curious logic of many heist films -- can, in fact, two wrongs ever make a right? Families can also discuss sexism in the workplace, past and present, as well as questions of class, capitalism, and consumerism (think of the movie as a mix of 9 to 5 and Oceans Eleven, set in '60s London). Is it right that Hobbs is largely invisible to his employers? Or that Laura is routinely passed over for promotion? Also, why is it that caper/heist films -- which usually involve detailed, intricate schemes to steal -- are so engaging and popular?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:March 27, 2008
DVD release date:June 2, 2008
Cast:Demi Moore, Lambert Wilson, Michael Caine
Director:Michael Radford
Studio:Magnolia Pictures
Genre:Drama
Run time:108 minutes
MPAA rating:PG-13
MPAA explanation:brief strong language.

This review of Flawless was written by

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Quality

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Parent of a 14 year old Written byTsion July 10, 2009
 

An Engaging Caper...

FLAWLESS is a very good movie for adults and teens. It's probably okay for preteens too, but they might be bored by it, since it is set up much like a Hitchcock thriller instead of James Bond. There is one "f**k" in addition to one "d**n" and one "piss". There is lots of drinking and smoking, though none of it is promoted. Though both of the main characters have motives for stealing the diamonds (he becuase of his late wife and her because of her mistreatment by co-workers), make sure kids understand that that doesn t make it right.
What other families should know
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking

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