Intrigo: Dear Agnes

Movie review by
Jeffrey M. Anderson, Common Sense Media
Intrigo: Dear Agnes Movie Poster Image
Chilly, slow murder story has violence and language.
  • R
  • 2020
  • 100 minutes

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Movie is mainly about using murder as a solution for life's problems. No real remorse or consequences.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Though two main characters are likable, they're difficult to admire. Agnes at least has doubts before agreeing to commit murder, but eventually proceeds down that path anyway.

Violence

Guns and shooting. Some blood shown.

Sex

Graphic sex scene shows a man thrusting on top of a woman. Partial bare breast shown. Extramarital affairs.

Language

Uses of "f--k," "s--t," "t-ts," "a--hole," and "arse," plus "Christ" (as an exclamation).

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Frequent social drinking (wine, tequila, etc.). Cigarette smoking.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Intrigo: Dear Agnes is the second movie in a trilogy of thrillers based on novels by Swedish author Hakan Nesser (the others are Intrigo: Death of an Author and Intrigo: Samaria). It centers on a murderous pact between two women. Violence includes guns, shooting, and some blood. A couple has fairly graphic sex, with the man thrusting on top; a partial bare breast is shown. Characters have extramarital affairs. Language includes uses of "f--k," "s--t," "a--hole," and more. Characters drink socially and smoke cigarettes. Like the other two entries in the trilogy, this one doesn't quite click; it's chilly, and the story's seams show.

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What's the story?

In INTRIGO: DEAR AGNES, Henny (Gemma Chan) is unhappily married to wealthy businessman Peter (Jamie Sives). She attends a funeral for the husband of an old childhood friend, teacher Agnes (Carla Juri). Agnes' husband was a wealthy older man, and while Agnes wants to keep their house, the man's grown children have inherited half of it. And they intend to sell unless Agnes can come up with a huge amount of cash. Henny reconnects with Agnes and tells her about her own troubles. Having seen Hitchcock's Strangers on a Train recently, Henny suggests a solution: Henny will provide the money if Agnes will kill Peter. Meanwhile, flashbacks to the women's childhood reveal a complex, troubled history between them.

Is it any good?

The second in a trilogy of murder mysteries based on novels by Swedish author Hakan Nesser, this one, like the others, suffers from chilliness of character and pacing; it never quite clicks. Like the first entry, Intrigo: Death of an Author, Intrigo: Dear Agnes lets its seams show. It appears to have been constructed backward from the conclusion. As a result, quite a few of the events of the first half make very little sense. The intended surprises result in a "what?" rather than a "wow!" Moreover, the male characters -- both Peter and Agnes' husband's son -- are specifically designed to be so hateful that they barely seem real.

The women fare better. Both Chan and Juri give believable performances, especially in the way that they allow their characters to age and mature from the flashbacks to the present. They go from giggly and carefree to burdened by the weight of the world. Yet Intrigo: Dear Agnes needed more than just these two interesting characters to work. Strangers on a Train lingers over everything, and the comparison between Hitchcock's nimble, crackling thriller and this leaden one is all too evident. Even Danny DeVito's comedy version of the same story, Throw Momma from the Train, has more life in it than this film does.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about Intrigo: Dear Agnesviolence. What violence is shown, and what's merely suggested or talked about? Are there consequences for committing acts of violence?

  • How are drinking and smoking depicted? Are they glamorized? Are there realistic consequences? Why does that matter?

  • How is sex depicted? What values are imparted?

  • What's appealing about murder stories? Why do you think so many good mysteries revolve around acts of violence?

  • How does this movie compare to the other two in the trilogy? How do they differ? How do they complement each other?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love thrills

Themes & Topics

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