La Femme Nikita

Movie review by
Carly Kocurek, Common Sense Media
La Femme Nikita Movie Poster Image
Beware Nikita. Not for kids.
  • R
  • 1991
  • 117 minutes

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages
Violence

Several shootings and murders. Nikita stabs one of her captors in the hand with an ink pen.

Sex
Language

Swearing occurs throughout the film.

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this film is about a trained government assassin. As such, it includes several assassinations, close-range shootings, fights, and other violence. The film also includes two relationships: One is the problematic relationship between Nikita and her trainer Bob, the other is a sweet romance between Nikita and Marco. The film raises troubling questions about the ethics of governmental agencies.

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What's the story?

After Nikita (Anne Paurillard) kills a police officer while committing a robbery with some drug-addicted friends, the government trains her as an assassin. She spends two years with mentor Bob (Tcheky Karyo) at a school for special operatives. Released into the outside world, Nikita meets and falls in love with Marco (Jean-Hugues Anglade), a grocery store clerk. Just when her life seems to come together, she gets a call that could threaten everything.

Is it any good?

Director Luc Besson crafts a visually rich environment, utilizing a brooding, noir-ish aesthetic. Anne Paurillard's portrayal of a career-criminal turned special agent is inspired, and the tension between Bob and Nikita is intoxicating. However, that a character as fierce and beautiful as Nikita is "saved" by a fairly traditional romantic plotline seems more than a bit of a letdown. Sum total, though, there are few action films that are as well crafted as LA FEMME NIKITA (not to mention that feature a strong female lead). Despite its high production values, parents should know that due to the amount of sex and violence included in the film, this movie is inappropriate for children under seventeen. (in French with English subtitles)

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the gender implications of Nikita's character. According to her training, being graceful and pretty is considered integral to her new role as an assassin. Why would this be the case with a female assassin versus a male one? What aspects of the romantic tension between Nikita and Bob might seem problematic? Nikita's relationship with Marco ultimately enables her to escape her duties to the state. How might this contradict the independent nature of her character?

Movie details

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