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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Encourages honesty, open communication (even though misunderstandings do fuel some of the plot), and following your heart, even when it's difficult. Celebrates women having successful careers and positive friendships.
Positive Role Models
Wren is ambitious, smart, dedicated, and a loyal friend. Owen is intelligent and compassionate. The cast includes some diverse representations: The main characters are White and straight, but supporting characters are Black, Latinx, Asian, and LGBTQ+.
Violence & Scariness
A woman falls, breaks her leg, and has to go to the hospital.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Jokes about hooking up. It's implied that a couple's frazzled appearance is due to them having had sex in an office. A couple of actors wear very small bikinis. Characters make sexual innuendos and references to hooking up.
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Infrequent: "a--hole," "ass," "beeyotch," "sucks," "pompous jerk," "garbage," "jackass."
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Products & Purchases
Lots of Apple products: MacBook, iPhone, iPad, AirPods.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Adults drink at various dinners, bars, and parties: mostly champagne, wine, beer, and cocktails.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Modern Persuasion is an updated adaptation of Jane Austen's novel Persuasion. It stars Alicia Witt as the Anne Elliot character, here called Wren, and Shane McRae as Capt. Wentworth stand-in Owen. This take on the story isn't quite as tween-friendly as previous adaptations: There's a bit of language ("ass," "a--hole," "beeyotch") and lots of drinking by adults at parties, dinners, and bars. Sexual innuendo and references to hooking up are more overt as well. There's no violence, per se, but one character's injury requires hospitalization. While main characters are White and straight, the supporting cast offers diverse representations, including Black, Latinx, Asian, and LGBTQ+ characters. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
This flat Austen update is a missed opportunity to bring the author's oldest, most mature heroine to a new generation of viewers. While it makes sense that Wren (the Anne Elliot character) would be a thirtysomething career woman second-guessing her long-ago decision not to accept Owen's (the Wentworth stand-in) proposal to follow her to California when they were in their twenties, other elements of Modern Persuasion seem too thinly connected to the material. There's little left here about class snobbery and social mores; instead, this version is a standard second-chance romance with a few familiar plot points (like a pretty younger friend's injury and a best friend mourning the loss of his fiancee). The only imaginative part of the update is the conversation that Wren has with Sam (Dominic Rains), the Benwick of this version. Rather than discuss and quote melancholy Romantic poets, they have an entire conversation about the depressing poetry of New Wave musicians like The Smiths, Joy Division, and the Cure.
That one wink-wink nod to Generation X audiences aside, the movie is an underwhelming interpretation of Austen's book. Those interested in the story would be much better off watching the 1995 adaptation with Amanda Root and Ciaran Hinds -- or, better yet, the 2007 BBC version with Sally Hawkins and Rupert Penry-Jones. At the very least, the directors of Modern Persuasion manage to include the name Wentworth (Wren's beloved cat) and a few lines from the famous love letter that Wentworth writes to Anne: "You pierce my soul. I am half agony, half hope." Owen is right -- that really is one of the best love letters in literary history. Although the filmmakers do get a nod for featuring a diverse cast, the movie itself lacks the emotional gravity of previous adaptations.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.