Parents' Guide to


By Tara McNamara, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 14+

Hamlet gets a feminist update, but violence stays the same.

Movie PG-13 2019 114 minutes
Ophelia Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 13+

Based on 4 parent reviews

age 11+

Superbly Performaned

Excellent. Superbly done in terms of the acting, script, soundtrack, originality, unique interpretation of the play and artistic presentation. It is not too violent, shows a limited and visually unclear sex scene after certain characters marry. Shows women being strong despite living in a very traditional and paternalistic era and despite strong opposition. Beautiful characters, costumes and decorations and an amazing reenactment of the Medieval era. Every child is different but I could definitely have watched it as a sensitive child. Guidance can be provided for any parts deemed sensitive for particular children. I agree as well that the interpretation here is better than that of the original and that it provides logical explanations for events in the Shakespeare version.

This title has:

Educational value
Great messages
Great role models
age 14+

A welcome addition to the Hamlet canon

The colors, the sets, the costumes...a joy to watch and feel the time period come alive and is believable. Watts and Riddle are tone perfect in all of their roles. Terrell as Horatio is another bright spot in this film as his confidante. Riddle wraps you up in her story and the re-imagining is thoughtful like Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead with a plasticity to the Hamlet story that Shakespeare's 5 Act tragedy needs. A welcome addition to the Hamlet canon.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (4):
Kids say (3):

Director Claire McCarthy gives Shakespeare's most misunderstood and debated character the story she deserves. Ophelia's role in Hamlet has created more questions than answers over the centuries: She's educated, but what is her role at the castle? Is Hamlet in love with her, or is he stringing her along? How does she go from a place of self-assurance to a point where she's harassed and bullied by her brother, her father, her lover, and his family in a way that seems to spark madness? Maybe in the year 1600, it all made sense to audiences, but for modern teens reading Shakespeare's classic tragedy, Ophelia's behavior is confusing. The only character who's equally enigmatic is Queen Gertrude.

McCarthy and writer Semi Chellas delightfully unravel both women's stories with a take that's redeeming and satisfying and makes a heck of a lot of sense. Just as we suspected, Ophelia is no dummy and definitely nobody's fool. She's got a spark that modern audiences can feel, and it's clear why Hamlet loves her -- and, for that matter, Gertrude. Interactions among the 14th-century courtiers can be as catty and cutthroat as high school, and Ophelia's MO of "observe, keep mum, and learn how to dodge and weave" is a lesson that might resonate with young audiences. Ophelia is far from Shakespeare canon, but it certainly is a step in empowering young women to know that even if history's greatest playwright saw women as throwaway characters, there's definitely more to the story.

Movie Details

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