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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Women should be treated as equals, as independent, thinking beings worthy of respect and public roles. The only ways out of family in the early 19th century for a woman were marriage or death, and marriage was often transactional. The best marriages are those based on love. "Don't let anyone tell you how to live or who to love."
Positive Role Models
Anne thinks for herself and speaks her mind. She cares about others, suggests that respectability should come from honesty, integrity, and compassion rather than wealth or nobility. Her father and shallow sisters think otherwise, are constantly scheming to climb the social ladder. Wentworth embodies the characteristics Anne mentions; he always tries to do the right thing.
Main characters are Black, White, and Asian, which is atypical for the story's early 19th century upper-class English setting. Anne is an early feminist within the constraints of the society she lives in.
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Violence & Scariness
A boy is carried back to the house crying after hurting his arm. A woman falls and hurts her foot; another falls and lands on concrete, suffering a serious concussion. Boys hit a woman with sticks in play. Talk of deaths.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Innuendo about finding male "company" and a suggestive use of the word "bushel." Women and men flirt and kiss.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Adults drink frequently. Anne often drinks alone, sometimes right out of the wine bottle. Mention of getting someone drunk.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Persuasion is an adaptation of Jane Austen's final completed novel that aims for a more modern feel than previous versions. Characters of color are featured in lead roles, which isn't typical for films set in early 19th century upper-class England. Plus, main character Anne (Dakota Johnson) is positioned as a feminist who spars intellectually with men and stands up for women's rights. The movie also has a few mature elements. Expect flirting, kissing, and innuendo. Adults, including Anne, drink. A boy injures his arm and has to be carried home crying. A woman falls, hits her head, and gets a serious concussion that takes months to heal. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
The imposition of anachronistic elements to modernize Jane Austen's novel ultimately undermines the story and characters. From a trendy exploitation of fourth-wall breaking to unsubtle sexual innuendo, modern-day music, and 21st century self-help speak, Persuasion doesn't seem content enough with its original material. This is a shame, and the excellent cast suffers for it; in fact, adding in a contemporary diversity is one modernization that does work well here. Johnson has the charisma and credibility to hold the camera's attention, but the snarky asides and forced complicity just don't fit with the character or the time period, otherwise faithfully crafted in beautiful settings and wardrobes. This is a mixed bag that could've been better.
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.