St. Trinian's

Movie review by
Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media
St. Trinian's Movie Poster Image
Quirky British boarding-school comedy has iffy messages.
  • PG-13
  • 2009
  • 100 minutes

Parents say

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Kids say

age 12+
Based on 8 reviews

A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

Yes, the girls band together to keep their school from closing, but they all engage in preposterously inappropriate behavior -- like selling black-market vodka and brainstorming criminal acts like credit card fraud, robbery, kindapping, etc. It's obviously for laughs, but it's fairly consequence-free negative behavior nonetheless.

Positive Role Models & Representations

There aren't many positive role models in the movie, considering that the girls engage in illegal schemes and the teachers spend most of their time drunk or not paying attention to the girls, who pretty much do whatever they want at the school. In one sequence, the girls initiate a new student by videotaping her in the shower and uploading the video to the Web.

Violence

At the "worst school in Britain," girls are held by their ankles over stair rails, dragged around by farm equipment, etc. The younger girls make bombs for an elaborate heist that the students have concocted to steal a Vermeer painting. The phys ed skills include target shooting with semi-automatic weapons.

Sex

The school's "Posh Toddy" clique is overtly sexually aggressive, with the girls walking around in skimpy lingerie. The headmistress and the minister kiss and make love -- it's not graphic, but you do see his naked rear end.

Language

Mostly insults (some are British slang) like "silly cow," "whore," "shut up," "bloody hell," "toddy," and "Pikey."

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

All the teachers drink cocktails every day, and a couple are especially drunk. The first years (11-year-olds) run a black market vodka distillery out of the school.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this British boarding-school comedy will probably appeal most to teens who enjoy quirky and/or independent films -- though they won't find any positive role models or messages here. Although it's all played for laughs, the students engage in inappropriate behavior like selling black-market goods (including vodka) and coming up with illegal ways to save their school from ruin. There's also some salty language (though "hell" and "whore" are probably the worst of it), moderate sexuality (girls walk around in lingerie, and there's a brief glimpse of an adult man's naked bum), and a fair amount of drinking among the faculty.

User Reviews

There aren't any reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.

Kid, 10 years old April 17, 2010

FAB!

OMG funny!!! I love the twins, the 10 year olds! They're so funny!!! Yeah, there is a bit of swearing and you see a girl running around the corridors naked... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byleahxo August 15, 2011

Give Me Back My Two Hours.

To be honest, I was not even paying attention most of the time because I was dozing off to sleep. A complete waste of time.

What's the story?

Meet the young ladies of ST. TRINIAN'S, "the worst school in Britain." Unlike the posh (or magical, in the case of Hogwarts) British boarding schools that American audiences are used to, St. Trinian's is a scary place for girls gone wild. In this updated adaptation of Ronald Searles' cartoons about the humorously terrifying fictional school, straight-laced Annabelle (Talulah Riley) is being forced to attend St. Trinian's because it's run by her batty aunt Camilla (Rupert Everett in drag). It turns out that the minister of education (Colin Firth) wants to make an example of the failing school, which is deep in debt, but the girls formulate an elaborate scheme to swipe a famous Vermeer painting, sell it, and save St. Trinian's.

Is it any good?

A huge hit in the UK, St. Trinian's comedy translates fairly well across the pond, but a familiarity with British teens and colloquialisms helps. Of the girls, the clear stand out is Head Girl Kelly (Gemma Arterton, who played Strawberry Fields in The Quantum of Solace and is clearly headed for leading roles. But the movie is considerably bolstered by the supporting players (Everett, Firth, Russell Brand, and Stephen Fry) and a memorable soundtrack dominated by Lily Allen.  

The movie includes several inside jokes -- the best being the many references to Pride and Prejudice, which features Firth walking across a field wearing a sopping-wet white shirt. Everett's Camilla is an obvious but amusing dig at Prince Charles' wife, and Brand's Flash, a petty criminal who instructs the girls in the criminal arts, is, as always, creepily charming. U.S. teens may not get all of the English jokes, but it's always fun to see underdog misfits triumph.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the way British high school culture is depicted in the movie. Are there similar social castes and cliques in American high schools?

  • Boarding schools are a much bigger part of British society than American society. How are boarding schools depicted in most American movies?

  • Although the movie is a comedy, there are a lot of outlandishly negative messages about teenage behavior. What would the consequences of this kind of behavior (drinking, sexuality, etc.) be in real life?

Movie details

For kids who love quirky movies

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