A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Curiosity, perseverance, and confidence are major themes. As is never giving up on your dreams, no matter how hard or unrealistic they may seem. How determination and hard work produces rewards. Not letting your sex or gender get in the way of your goals.
Positive Role Models
Clarice is a determined individual who doesn't let her sex, gender, or social class stop her from achieving her goals. She occasionally breaks the rules -- stealing leftover clay and gatecrashing work meetings -- but this is always done with the best of intentions. She does start an affair with the married Colley Shorter who co-owns the factory with his brother. After realizing Clarice's talent, Shorter -- along with Art Designer Fred Ridgeway -- encourages her to fulfill her potential providing her with the resources she needs. This is in contrast to Colley's brother who is nervous about Clarice being given so much freedom. Clarice's mother and sister are supportive of Clarice, although the question some of her decisions.
The central character is a strong-willed woman who despite coming from a lower-income home has enough belief in herself to make herself heard by her senior male colleagues, many of whom display sexist behavior. Good gender balance in both the main and supporting cast. There is some diversity in terms of race among the supporting cast, although all the main roles are played by White actors.
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Violence & Scariness
A character wears a scarf made from an unspecified dead animal. A fire at a factory results in a kiln collapsing. Someone is briefly seen being pulled out of the fire and there are screams of pain heard. Later there is reference to one of the victims being "likely to never recover from his burns." A character throws a pocket watch at someone. After suffering internal pain, a character is admitted to hospital but dies during an operation. Their funeral -- including the carrying of the coffin -- is shown. Another character is diagnosed with cancer. A scene involves clay pigeon shooting.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Some kissing and displays of affection. Two characters embark on an affair, although nothing beyond kissing is shown. Multiple references to the affair are made by others.
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Some use of "bloody hell." Also "nincompoop," and "my God," "goddamn," "for God's sake," and "God," all used as exclamations. A character is referred to as a "home wrecker." Some sexist behavior such as asking a woman character to "make the tea" as well as the use of "love" in a patronizing manner.
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Products & Purchases
Mention of profits and making more money -- the latter being in the context of need rather than greed. A chauffeured Rolls-Royce car takes two characters to a grand estate.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Characters are regularly seen smoking both cigarettes and pipes. Reference to a coat smelling of smoke. Some drinking, both in work meeting and at social gatherings. Brief glimpse of someone who appears to have drunk too much being moved on by the police.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Colour Room is a British period drama -- set in the 1920s -- based on the life of ceramics artist Clarice Cliff. Played by Phoebe Dynevor, Cliff is a positive role model who shows perseverance and determination in achieving her goal of becoming a famous Art Deco designer. This is despite coming from a lower-income family and the fact that the industry is dominated by men. Cliff encounters some sexism in the workplace, but her resilience, confidence, hard work, and talent ensures she gets the attention of married factory owner Colley Shorter (Matthew Goode), who she goes on to have an affair with. Though their relationship is referenced multiple times, nothing more than kissing is shown. There is much smoking of cigarettes and pipes, reflecting the '20s time period. Likewise, characters are seen drinking in work meetings and at social occasions. But other than one brief glimpse of someone appearing drunk and being spoken to by the police, no drunkenness is depicted. After a fire breaks out at the factory, a man is seen being dragged out screaming. There is later a reference to them being unlikely to recover from their burns. A character dies during an operation and another is diagnosed with cancer. While those with some knowledge of Cliff will likely get more from the movie, there are enough positive messages to warrant consideration. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Unless you have a keen interest in ceramics and pottery, the chances are you won't have heard of Clarice Cliff. The British working class factory girl who went on to become one of the most celebrated ceramic artists has her story told in this period drama, The Colour Room. However, while you may be unfamiliar with who or what she achieved, her story is inspirational with Cliff -- played by Bridgerton's Dynevor -- showing both a desire and determination to accomplish her dreams, while opening the door for other women. Dynevor is great, playing Cliff with a confidence that shows she completely backs herself and is someone to be heard.
Although a rags to riches story, the movie tends to shy away from anything too downbeat. There are references to money troubles in the Cliff family home, along with a relationship breakup, illness, and a tragic death. But all are mere footnotes with no real trauma or aftermath felt or addressed. It's as though director Claire McCarthy made the conscious decision that the movie was to be feel good and feel good only. Like the colorful designs that gave Cliff her reputation, this is a film with plenty of gloss that has no interest in the cracks and shades of gray of real life.
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.