Parents' Guide to

The Scarlet Letter

By Charles Cassady Jr., Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 17+

Slaughter, sin, and sex in classic-turned-movie misfire.

Movie R 1995 135 minutes
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Kids say (3 ):

Frankly, dears, it's hard to give a damn about this Scarlet. Maybe time and critics would have been a little kinder to THE SCARLET LETTER if only Tinseltown had changed the title and character names and distanced it from the stern English-class-assignment novel by moralistic author Nathaniel Hawthorne. Rewriting the source material with a proverbial post-1960s Hollywood spin, this goes off-topic into Indian-settler problems, witchcraft hysteria, slavery, and the general idea of colonials acting destructive. The tragic affair between Hester and Dimmesdale mutates into an upbeat, defiant, and happy love match, more like a kitschy romance paperback. Much as Moore's monotonously noble performance in the lead role was widely panned, the script doesn't do many favors either to actors such as Gary Oldman and Robert Duvall (though they do get to yell a lot).

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