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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Several wisdoms are stated, but the clearest takeaway message is that if you love someone, set them free; if they're truly yours, they'll return to you.
Positive Role Models
Alithea is a smart, well-educated woman who's content with her life, but her search for love suggests that she isn't complete without it. In one story, a djinn expresses true love in terms of selflessness, and he sets the bar for measuring potential partners -- however, he's a fantasy figure.
Many Turkish characters (and actors) are portrayed, speaking their language. Black characters are powerful, including a genie who has taken the form of a man who shows sensitivity and expresses his emotions. The main character is a 61-year-old single woman who repeatedly expresses contentment with her life as it is, without a spouse or children, and confidently engages in romantic and sexual pursuits. Women are depicted as finding joy in intellectual pursuits and challenges. Body diversity in what is considered sexually appealing.
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Violence & Scariness
An assassination is depicted explicitly but without extensive blood or gore. Battle scenes, including dead bodies strewn about. A war horse runs with a spear in its side. References to the actions and orders of a bloodthirsty leader. Creepy, mystical images. Marriage and sex are presented in ways that don't incorporate modern conceptions of consent.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
A character is forced into/locked in a room to have sex with naked, voluptuous concubines, who are shown at length, from all angles, in positions that are intended to be alluring. A woman wears white clothes that become see-through when wet. Scenes of various couples having sex, including some sexual nudity from afar. Extensive conversation about romance and love is shown manifesting in various ways.
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Characters express xenophobia. The insult "f--kface" is used.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Character is kept drunk as a calming strategy.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Three Thousand Years of Longing is a fantasy drama about storytelling. Based on A.S. Byatt's short story "The Djinn in the Nightingale's Eye," it uses the "three wishes" story device to explore the idea of humanity's "deepest desire." If you think that sounds like sex, you're not entirely wrong -- there are several sexual situations, though they're more about intercourse as a means to an end than explicit passion. And there's a lot of graphic nudity, particularly on the part of voluptuous concubines (portrayals that, on the upside, challenge modern Western beauty ideals). The movie takes place in Istanbul, and the stories are about the Turkish people, covering historical figures and eras from the Queen of Sheba to the Ottoman Empire. Violence includes war battles with wounded and dead humans and horses, plus assassinations that are harsh but not gory. Counter-stereotypical gender representations include a masculine genie (Idris Elba) who's sensitive and vulnerable and a single older woman (Tilda Swinton) who's happy with her solitary, child-free, intellectually stimulating life. There's one use of "f--k" for a laugh. 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 reason a film about the art of storytelling is needed is the same reason why this gorgeously shot historical epic can drag a bit. Direct, in-depth, meaningful conversation is frequently being lost in favor of messages delivered in quick bits and bites -- whether that's a clip on social media or fast edits in a film. People are impatient, and listening to long stories -- even when they're illustrated with beautiful and engaging action -- will be boring to some. When combined with the characters' formal way of speaking and occasional dips into ancient languages, it's a safe bet that you can count most teens out.
With Three Thousand Years of Longing, George Miller has created a fairy tale for adults. As the djinn tells tales of his past wish-grantees, the movie explores the sometimes intertwining notions of love and freedom. The djinn tells story after story of men and women who are trapped by circumstance but don't take the way out, even when it's offered. There are very few adults who don't know someone like that. Full of deep thoughts, depictions of all kinds of love, and explorations of how patriarchal environments are limiting to both women and men, Miller offers rich material for (yup) direct, in-depth, and meaningful conversations. While the perpetual narration might make you wish occasionally for the 1,000-year version, it's likely you'll be talking about this movie for months.
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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.
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