Parents' Guide to

Violet

By Jordan Elizabeth, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 15+

Perfectionist seeks more authentic life in mature drama.

Movie R 2021 92 minutes
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Director Justine Bateman's drama explores negative self-talk, which is a particularly important topic for young people as they develop their own self-image. Violet's negative voice and her authentic voice are represented as visual opposites, similar to the old device of the angel and the devil on each shoulder. The negative voice is narrated by a male voice that causes Violet to "see red." The authentic voice is shown as text on the screen, unheard, and written in white cursive. The negative voice refers to Violet in the second-person perspective ("you"), while the authentic voice refers to her in the first-person ("I").

It's significant that the negative voice Violet hears is that of a White man: It represents the dominant narrative in society and the ways that that narrative's expectations and conditioning can harm women and others. Violet, however, does not make this connection explicit. Still, there's power in the message that you can let go of stories and beliefs that hold you back. It's worth noting, however, that the character who helps Violet with this realization is her Black friend, Lila (Erica Ash). That puts her in the all-too-cliched role of the "magical Black character" whose purpose is to help other characters in their self-actualization, all while accepting their mistreatment.

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