Pretty Persuasion Reviews
The curious thing about this movie set in a private Beverly Hills high school is that it is a satire on human sexual practices. Yes, a satire on sex. Usually we have sexploitation, sex titillation, etc., but making humans look ridiculous and a bit comical having sex...? That's a bit unusual. (Well, come to think of it, maybe not.)
Anyway, there is also plenty of sexploitation here and the usual hypocrisy about sex is woven in along with a surprising amount of honesty about what people do when they think no one's watching-or better yet WHEN someone is watching.
The script is clever with plenty of over the top raunchy dialog that I can't quote here. (You can go to the lengthy quotes page on IMDb and see for yourself.) But what I really liked about this movie was Evan Rachel Wood who played 15-year-old Kimberly Joyce, the sociopathic little darling. (Wood was 17 at the time.) She was so cute and so, so in love with the part. She delighted herself and me too.
BEWARE POSSIBLE SPOILERS
Part of the comedic and bemusing effect throughout is achieved by contrasting one thing with another. For example Kimberly befriends innocent hijab-wearing Muslim girl Randa (Adi Schnall). Why? Because, Kimberly says, "when I'm standing next to you I'll look more attractive by comparison. Isn't that great?" Randa replies straight-faced, "Very nice."
Another example is when the teacher who is accused of sexual harassment by his students (and found innocent, by the way) gives a birthday present to his wife. It is a skirt very similar to the ones worn by his students. He has her put it on and he more or less drools, suggesting that maybe he isn't so innocent.
Finally I must note in passing that James Woods who plays Kimberly's father looked pathetic on the couch in his underwear as he receives titillation from his cell phone. That scene shows me that James Woods is a pure actor who cares not how embarrassed he's going to be when, yes, he actually sees the movie.
--Dennis Littrell, author of the movie review book, "Cut to the Chaise Lounge or I Can't Believe I Swallowed the Remote"
Fits nicely on the shelf, next to HEATHERS.
Each character has enough depth to be solidly constructed and give us meaningful dialogs. Sometimes, as we follow the main girl, it feels like a monologue, a dry one, but all of it points to a genius after what she wants.
The tone is just, some elements are a bit caricatural, but never over the top, just enough to resonate with the audience, and make a point. The whole setup is simple, like the editing, the camera shots, and the story, but it all to underline the razor precision of the mind behind it all. It makes the dramatic reveal even stronger.
Do not underestimate this film, it packs a moral punch.