Pretty Persuasion

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Pretty Persuasion
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Marcos Siega
Produced by Marcos Siega
Matt Weaver
Todd Dagres
Carl Levin
Written by Skander Halim
Starring Evan Rachel Wood
James Woods
Ron Livingston
Music by Gilad Benamram
Cinematography Ramsey Nickell
Edited by Nicholas Erasmus
Distributed by Samuel Goldwyn Films
Roadside Attractions
Release date
Running time
104 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $2.5 million
Box office $537,126[1]

Pretty Persuasion is a 2005 American black comedy/satirical film about a 15-year-old schoolgirl who makes an allegation of sexual harassment against her drama teacher. The film's tagline is: "Revenge knows no mercy." It was written by Skander Halim and directed by Marcos Siega. It stars Evan Rachel Wood, James Woods and Ron Livingston and was released in the US on August 12, 2005 in select theaters.


Kimberly Joyce (Evan Rachel Wood) is a high school student at Roxbury, a Beverly Hills school for the wealthy. She and her best friend Brittany (Elisabeth Harnois) take Randa (Adi Schnall), a new student who recently immigrated from the Middle East, under their wing. When Kimberly decides to take her revenge on a teacher, Percy Anderson (Ron Livingston), who humiliated Brittany, she draws everyone - including her friends, family, and the media (a reporter played by Jane Krakowski) - into her plot, resulting in unforeseen repercussions. The film makes use of twists and flashbacks to tell its story.



The plot primarily focuses on sexual harassment accusations within a school system, as well as the repercussions of one 15-year-old girl's actions. But the film also makes commentary on many other social issues in contemporary American culture as well, many of them being controversial. Some of the topics that are commented on include racism, ignorance, discrimination, gender identity, homosexuality, intolerance, immigration, teenage behavior, suicide, parenting, deceit, and fascination with celebrity status and the entertainment industry.

Production notes[edit]

The musical score was composed by Gilad Benamram. The film deliberately does not feature any popular music songs.[2] Similarly, the wardrobe and props do not feature contemporary branding.[2]



Roger Ebert called it "daring, and well-acted", but also said that it "exists uneasily somewhere between comedy and satire."[3] Phil Villarreal of the Arizona Daily Star called the film a "scathing and hilarious social satire."[4] While Stephen Holden of the New York Times praised the film: "An obscene, misanthropic go-for-broke satire, "Pretty Persuasion" is so gleefully nasty that the fact that it was even made and released is astonishing. Much of it is also extremely funny. Any satire worth its salt should not be afraid to offend, and "Pretty Persuasion" flings mud in all directions with a fearless audacity. "[5] James Mottram of Channel 4 opined, "Hovering uncomfortably between comedy and satire, Pretty Persuasion never quite gets the balance right."[6] Carlo Cavagna thought it a "dark teen comedy that tries way too hard to be a dark teen comedy."[7] The Seattle Post-Intelligencer accused the film of being an "ugly, cheap attempt at satire",[8] and Slant magazine called it "a pretty unpersuasive lecture".[9]

Critic Armond White has called the film "ingenious."[10]

The film has a "rotten" 32 percent rating at Rotten Tomatoes.[11]


  1. ^ "Pretty Persuasion (2005) - Box Office Mojo". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2010-08-07. 
  2. ^ a b Marcos Siega. "Pretty Persuasion: Anatomy of a Not So Teen Movie". Landmark Theatres. Archived from the original on April 28, 2007. Retrieved 2007-12-27. 
  3. ^ Roger Ebert (2005-08-26). "Pretty Persuasion". Retrieved 2007-12-27. 
  4. ^ Rotten Tomatoes Review- Pretty Persuasion (22 September 2005)
  5. ^ New York Times - A High School Princess who treats the world like a frog (Aug. 12, 2005)
  6. ^ James Mottram. "Pretty Persuasion Review". Channel 4 Film. Retrieved 2007-12-27. 
  7. ^ Carlo Cavagna (Online Film Critics Society), Review for
  8. ^ Sean Axmaker (2005-09-02). "'Pretty Persuasion' is an ugly, cheap attempt at satire". Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Retrieved 2007-12-27. 
  9. ^ Nick Schager. "Film Review: Pretty Persuasion". Slant Magazine. Archived from the original on 2007-09-27. Retrieved 2007-12-27. 
  10. ^ Armond White. "Film Review: Towelhead". NY Press. Retrieved 2009-01-07. 
  11. ^ "Pretty Persuasion". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2007-12-27. 

External links[edit]