Pretty Persuasion

Rated NR 2005

Kimberly Joyce (Evan Rachel Wood) attends a prestigious school in L.A., where, the administration boasts, "A lot of very important people send their very important kids." Though dead-set on becoming a famous actress, Kimberly isn't having any luck at casting calls. So when a local television reporter (Jane Krakowski) arrives to do a fluff piece on the school, she seizes the opportunity. Along with best-friend Brittany (Elisabeth Harnois) and new-girl Randa (Adi Schnall), she accuses the English teacher (Ron Livingston) of sexual harassment. A media circus erupts, and the case swiftly goes to trial. Pretty Persuasion can't decide on a level of sincerity. Its comedy is very dark (and sometimes funny), while its tragedy feels oddly light. The film wants to be a biting satire and a tragic statement about quite a few ills in contemporary society, and it ends up dithering somewhere between the two. That's a shame for the actors, especially Wood, whose commitment is impressive. There's just no rising above this troubled script.

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