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Pretty Persuasion is a 2005 black comedy/satirical film about a 15 year old schoolgirl who makes a false 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 US theaters on August 12, 2005.


Kimberly Joyce (Evan Rachel Wood) is a high school student at Roxbury, a Beverly Hillsmarker 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 who humiliated Brittany, she draws everyone - including her friends, family and the media (a reporter played by Jane Krakowski) - into her manipulative plot that results in explosive repercussions. There are twists and flash backs the whole way through.


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

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



The film was nominated for the 2005 Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival.


The film was not received very well by film critics. Roger Ebert called it "daring, and well-acted", but also said that it "exists uneasily somewhere between comedy and satire." Phil Villarreal of the Arizona Daily Star called the film a "scathing and hilarious social satire." James Mottram of Channel 4 opined, "Hovering uncomfortably between comedy and satire, Pretty Persuasion never quite gets the balance right." Carlo Cavagna thought it a "dark teen comedy that tries way too hard to be a dark teen comedy." The Seattle Post-Intelligencer accused the film of being an "ugly, cheap attempt at satire", and Slant magazine called it "a pretty unpersuasive lecture".

Critic Armond White has called the film "ingenious."

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


  1. Rotten Tomatoes Review- Pretty Persuasion (22 September 2005)
  2. Carlo Cavagna (Online Film Critics Society), Review for

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