Pretty Persuasion


Top 40% of all time (see others with this rank)

Festival Year

2005 (click here to see all competition films from this year)


Dramatic Competition


Evan Rachel Wood, Ron Livingston, James Woods, Elisabeth Harnois, Jane Krakowski, Selma Blair

Non-Cast Credits

Marcos Siega, Skander Halim, Todd Dagres, Carl Levin, Marcos Siega, Matthew Weaver, Ramsey Nickell, Nicholas Erasmus, Paul Allen Oberman, Gilad Benamram, Danny Glicker


What makes Pretty Persuasion such a deliciously brilliant satire is the sure-handed way it manipulates, orchestrates, and takes you on a ride very similar to the one that Kimberly Joyce stages for her classmates and community. In the hand of precociously talented actress Evan Rachel Wood, we can understand how Kimberly manages this: she is, after all, a teenage girl, the greatest manipulator in a world saturated with duplicity and seduction. But director Marcos Siega and screenwriter Skander Halim accomplish their feat without recourse to the wiles and techniques of adolescent choreography and successfully creates a deliriously rousing send-up of high school comedies and our society's obsession with status and celebrity.

A sophomore in an exclusive private school in Beverly Hills, Kimberly is preoccupied with the passions raised by her world: chasing fame, boys, and success without regard for the consequences. But Pretty Persuasion is anything but derivative or formulaic, and when Kimberly and two classmates decide to pursue a sexual-harassment suit against one of their teachers, this roller coaster takes off.

Consummately crafted, with great performances by Ron Livingston, James Woods, and Jane Krakowski, Pretty Persuasion is filmmaking that transcends genre and makes us laugh and think and perhaps even revel in the pleasures and puzzles of growing up in this wondrous world of media-defined reality.


Geoffrey Gilmore (see other films reviewed by the same reviewer)

Film Takes Pace.