Our Rating: ★★★★☆
L Factor: Major lesbian character
Short Take: Kimberly is an obnoxious rich girl at a private Beverly Hills high school. To get television exposure she sleeps with a local tv reporter assigned to the school.
Alternate Titles:
Year: 2005
Duration: 104 min
Language: USA/English
MPAA: R
Director: Marcos Siega
Writer: Skander Halim
Starring: Tina Holmes, Selma Blair, Evan Rachel Wood, Adi Schnall, Elisabeth Harnois, Jane Krakowski, Jaime King, Ron Livingston

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Pretty PersuasionKimberly (Evan Rachel Wood) is an obnoxious rich girl at a private Beverly Hills high school. She has a horrible home life, with an absent mother who can’t even spell her name correctly, a disgusting, filthy-mouthed father (James Woods), and a stepmother (Jaime King, Sin City) she verbally abuses.

After she is removed as the lead of the school play, Kimberly decides to get back at her drama teacher, Mr. Anderson (Ron Livingston), by claiming that she and her best friend Brittany (Elisabeth Harnois, Strangers with Candy) and naïve Middle Eastern immigrant Randa (Adi Schnall) were sexually harassed by him.

At the same time, Emily (Jane Krakowski) is a local tv reporter assigned to the school for a benign special interest story. She pounces on the harassment angle to bring some attention to herself in the media and then covers the trial.

Emily is a lesbian, and her girlfriend Nadine (Tina Holmes) is also her photographer. To get television exposure to help with her acting aspirations, underage Kimberly first flirts with Emily and then sleeps with her. Emily is like putty in her hands, as is just about everyone else around her.

Reminiscent of (but not quite up to par with) Wild Things, another film with teens and false charges against a teacher, the plot twists and eventual ending are unpredictable. Selma Blair (Cruel Intentions, Amazon High), no longer the teen herself, also makes an appearance as Mr. Anderson’s wife Grace. (AB)