Movie Mom

Movie Mom


The Count of Monte Cristo

posted by rkumar
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:4th - 6th Grades
Profanity:Insults
Nudity/Sex:Non-explicit sexual situation and reference to out of wedlock pregnancy
Alcohol/Drugs:None
Violence/Scariness:Swordfights and fistfights, peril, torture, death of characters
Diversity Issues:Class differences
Movie Release Date:2002

Two things that almost always capture our attention in movies are watching someone learning something and watching someone getting revenge. Both are in “The Count of Monte Cristo” in abundance, and once again, in this 15th filmed version of the Alexandre Dumas novel, this most resilient of stories has been made into another thoroughly enjoyable movie.

James Caviezel (“Frequency”) plays Edmund Dantes, an honest sailor who has a devoted girlfriend named Mercedes (Dagmara Dominczyk) and a lifelong friend, Fernand (Guy Pearce of “Memento” and “LA Confidential”). When he is promoted to captain and can afford to marry Mercedes, he thinks all of his dreams have come true. But Fernand, overcome with jealousy, betrays Edmund, and Villefort (James Frain), a corrupt magistrate, sentences him to life imprisonment. His friends and family are told that he has been executed.

After years of brutal abuse, Edmund meets another prisoner (Richard Harris), who teaches him to read and swordfight. They plan an escape, but his friend dies, and Edmund escapes alone, with a map showing the location of a treasure on the island of Monte Cristo. He meets up with pirates and ultimately finds the treasure, enabling him to return in a new persona, the Count of Monte Cristo, where he will prove that “revenge is a dish that is best eaten cold.”

The script falters, with some clunky dialogue and a Hollywood-ized ending that Dumas fans will find overly convenient. But the performances (especially Pearce, descending from pettiness to decadence and complete corruption), the swordplay, the splendor, and the story, featuring what is probably literature’s all-time best revenge fantasy are old-time-movie satisfying and lots of fun.

Parents should know that the movie features PG-13-style peril and swordfights and characters are wounded and killed. Edmund is beaten in prison by a sepulchral warden who clearly enjoys torturing the prisoners. Though it is not explicitly shown, we hear screams and we see his extensive scars. A character attempts suicide and there is a suggestion that suicide is an honorable way to respond to discovery of dishonor. There is a non-explicit sexual situation, references to adultery and a child conceived out of wedlock. Omitted from the movie are the book’s depiction of character’s use of opium and a concubine.

Families who see this movie should talk about what made Fernand turn from Edmund’s friend into his enemy. Why did it make Fernand angry that Edmund was “happier with his whistle than (he) was with his pony?” How do we see that Edmund is at first too trusting and then not trusting enough? What does it mean to say, “treason is a matter of dates?” What does it mean to say, “perhaps the thoughts of revenge are serving God’s purpose of keeping you alive?” Or that “neglect becomes our ally?” How did hope change Edmund’s attitude during his beatings? Why does he want to hold on to his hatred? How does Edmund determine the revenge that will be most painful for each of his foes?

Families who enjoy this movie will also enjoy “The Three Musketeers,” also based on a Dumas novel. There are even more versions of that story on film than there are of this one, but the 1948 (starring Gene Kelly) and 1973 (directed by Richard Lester) versions are the best.



Previous Posts

Should Movie Audiences Text to the Screen?
It is annoying enough when someone near you in a movie theater takes out a cell phone to text. Imagine how it would be if you then saw the text on the screen. That's what a Chinese theater is experimenting with in what they are calling "bullet screens." The idea is that what you are there to enjo

posted 3:59:17pm Sep. 02, 2014 | read full post »

Back to School Guidelines for Parents on Kids and Media
Screen time is a treat, not a right. It’s a good idea to make sure that it comes only after homework, chores, other kinds of play, and family time. Make sure there is some quiet time each day as well. The spirit is nourished by silence. All too often, we try to drown out our unsettled or lonely fe

posted 8:00:27am Sep. 02, 2014 | read full post »

After the Ice Bucket Challenge: Two Upcoming Movies About People With ALS
The Ice Bucket Challenge has brought a lot of money and attention to a devastating illness, ALS or Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, sometimes called Lou Gehrig's Disease for the the New York Yankee who had to leave baseball when he was afflicted with ALS. Two upcoming films about people with ALS

posted 7:00:17am Sep. 02, 2014 | read full post »

Thursdays in September on Turner Classic Movies: The Jewish Experience on Film
This month, TCM has an excellent series of films about the Jewish experience, every Thursday. TCM proudly presents The Projected Image: The Jewish Experience on Film, a weekly showcase of movies focusing on Jewish history and heritage as portrayed onscreen. Co-hosting the films each Thursday is D

posted 9:21:56pm Sep. 01, 2014 | read full post »

Start the School Year With a No-Screen Week
A new study shows another good reason to detox from all screen time now and then, especially for kids.  Children who take a five-day break from all screens are better at reading real-life facial expressions to understand the emotions of the people around them.  Psyblog described the study, which s

posted 3:56:33pm Sep. 01, 2014 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.