What parents need to know

Parents need to know that while it might be tempting to introduce teens to Shakespeare with this movie -- Coriolanus is adapted from one of The Bard's lesser-known plays -- the movie's somewhat modern wartime setting means that there's lots of strong, bloody violence, including guns and shootings, knife fights, hand-to-hand fights, and dead bodies. One character commits suicide by slitting a wrist. In fact, it's probably the most violent Shakespeare movie adaptation since Roman Polanski's 1971 Macbeth, and the handheld camerawork only adds to the general chaos and unease. Characters are also sometimes seen drinking and smoking in a background way. All of that said, this is a powerful work with great performances, and it could turn on older teens who can handle the content to the rest of Shakespeare's work.
  • Families can talk about Coriolanus' violence. Is it necessary to get the film's plot and themes across? How do you think it might have been different if had been set further in the past?
  • Is Coriolanus a hero? Is he a good role model? Why should we root for him?
  • Do you think adapting Shakespeare to a period of modern warfare works? Does updating a book or play's setting make it more accessible, even if the language is the same?
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