Three Thousand Years of Longing Parent Guide
The film's assorted stories are intriguing but the content is not suited to young viewers.
Parent Movie Review
Narratologist Alithea Binnie (Tilda Swinton) makes her living writing and attending conferences about the styles and functions of stories in society. She enjoys her work and is satisfied with her life – even if she lives it almost entirely alone. So when she finds a Djinn (Idris Elba) in a bottle who offers her three wishes, she perplexes him with her unwillingness to make any wishes.
Aside from her general contentment, Alithea’s extensive study of stories has taught her that every story about wishes is a cautionary tale, and that’s a risk she’s not willing to take. Instead of making wishes, Alithea asks the Djinn about his long history, beginning with his time as a consort of the Queen of Sheba (Aamito Lagum). As they talk, Alithea tries to learn from the mistakes of the Djinn’s previous masters, and the Djinn tries to figure out what Alithea might possibly want enough to risk upending her life as it is.
This is a very literary film, told mostly through narration as a series of tales, either by the Djinn or Alithea herself. The stories are sometimes clearly cautionary, others are examples of downright bad luck, and still others are more enigmatic. What ties them together is a sharp visual style and strong performances from the lead cast. While the film doesn’t immediately give you a glimpse of its ending, the stories are so intriguing that I entirely forgot how long I’d been in the theater. I think it manages that by appealing to some shared childhood nostalgia about being read to; hearing stories and fairy tales from adults who know far more about the world than us.
Appeals to childhood whimsy aside, this is not a film for children. Although there is only one major example of profanity in the film, and hardly any violence, there is rather a lot of female nudity. Scenes in baths and harems seem to feature a great deal of toplessness, although paradoxically, the occasional sex scenes are far more reticent about graphic details. I’m not sure if that makes any difference to your feelings about the nudity, but it is a little unusual.
I think what surprised me the most was noticing that the film was directed and co-written by George Miller. Yes, that George Miller. The guy responsible for the entirety of the Mad Max franchise. This film shows an incredibly wide range of skills and proves that he is not limited to the high-octane punchy wasteland action we’ve seen in his better-known works. While Three Thousand Years of Longing is not perfect, it is remarkably captivating, and it’s rare to find a movie that has such a clear idea of what it wants to be – even if it doesn’t quite make it all the time. But after all, woman’s reach should exceed her grasp, or what’s a magic Djinn for?Directed by George Miller. Starring Idris Elba, Tilda Swinton, Pia Thunderbolt. Running time: 108 minutes. Theatrical release August 31, 2022. Updated August 25, 2022
Watch the trailer for Three Thousand Years of Longing
Three Thousand Years of Longing
Rating & Content Info
Why is Three Thousand Years of Longing rated R? Three Thousand Years of Longing is rated R by the MPAA for some sexual content, graphic nudity and brief violence.
Violence: A man is garroted. Individuals are seen dead and being killed in battle.
Sexual Content: Multiple women are seen nude. There are several brief scenes depicting sex without explicit detail. Some dialogue references sex.
Profanity: There is a single sexual expletive plus several terms of deity.
Alcohol / Drug Use: Secondary characters are shown drinking, sometimes to excess.
Page last updated August 25, 2022
Three Thousand Years of Longing Parents' Guide
Why is Alithea wary of making wishes? Would you make wishes if you were her? What would you wish for? Can you imagine the potential downsides to any wishes you might make? Do you think it would be worth it?
Related home video titles:
Fans of more unusual storytelling might enjoy films like I’m Thinking of Ending Things, Memento, Birdman, The Grand Budapest Hotel, and Pan’s Labyrinth. Another film which tried to take a long view of human history is Eternals, and it’s one of the most insufferable wastes of time ever to attempt to masquerade as a film.