A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
A pretty powerful message: What you do, you do for love. And that’s what sustains when the day-to-day grind seems overwhelming and difficult.
Positive Role Models
Nearly everyone on the cast is a role model in one form or the other: the actress who tasted success but isn’t too proud to go back to her roots; the boy who decided he could dance as well as, or even better than, his sister and isn’t daunted by other people’s expectations; the choreographer who reminds everyone to “be yourself.” Some characters appear somewhat traumatized by their past, but they have found an outlet to set them free: dancing.
Sex, Romance & Nudity
A whole song talking about what a guy’s “first time” making love was like, and what subsequent couplings were like. Another song mentions “t-ts and ass,” and how a woman is measured primarily by looks and not talent, necessitating breast implants and a nose job so she can trade on her looks. Another song about physical transformations that happen when one is a teenager. A dancer sings about how he learned about sex. Also, some suggestive dance moves.
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“Bullsh-t,” “friggin,” “sh-t,” “g-dd-mn,” and the F-word.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this 1985 movie inspired by the long-running, award-winning Broadway musical is filled with the memorable music and characters that made the show the icon it is today. That said, the subject matter—finding one's sexuality, the toll of dysfunctional families, the drudgery and joy of a chorus member's life— may go over the heads of tweens and younger. (There are some songs that pertain to bodily changes that happen when one is a teenager.) There's some swearing, suggestive dancing, and numerous references to sexual awakening and body parts. Some frank discussion of sex, too. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Let's start with the complaints: Though the Broadway version does somewhat hint at its age, this one outright screams it -- the lighting, the leg warmers, the cheesy keyboard and guitar riffs. And it's not exactly faithful to the original, with flashbacks to bone up one romantic storyline, though it's close. As for the actors, though they do a fine enough job, especially with the dancing. But one gets the feeling that, with few exceptions, they'd be understudies if they were onstage. There's little electricity, no momentum. And the show's signature song, "What I Did for Love" is sadly misused.
Nevertheless, one can't argue with the brilliance of the show itself, whose basic essence is intact (though some songs, sadly, haven't been transferred to the screen). The stories of triumphs and failures, of lives perpetually on the brink between stardom and chorus-line anonymity have survived, and, with some major caveats, so has this movie.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.