A lot or a little?
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that A League of Their Own is a warmhearted tale of camaraderie based on the real-life 1940s All-American Girls Professional Baseball League. Starring Geena Davis and Tom Hanks, it has strong messages of teamwork, compassion, and "girl power" and offers relatable female characters who throw fastballs right through the gender stereotypes of their day. Expect some innuendo and sex talk (Madonna's character is referred to as "All the Way Mae") and some swearing ("s--t," "penis with a hat on"), drinking (Hanks' character is often drunk), and smoking. Men admire the women in their skimpy uniforms. Sexual references include the phrase "pickle tickle," a comment about women being better suited for sex than baseball, and a reference to "the clap." There are shots of women in their (substantial) underwear, a drunk coach urinates in front of the women (no nudity), and there's some sensual dancing. There's also some wartime sadness/stress, but ultimately this is a great story for tweens and up.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
Set in the 1940s, A LEAGUE OF THEIR OWN focuses on the exceptional circumstances surrounding the All-American Girls League. As in most baseball movies, the film follows the skills and friendships that develop among the Peaches, but in this case viewers also learn of the unique difficulties for a women's league in the midst of pre-feminist America. With guidance from their somewhat unstable and reluctant manager (Tom Hanks), Dottie (Geena Davis), Kit (Lori Petty), Doris (Rosie O'Donnell), Mae (Madonna), Marla (Megan Cavanagh), and the rest of the team face tough training sessions, mocking spectators, and other challenges as they try to win fans and beat opposing teams at a time when women were supposed to look pretty and bake cakes. And just when they achieve success on the playing field, the war ends, the male baseball players return home to the U.S., and the Peaches are abruptly abandoned by management and fans alike.
Is it any good?
Everyone loves a good story about the teamwork and triumph at the heart of America's favorite pastime, and this film adds the twist of women struggling to prove themselves as athletes in the 1940s. There are many funny and poignant moments, and the Peaches are an interesting bunch from various backgrounds (including Rosie O'Donnell as an outspoken former bouncer and Madonna as a sultry taxi dancer). Tom Hanks is hilarious as manager Jimmy Dugan, and this is some of the richest character work he's done to date.
Tweens will probably enjoy A League of Their Own, though they may lose interest during the maudlin epilogue that's set 40 years later, when the AAGPBL is finally recognized by the Baseball Hall of Fame.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about women's role (or lack thereof) in most professional sports -- and their role in A League of Their Own. Do you think women could compete equally on men's teams? Why or why not?
To keep the game popular with fans, the players flaunted their femininity. Do you think this was all in good fun, a sign of the times, or somewhat demeaning?
Which characters are role models? Why?
Why are underdog movies so popular? Name some other movies that feature losing teams that learn to work together and succeed. What qualities allow underdogs to win?
- In theaters: July 1, 1992
- On DVD or streaming: June 4, 2002
- Cast: Geena Davis, Madonna, Tom Hanks
- Director: Penny Marshall
- Studio: Columbia Tristar
- Genre: Comedy
- Topics: Sports and Martial Arts, History, Misfits and Underdogs
- Character strengths: Compassion, Teamwork
- Run time: 124 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG
- MPAA explanation: some mild profanity
- Last updated: February 27, 2021
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