Parents' Guide to

A Place in the Sun

By Kat Halstead, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 13+

Classic Hollywood drama has sex references, mature themes.

Movie NR 1951 122 minutes
Elizabeth Taylor, Montgomery Clift, and Shelley Winters appear on the poster for A Place in the Sun.

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The title of the film's original source material is a fitting indication of what's to come in this tale of an upwardly mobile young man who loses his sense of self before he ends up losing everything. Based on the 1925 novel An American Tragedy, Clift gives an unsentimental performance in the lead role, which veers from sweet country boy to something quite unnerving during A Place in the Sun's two-hour runtime. Winters is sweet and spirited at the start, but becomes weighed down by her situation to the point of stereotype later in the film, the spurned pregnant girlfriend refusing to be left in the lurch while her beau is off with her glamorous counterpart. Taylor manages to add a few layers to her portrayal that weren't always evident in some of her previous roles -- admittedly playing the attractive aristocrat, but with a self-assured practicality that allows her power and appeal beyond her beauty and poise. The entire production is epic, which is reflected in its six Academy Awards, as well as its gleaming star power. It's a dark story, and its complexities certainly aren't glossed over, with director George Stevens maintaining the tension and momentum right until the credits roll.

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