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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
There are many directly stated messages about taking sex lightly and treating women deceptively, but these are subverted by the consequences characters suffer later.
Positive Role Models
Alfie is a charming rake who uses and mistreats women, but learns the error of his ways by movie's end.
Violence & Scariness
There are a few scenes where an unstable girlfriend of Alfie's drunkenly breaks glasses.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Frequent sexual references and situations. Adultery, threesomes, offscreen abortions, and onscreen couplings between non-committed adults all make appearances. Nudity is surprisingly light, but there is one scene where a woman removes her top and struts around in panties while the audience sees her breasts. Women are ogled nearly nonstop by both Alfie and the camera.
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Some cursing: "That's bulls--t!" There are also lots of coarse jokes, such as when Alfie has problems getting an erection with a woman who sneers at him, "Peewee."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Alfie and other characters smoke cigarettes and sometimes marijuana; many scenes show characters drinking and acting foolishly or making bad decisions and blaming it on the alcohol. Characters have illicit sex under the influence of alcohol.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Alfie is about a smooth operator who takes pride in using women sexually and then quickly discarding them. There are many, many scenes that are insulting to women and send negative messages about how to treat them. In addition to the messages about women, characters smoke, drink, and make awful decisions when drunk that they later blame on the alcohol. They also cheat on boyfriends and spouses, and one character gets pregnant and considers an abortion. There is some profanity, including one F-word and a few S-words; plus many coarse jokes. Sexual scenes are plentiful, though mostly discreet, though one scene includes a topless woman who walks around in underwear. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
This film's value as entertainment and illumination is uneven at best. Charles Shyer and Nancy Meyers used to be married, and they used to make movies together (Baby Boom, the remakes of Father of the Bride and The Parent Trap). Now they're divorced, and they make movies separately. Hers: the very successful What Women Want and Something's Gotta Give; his: the less successful The Affair of the Necklace and now ALFIE. The two of them seem to be working through something, as both of their recent films were about the exact same thing -- the comeuppance of what we used to call a cad. This film may have had some therapeutic value for its director.
The performances are all top-notch. Each of the women creates a full and complex character, especially Nia Long as the woman Alfie's best friend loves, Susan Sarandon as an older woman as predatory as he is, Marisa Tomei as a single mom, and Sienna Miller as a beauty whose instability is at first a turn-on and then a turn-off. The film's primary and very significant asset is Law, who's brilliant in the title role. He has to make us almost as charmed by Alfie as the women he goes after, even while he is confiding in us what he is really thinking. Very few actors can make an unsympathetic character so appealing or pull off a role that involves speaking directly to the audience, and Law is constantly ingratiating, fascinating, and even touching. That is less true, however, of the rest of the film. The movie feels as empty as Alfie's heart.
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.