A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Black Snake Moan is an adults-only movie (which co-stars teen favorite Justin Timberlake) about Rae, a young woman with an insatiable desire for sex. Her urges are so absurdly strong that they cause a literal, overpowering itch that only subsides when she finds a willing partner (and there are many). Rae spends almost the entire film in panties and a cutoff top, and her heaving breasts make many appearances. The man who finds her half-dead decides to "cure" her of her lascivious ways by chaining her up to his radiator. Since the film takes place in the South and follows a black man chaining up a nymphomaniac white woman, the film abounds with racial and sexual stereotypes and tensions.
What's the story?
In writer-director Craig Brewer's BLACK SNAKE MOAN, Laz (Samuel L. Jackson), a hard-working farmer nursing a broken heart, stumbles across a "half-naked, half-dead white woman" (Christina Ricci) left on the quiet road next to his farm. But Rae is no ordinary young woman. She's got "the sickness" -- a burning yearning for sex that no one man can sate. Her widely known sluttiness is what landed her in the bloody state she was found in, and now Laz, a God-fearing bluesman, is ready to exorcize her of her "wickedness." Just how is he going to keep her from "getting up under" every man within county limits? By chaining her to his radiator until she repents -- or at least until his best friend, the town pastor, convinces him that it's not his Biblical duty to "fix" her.
Is it any good?
Many viewers will undoubtedly be offended by Brewer's representation of a still-segregated, racist South in which mentioning a black man's "size" to a white man will get you beaten to a pulp. Not to mention Ricci's personification of a promiscuous woman who just can't get enough. But Brewer has a genuine affinity for portraying Southern and African-American culture. Interlacing Black Snake Moan's drama with blues music (including footage of the legendary Son House) and necessary doses of humor (Rae's memorable encounter with a young teen looking for butter beans at Laz's farm is particularly amusing), Brewer creates a clever (im)morality tale about an unlikely (OK, ludicrous) way to heal an ailing heart.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the reasons for Rae's promiscuity and Laz's unhappiness. How does their unorthodox relationship help them? What do you think happens to them? Will they continue in their destructive behaviors, or is there a sign that there's hope for them each to be happy? What do you think drew the actors to this movie?
The film explores many racist and religious themes. What are some examples of each?
Is the pastor judgmental or understanding? What is his influence on the characters?
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