Blue Velvet

  • Review Date: June 14, 2007
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Thriller
  • Release Year: 1986
  • Running Time: 120 minutes

Common Sense Media says

Surreal, graphic shocker of small-town sin.
  • Review Date: June 14, 2007
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Thriller
  • Release Year: 1986
  • Running Time: 120 minutes

Age

NOT FOR KIDS

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Lines between boyish goodness and depraved, sadistic evil seem clearly drawn with Jeffrey vs. Frank. Yet the young hero (a college guy who drinks beer) is not entirely innocent himself. He has sex with the victimized -- and married -- Dorothy and seems both fascinated as well as appalled that the exotic beauty equates passion with being abused and degraded. In the end, though, Jeffrey turns away from his "dark side" and winds up with the almost impossibly wholesome (and blonde) Sandy.

Violence

Gunfire at close range, punchings and beatings, dead (and nearly dead) bloody bodies at a murder scene. Reckless and menacing driving. A cut-off human ear is found. A woman gets raped (by a fully-clothed man).

Sex

Full nudity of the leading lady, near full nudity of the leading man, and the two have (adulterous) sex, though we don't actually see the act.

Language

Psycho bad guy Frank uses the f-word (and occasionally the s-word and the b-word) at least once in about every sentence.

Consumerism

Mentions of Heineken and Pabst Blue Ribbon beer hard to miss.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Drinking of beer representing innocence, and bourbon for the demented bad guy, who also pops pills and infamously inhales intoxicating gas (presumably nitrous oxide). Mention of drug deals.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this thriller portraying human corruption and aberrant sex features full female and nearly full male nudity, violent death, profanity, and alcohol/drug abuse. A seductive female character (a wife and mother) is abused and raped; though we learn little of her back story, all indications are that she has learned to accept and enjoy this mistreatment. While the young-man hero and his allies react with horror and shock, some critics have complained that this film exploits the twisted elements of darkness and evil.

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

Innocent college student Jeffrey (Kyle MacLachlan) returns to his all-American hometown of Lumberton to help run his ill father's hardware store and discovers an ant-covered human ear in a field. Jeffrey dutifully alerts the local sheriff but can't resist doing some amateur sleuthing himself -- with the help of the sheriff's pretty daughter Sandy (Laura Dern). Jeffrey finds his own perfect-looking neighborhood conceals a monstrous subculture of sadistic outlaws and crooked cops. He winds up caught in the middle of a sordid sexual relationship between seductive, victimized night-club singer Dorothy (Isabella Rossellini) and a psychotic, drug-addicted fiend named Frank Booth (Dennis Hopper).

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Among younger, horror-fixated viewers, filmmaker David Lynch enjoys a mad-scientist reputation for his movies, commonly full of grotesque, nightmarish images (often messily violent) and extreme behavior. Though not recommended for young viewers, BLUE VELVET is no "torture-porn" or slasher-splatter action Hollywood commonly aims at the teen market, but a carefully composed and paced tale that still manages to be disturbing on its own terms.

The film-noir crime plot, deliberately vague about details, unravels like a slow-motion bad dream with a uniquely absurd internal logic; for example, awful Frank works himself into a homicidal frenzy with gentle, vintage tunes like the title easy-listening song (and Roy Orbison's "In Dreams"), and somehow that's creepier than if it were the most vile gangsta rap on the soundtrack. Characters all seem exaggerated (icons of either apple-pie goodness or diabolical malice), giving the thing a faintly satirical edge, and while Jeffrey shows suitable disapproval at Dorothy's plight and good triumphs over wickedness, a sense of perversity and weirdness lingers even past the happy-ending closing sequence.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the meaning of the movie. What are the close-ups of insects supposed to symbolize about this spiffy-clean looking community? Since the good guys look almost as bland and Boy-Scoutish as the villains are demonic, some critics have found the overall movie distasteful and exploitative -- like something the terrible Frank Booth would find "entertainment."  Do you agree? Do you think David Lynch has a little too much fun with the violence and weirdness? How do the director's G-rated The Straight Story and sinister TV series Twin Peaks compare? What traits do they share with this movie?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:September 19, 1986
DVD release date:April 5, 1999
Cast:Brad Dourif, Dennis Hopper, Laura Dern
Director:David Lynch
Studio:MGM/UA
Genre:Thriller
Run time:120 minutes
MPAA rating:R

This review of Blue Velvet was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

Quality

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Teen, 17 years old Written bydavyborn May 1, 2012
AGE
17
QUALITY
 

Extraordinarily brilliant, but profoundly explicit and disturbing. Not for kids

Blue Velvet is a film that divides many people. On one side, you have the fans who hail it as a masterpiece, and a instant cul classic of surreal imagery and sexual domination. and, on the other side, you have the people who were as immeditately dumb-struck now as they were whent he film came into theaters in 1986, and shocked virtually everyone who watched it. Now, Blue Velvet has a very intricate plot, and I think what disurbed everyone so much is that there is such a thin line between sadistic sexual violence and good-natured small town life, and, whent he lineis finally crossed and the sexual depravity of the film is revealed in full, it is a briillant, entertaining and extremely ugly spectacle that just won't go away. Now, the basic begins of the plot are fairly widley known to most cineaphiles, but just in case for people who still aren't familiar with the plot, here is the first part of it: Jeffrey Beaumont has recently retunred to his home town after college, where he discovers that his father has had afatal heart attack and races home to dsicover that he will mostlikely be inn good care. SOund normal so far, right? Hey, this is David Lynch we're talking about, here! Anyways, so..on his way back from the hopistal, he finds a severed human ear in a field, and immediately alearts the local police chief about this. Blue Velvet is the klind of movie that weaves a pattern through a series a storylines, running through each other until they all crash down into each other during the climax, which may be shocking to almost any viewer who watches it, but David Lynch directs the film with a grand feel of clasic film noire, with the whole movie feeling like a bit of a old fashioned mystery, as much as a sadistic morality tale. But, that being said, this film barely squeeked by with a R Rating, and here is the following offensive content in the movuie that every parent should not about, and everything is pretty much as follows: There are several scenes of strong, graphic and very disturbing sexual content, which occasionaly involves both nudity and violence, with several shot's of full frontal nudity on both men and women, implied rape scenes, and even a main plot point about how a sexy night club singer is forced to perform sexual favors for a brutal, throughourly intimidating town thug named Frank Booth (Dennis Hopper, in easilly his greatest performance, ever), in seeral sceneas which will no dobt disturb pretty much everyone who watches the movie. also, there is strong graphic violence throughout the movie, as well, with several scenes of bloody, mangled bodies, dismembered body parts and several brutal beatings. And, finally, there is lot's of strong profanity throughout the movie, with about 58 uses of F-ck, but also with other words present as well, such as many uses of sh-t, a--, h-ll- b-tch, wh-re, d-mn, g-dd-mnit, p-ss-y and more. So, Blue Velvet definitely isn't for anyone, let alone children, but those who can stomach this kind of violence well no doubt be thoroughly fascinated and entertained by this disturbing little thriller.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much consumerism
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Adult Written byshootingstar11 June 10, 2011
AGE
18
QUALITY
 

Why would anyone think this is for kids...?

Oh my goodness. No one should ever show this to kids, or teens for that matter... It's a good movie for adults though, adults absolutely being the key word.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much consumerism
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Teen, 14 years old Written byBrandon4News March 9, 2011
AGE
16
QUALITY
 

One of cinema's greatest accomplishments. Not for kids.

This psycho-sexual thrill ride contains plenty of sex, nudity, violence and language.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking

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