A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this movie is heavy on dialogue and "grown-up" humor and a better choice for mature teens and up. Characters discuss journalistic ethics and pose occasionally existential questions about life, careers, love, and success. Sexual content includes rear male nudity and a discussion of date rape for a news story. Violence is mild with some background shooting during one journalist's field report. Characters are realistically flawed and self-absorbed, but work together in a supportive way.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
BROADCAST NEWS is set in the fast-paced Washington, D.C., bureau of an unnamed network. Jane (Holly Hunter) is a talented, highly intelligent, and high-strung producer who is great at her job but lousy at her personal life; Aaron (Albert Brooks) is a smart, experienced reporter often overlooked for anchor spots because he lacks on-camera charisma. An admittedly underqualified TV sports reporter, Tom (William Hurt) has just been hired for a news job at Jane and Aaron's bureau, much to their chagrin. Jane and Aaron obviously have a deep respect for each other, but Aaron carries a torch for Jane, and he stews when she becomes attracted to Tom, whom she doesn't respect professionally but can't resist physically.
Is it any good?
Broadcast News offers a breathless behind-the-scenes look at TV journalism. The newsroom scenes, in particular, are a treat to watch: Joan Cusack galloping frantically through the bureau to deliver a videotape with seconds to spare; Tom giving Aaron tips on anchoring and camera appeal; Jane talking Tom through a special report on Libya. And the scene where Aaron finally gets a stab at anchoring is priceless. Indeed, Brooks gets some of the best lines and dialogue -- his speech about Tom, his musings on "slipping," his heartfelt admissions to Jane, to name a few -- and he gives his character a profound depth as that smart, sensitive, sometimes cruelly sardonic guy who doesn't get the girl but enjoys intellectually intimidating the guy who does.
It's fun to watch the male posturing between Brooks and Hurt, who is also good -- if a bit wooden -- as someone who has coasted on his looks most of his life. And Hunter crackles in her role, bringing spirit, charm, and warmth to a character that might have been one-dimensional in the hands of a lesser actress.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about whether this is an accurate depiction of TV journalism. Why does Jane get so upset when she learns Tom faked crying during a report? Do you think this type of reporting is more or less common today? Why does Jane, a producer with strong ideals, struggle with her attraction to Tom? Why is it hard for these characters to have "normal" personal lives? How do their personalities make them suited for this type of work?
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