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Parents' Guide to

Burton and Taylor

By Joyce Slaton, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 15+

Moving biopic digs into past tabloid staples, drinking, sex.

Movie NR 2014 83 minutes
Burton and Taylor Poster Image

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This is a sweet, sad, wistful and realistic look at a long-term romance and the two dysfunctional people in it. The first alert that Burton and Taylor is not of the "ripped from the headlines" variety of biopic comes a short way into the picture, when Bonham-as-Taylor and West-as-Burton share a tense moment, followed by a tender reminiscence from years past. It's a very real moment between what seems like people who have known each other for a long time, who have loved and fought and given up, but not on each other.

Bonham Carter's Taylor has the mannered speech and throaty cackle of the real article, ensuring that for once, Taylor's depiction isn't mainly about period-correct eyeliner and scarves. There's real chemistry with Dominc West as well. The viewer winds up rooting for them to go ahead and get married a third time...until the movie ends, and the gut-punching coda arrives: Richard Burton died just a few months after the time period shown in the film. And Taylor talked to him on the phone the day of his death.

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