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 Academy-Award-winning musical is chock full of sexual innuendo and frank talk about casual sex, both hetero- and homosexual. Main characters smoke and drink throughout the film while living decadent, if impoverished, lives. The movie is set against the backdrop of the Nazis' rise to power in Germany, with a couple scenes of violence related to Nazi conflicts. The main character has an abortion.
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What's the story?
When Brian Roberts (Michael York) arrives in 1931 Berlin he meets Sally Bowles (Liza Minnelli), a cabaret singer with an over-the-top personality. She seduces him into her world, connecting him with work and offering herself sexually to him. When he refuses, implying that he is gay, they continue to build a fun-loving friendship that eventually turns into a complicated three-way relationship with a wealthy playboy. All the while, Sally overcompensates for her fragile emotional state by building her hopes for a career as an actress. These hopes are often based on associations with powerful men she meets at the Kit Kat Klub, but usually end in disappointment. When Sally finds out she's pregnant, Brian offers to marry her, but she realizes their fantasy of a conventional life won't work. The film is set against the backdrop of rising Nazi power in Germany, which adds to the tension in the film.
Is it any good?
This 1972 film won eight Academy Awards and many other accolades for its dynamic presentation of the heartbreaking tale of an emotionally scarred young woman. This tale is interspersed with drop-dead gorgeous costumes, brilliant choreography, and songs performed by Minnelli and others. The film perfectly captures the anxiety of the pre-WWII era, where desperate times meant living life to the fullest, even if it's an exhausting and emotionally draining spectacle. It's not likely to appeal to most kids, although teens involved in theater may be interested.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about Sally Bowles' emotional state. What drives Sally to want to become a star? Why do you think she has adopted such an intense personality? Why does she change her mind about her relationship with Brian?
Talk about what purpose sex serves to the characters in this movie. How do their values compare to yours?
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