Parents' Guide to

Calamity Jane

By Kat Halstead, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 8+

Colorful '50s musical has problematic portrayals, language.

Movie NR 1953 101 minutes
Calamity Jane Poster Image

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A whip-cracking classic full of frontier fun, this is a colorful musical comedy featuring Day in one of her most lovable roles. The iconic actress channels all her energy into shaking off her "every woman" image to challenge gender norms -- with a ludicrously macho voice and a wonderfully unbecoming walk -- as the chaotic but well-meaning cowgirl who spends more time fine-tuning her outrageous stories than her wayward hair.

The movie's songs themselves are up there with the best, with Day's timing in "Just Blew in from the Windy City" a wonder to behold, while "Secret Love" offers a tender and beautifully choreographed moment. Calamity Jane's racist references to Native Americans and minstrel shows are undeniably problematic. But there's still great joy to be found in Day's strong, fearless portrayal of a woman left to her own devices who can drink and shoot the town's men under the table. This is a warm, lively celebration of the Wild West carried throughout by Day's natural wit and charm.

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