A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that despite the lack of profanity and nudity, Catwoman will scare younger viewers with its dark feel, peril and adult themes. There is a pervasive sensuality to all scenes featuring Catwoman and there is a scene of implied sex as well as references to adultery. Several characters die and there are numerous scenes of peril, including a child trapped on a broken ferris wheel. Anyone who has seen the ads featuring the very suggestive leather suit and whip that that the protagonist wears will be aware of the "fantasy" element of Catwoman's character.
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What's the story?
Based on the comic book character, CATWOMAN centers on Patience Philips (Halle Berry), a sweet and frumpy advertising designer at the Hedare's cosmetics company. Everything changes when Patience discovers that the Hedare's new facial cream is an addictive drug with skin-warping damage for any who would try to break the habit. Clearly, Patience must be gotten rid of, but little do the Hedare henchmen know that when they kill her they are only awakening a vengeful, fish-eating leather fetishist who really knows how to fight in stiletto heels. Co, Tom Lone (Benjamin Bratt) develops feelings for the daytime Patience, and an allergy to her nightly alter-ego, Catwoman. Patience's guide to her new life is the cat lover, Ophelia (Frances Conroy), who introduces her to both catnip and the hefty history of her new identity. It turns out that all women have two sides and for certain special females, getting in touch with their inner feline allows them to un-cage a panther.
Is it any good?
Awkward and clumsy as a cat in high heels, this version of the comic book character Catwoman does not have enough to sustain one life, much less nine. The plot is thin and the script and editing have an unfinished, even inept feel. Berry seems to confuse a cat walk with a catwalk, prancing in heels as though she is an unusually busty runway model in next year's dominatrix fashion show. There's something hypocritical at best and absurd at worst to pretend to be about empowerment and freeing women from the need to conform to narrow standards of youth and beauty when the movie's heroine looks like Catwoman Barbie at a goth B&D rally.
One of the largest hairballs that choke this movie is the complete inability of Laurel Hedare (Sharon Stone) to be suitably over-the-top enough to make the final catfight memorable. In costume crusader stories, the bad guys have to be just as fantastic in their own way as their counterparts, even when they are fighting morally ambiguous, prowling kitties like Catwoman.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the twin-nature theme that runs throughout the movie. Why might many comic book characters, including Catwoman, have such strong dichotomous characters? What does this mean about their ability to express their "true selves" in their ordinary lives? Ophelia discusses seemingly contradictory traits that she describes as female, yet she herself does not seem to wear a mask. How might Ophelia and other characters express themselves fully without splitting their personalities so dramatically? Why did they pick the name "Ophelia," associated with Hamlet's tragic love?
- In theaters: July 23, 2004
- On DVD or streaming: January 18, 2005
- Cast: Benjamin Bratt, Halle Berry, Sharon Stone
- Director: Pitof
- Studio: Warner Bros.
- Genre: Action/Adventure
- Topics: Superheroes
- Run time: 90 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG-13
- MPAA explanation: action violence and some sensuality
- Last updated: September 21, 2019
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