A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Movie has a lot to say about the whiteness of Hollywood in the 1970s and how difficult it was for Black artists to have a voice, no matter how talented or persistent they were. Shows that persistence is more than half the battle and that it's possible to change minds and empower the powerless. Celebrates power of finally being seen and heard and empowers women who don't conform to narrowly defined beauty standards.
Positive Role Models
While he's sometimes seen as a clown or a buffoon and perhaps not all that talented, Moore perseveres and works really hard to get his creations out into the world, refusing to give up when he hits a brick wall and doing a lot of the work himself. At the same time, he manages to empower his Black audience just a little bit.
Violence & Scariness
One character slaps another in public; she punches him back and knocks him down. Reference to rape.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Several topless women. Brief full-frontal female nudity. Pretend sex scene (during movie shoot). Naked male shown from the side, buttocks visible. Sexy dancing. Heavy, frequent sex-related talk and innuendo.
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Constant, extremely strong language includes uses of "f--k," "motherf----r," the "N" word, "s--t," "c--ksucker," "p---y," "son of a bitch," "ass," "d--k," "damn," "ball sack," "bust a nut," and "Jesus" (as an exclamation).
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
A secondary character appears to have a drinking problem, which is presented as humorous; in many scenes, he sips from a flask or drinks liquor while on the job. Cigarette smoking.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Dolemite Is My Name is a biopic about comic/filmmaker Rudy Ray Moore (Eddie Murphy), who created the popular Blaxploitation character Dolemite in the 1970s. The story feels fresh, and the movie has playful humor and a can-do attitude -- but it's also full of mature content. Expect constant foul language -- including "f--k," "motherf----r," "s--t," the "N" word, "p---y," and many more -- as well as frequent, often vulgar innuendo and other sex-related talk. Several women appear topless, and one, briefly, is shown fully naked. A nude man is seen from the side (nothing sensitive shown), and a pretend sex scene is filmed. A man slaps a woman in a bar; she punches him back and knocks him down. There's a reference to rape. In several scenes, a secondary character drinks liquor while working. It's not necessarily referred to as a drinking problem and is played for humor. Cigarette smoking is shown. Like other real-life people screenwriters Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski have written about before (Ed Wood, Big Eyes), Moore is portrayed as a creative dreamer who perseveres to get his creations out into the world. The movie has a lot to say about the whiteness of Hollywood in the 1970s and how difficult it was for Black artists to have a voice, no matter how talented or persistent they were. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
This biographical comedy follows the beats of similar showbiz-related movies, but its rambunctious, playfully vulgar sense of humor and infectious can-do attitude make it a satisfying winner. Directed by Craig Brewer (Hustle & Flow) and written by Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski (Ed Wood, Big Eyes), Dolemite Is My Name checks off the events of Rudy Ray Moore's life like a list. But it's Murphy's boundless energy and charisma that drive the movie. Normally in biopics like this, the lead character overshadows all of the supporting characters, but here Murphy is such a whirlwind that it makes perfect sense that he'd have an army of followers caught up in his creative wake.
Still, most of the cast gets in good, funny moments, especially Snipes as Dolemite director D'Urville Martin, the only one in Moore's crew who has any Hollywood experience (and is therefore perpetually dismayed at what he's seeing). The movie is especially wise in how it depicts the whiteness of the entertainment industry at the time -- from a viewing of Billy Wilder's The Front Page on the big screen to a Western playing on a TV set -- and how rare movies like Dolemite actually were. It's quite moving to hear Lady Reed (Da'Vine Joy Randolph) thank Moore for finally allowing her to see someone who looks like her up on the big screen. Like Ed Wood and The Disaster Artist, Dolemite Is My Name is a grand celebration of not only perseverance over skill but also the power of finally being seen and heard.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.