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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
"Never judge a book by its cover" is the underscoring theme. People can change -- especially when loved. However, the pursuit of love is portrayed, at times, rather creepily.
Positive Role Models
Frankie is almost presented as a strong independent woman. However, ultimately she is chronically lonely and although she won't admit it, is in need of love. Johnny is a formerly incarcerated person -- he was in jail for minor fraud -- who spent his time educating himself as well as learning how to cook. He is clearly a reformed man who wants to be a good father to his kids despite being divorced from their mother. His pursuit of Frankie does border on creepy obsession.
Gender balance in the two leads. But there is the suggestion that Frankie needs a man in her life to make her happy. New York feels authentic in its depiction of a multicultural city -- although the leading characters are White, the staff and customers in the restaurant are from various ethnic backgrounds. One Black supporting character is a waiter who lands a deal in Hollywood when his script is picked up. His leaving party is a mix of cultures and sexualities as people dance to Greek music. Frankie's best friend is gay and is played by a gay actor. Although he has the best lines, ultimately he's a stereotype with no other purpose than to serve the leading characters and provide diversity and comedy value.
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Violence & Scariness
A character witnesses someone being slapped by their partner through an apartment window. A short discussion recalls an incident of domestic abuse. A character has an epileptic fit in the restaurant and is saved. An older character dies peacefully after a short spell in hospital. At times the romantic pursuit is quite forceful -- a character turns up uninvited and declares their love by following them into a public toilet.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
A character is seen wearing sexy underwear through a window. A couple have sex and discuss if they reached a climax afterwards. A couple engage in heavy foreplay but stop when they realize they don't have protection. They later find protection and continue where they left off. No nudity is shown. A character hires a sex worker but does nothing further than cuddle.
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Language used includes "f--k," "s--t," "ass," "p---y," "bulls--t," "son of a d--k," "d--khead," "goddamn," and "bitch."
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Products & Purchases
Dr. Pepper is mentioned when talking about going for an audition for the brand's commercial.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Characters drink beers at a party. No one is seen as getting drunk. People smoke in a bowling alley.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Frankie and Johnny is a 1991 romantic comedy-drama with strong language and sexual content. Based on a play, the film stars Al Pacino and Michelle Pfeiffer in the titular roles. Newly released from prison, Johnny takes up a chef job in a New York restaurant. There he tries to woo waitress Frankie. However, Frankie is guarded, later revealed to be partly due to a previous abusive relationship. Johnny's pursuit of her also borders on obsessive and creepy, turning up unannounced and making declarations of love. There are scenes of a sexual nature but no explicit nudity. The restaurant has a chaotic charm and plays stage for a banquet of diverse characters authentically representative of a vibrant New York. From a lecherous regular, to a man they save from an epileptic fit, the waitresses remain united. When one of them dies of old age they are the only ones at her funeral. Language includes "f--k," "s--t," "p---y," and more. Frankie's best friend is a gay man. Although he has some zingers, his character plays into certain stereotypes. There is drinking, in moderation, and some characters smoke. 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 1991 romcom (with a clumsy sliver of drama) goes to great lengths to make its points. In other words, Frankie and Johnny could never be accused of being understated. Yes New York City is a melting pot bubbling with chaos, yes Frankie is habitually miserable, and yes Johnny is in love with her to the point of creepy obsession. A little less hamfisting would have made this a cosier watch, but hey, subtlety was never on the menu.
Directed by Garry Marshall of Pretty Woman and Beaches fame, it's perhaps unsurprising how sentimental and often goofy this movie is. But Pacino and Pfeiffer are A-class actors who do a professional job on a movie that you -- like Frankie -- have to let your guard down to love. An extra treat is the performance of Nathan Lane. Although a tired stereotype, his role as gay best friend Tim adds necessary zest, delivering genuinely funny and thoughtful lines.
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.