A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
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What parents need to know
Parents need to know that, compared to the sexual and violent content of some of today's PG-13 films, this one is tame. But its themes of relative morality are definitely adult in nature. The violence (infrequent but sudden) serves specific purposes. A bar brawl is spurred by some GIs' racist behavior; an explosion at the same bar (which kills two people) sets up storylines that ultimately question the premise of the Vietnam War, as well as the freedom of information allowed at that time. Foul language occurs mostly in the form of jokes.
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What's the story?
GOOD MORNING VIETNAM is based on the true story of Adrian Cronauer (Robin Williams), a mouthy air force radio DJ who's transferred to Vietnam during the height of the conflict. With his irreverent and sometimes biting humor, Cronauer almost immediately conflicts with his commanding officers. Things get serious as he falls in love with a local girl and experiences firsthand how war affects individuals as much as it does a nation.
Is it any good?
While this film is incredibly funny, there are some downright serious moments. Williams handles both in full stride. Rather than gloss over the conflict, director Barry Levinson and writer Mitch Markowitz manage to provide some very poignant commentary on the war, with scenes ranging from Williams' wild cries of "Good morning, Vietnam!" to his harrowing experience being stranded behind enemy lines.
While the dialogue is a little lackluster (save for Williams' classic monologues), Good Morning, Vietnam offers strong performances by Williams (who was nominated for an Oscar for the role) and Forest Whitaker.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about situations in which disrespecting or disobeying superiors might or might not be considered acceptable. Should Adrian's superiors have been more flexible about the content of his radio show?
How does censorship play a role in his attitude toward the army and the conflict itself?
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