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Parents' Guide to

Iceberg Slim: Portrait of a Pimp

By Joyce Slaton, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 16+

Docu admires and glamorizes pimping with celeb interviews.

Movie R 2013 90 minutes
Iceberg Slim: Portrait of a Pimp Poster Image

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Images of pimps as sharp-dressed, elegant strivers linger both in our culture and on-screen in this interesting, if troubling documentary. So that makes it easy to accept Iceberg Slim: Portrait of a Pimp as a harmless diversion that illuminates a little corner of our country's history. But parents may find this particular documentary more troubling than most historical looks back. Slim himself is presented more as an endearing oddball than a man who brutalized and subjugated women. Though he speaks candidly of drug abuse and beating women, far more time is spent rhapsodizing about fancy cars and the street cred a pimp enjoys. Thus parents may rightfully worry that this movie glamorizes prostitution and pimping.

Why are none of Slim's ex-prostitutes interviewed? What light would they have cast on this man and his past? Though interviews with Slim's ex-wife and three daughters, who seem to view their dad fondly and indulgently, do lighten things up somewhat, it's difficult to listen to Slim himself and celebrity interviewees glossing over the icky aspects of his ex-vocation. The movie becomes easier to watch when it turns to looking at Slim's later career as a writer; certainly an admirable turn for the man's life to take, even if he was writing books that romanticized and glamorized his ugly past -- hey, just like this movie!

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