A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Mood Indigo is a romantic fantasy by acclaimed director Michel Gondry. Iffy moments are few and far between, but there are a few brief strong images, though they occur within an entirely artificial, fanciful world. Characters die, and some brief blood and gore is shown. There's some very brief nudity, both female and male, and sex between a married couple is implied, though they're only shown kissing and embracing. Some other kissing is shown. The 94-minute American version has no foul language in the subtitles, though the uncut French version (which is some 30 minutes longer) may have. Characters drink cocktails and smoke cigarettes from time to time, though mostly socially.
What's the story?
In a strange, fanciful world where mice help out in the kitchen, food moves by itself, and rainstorms only happen halfway, Colin (Romain Duris) is wealthy and happy. He has a pianocktail (a piano that makes different cocktails based on which notes are played), and he has a trusted and helpful chef, Nicolas (Omar Sy). When Colin's best friend, Chick (Gad Elmaleh), starts dating Nicolas' niece, Colin wishes to fall in love, too. And so he does, with the charming Chloe (Audrey Tautou). Unfortunately, during their honeymoon, Chloe becomes ill; a water lily starts growing inside her lung, and she must be surrounded by fresh flowers to chase it away. Colin must find a job when the hospital bills begin piling up, and things continue to grow bleaker.
Is it any good?
Die-hard romantics will want to bring tissues for this one. The French-born, New York-based director Michel Gondry seems to be attracted to heart-rending romantic stories. In movies like Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and The Science of Sleep, he used highly stylized and visually inventive methods to underline their purity and even naïveté. But without a solid source, his beautiful doodles have the effect of feeling ungrounded, of spiraling off somewhere into the universe.
Based on a 1947 novel by Boris Vian and sprinkled with Duke Ellington music, MOOD INDIGO has been cut by at least 30 minutes for its American release; it now runs 94 minutes. It seems unlikely that this material could successfully play past two hours without getting tiresome, but the shorter version feels almost cruelly abrupt. Nevertheless, the overall effect is quite potent thanks to the good-natured, unguarded qualities of the characters, as well as the fine performances.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how much sex is shown or implied in this romantic story. Is it necessary to the story? How does Mood Indigo's fanciful presentation change the nature of sex?
Is it difficult watching movies that don't strictly take place in the real world? Are the images funny, disturbing, or lovely? What are the rules in this movie?
What is a tragedy in literature and entertainment? Why would we want to see a tragedy instead of something happier?
What's the difference between romantic fantasy and magical realism?
For kids who love romance
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