Parents' Guide to

Moscow on the Hudson

By Brian Costello, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 17+

Charming Cold War-era immigrant story has cursing, sex.

Movie R 1984 117 minutes
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While so many '80s movies with Cold War Soviet Union/USA rivalries are now as dated as parachute pants, this one remains surprisingly relevant. This is because Moscow on the Hudson focuses less on the Cold War and more on the immigrant experience in America. Nothing is sugarcoated about how immigrants of many different cultures adjust to their new lives, nor is it romanticized. What emerges is a three-dimensional portrait of immigrants to America, and at a time when so many immigrants are the targets of politicians engaged in hateful demagoguery, the immigrants in this movie are shown to be hardworking, ambitious, and eager to embrace America's cultural and political beliefs, even as they contend with missing those they left behind, and retaining their own cultural identities.

Also, unlike so many Cold War-era movies, Moscow on the Hudson doesn't resort to the broad-brush generalizations of Good Guy America versus Bad Guy Soviet Union; a nuanced portrait of both countries emerges. Nor does it rely on the cliched humor of naive bumbling immigrants who consistently mangle common expressions for the sake of comedy. By portraying the characters as individuals who are part of different cultures rather than simplistic cultural archetypes, the end result is an empathetic comedy that goes way beyond what could have easily been a dated movie rife with stereotypes.

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