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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Pavarotti's success started with his drive, ambition, charismatic personality, but he worked as a team with his wife, his managers, and concert producers to create a brand and an image, becoming one of the world's biggest stars. Humility and compassion lead him to greater heights.
Positive Role Models
Depicts the maestro as an inspiring, likable, relatable figure: He was a school teacher with a dream who surpassed his goal to become greatest tenor of all time. Yet he still was a bundle of nerves before every performance. Once successful, he became committed to philanthropy, especially causes that helped children. He demonstrates how to work with your rivals instead of against them to bring even greater success to all. He defied traditional thinking to experiment with his craft and create a new bar of accomplishment. But he did also have affairs and had an unhealthy lifestyle.
Violence & Scariness
Historical footage of World War II includes bombings and a haunting image of several dead men who'd been hanged. Images of performance of Tosca include Pavarotti covered in fake blood, stage rifles shooting at Pavarotti's character, who falls as if dead.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Discussion of Pavarotti's marriage includes a nonjudgmental inclusion about his infidelities and brief mention of the upsetting impact to his children when one affair became public.
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Bono says "pisses," and "f---ing" a couple of times.
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Products & Purchases
Pavarotti himself is a known brand.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Wine bottle label with Pavarotti's name on it is featured.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that in the documentary Pavarotti, director Ron Howard uses the late tenor Luciano Pavarotti's life story to demonstrate how a great talent in a niche music genre built his brand to become one of the world's biggest superstars. Many kids may turn up their nose at an opera film, but, in our fame-seeking world, some may spark to the idea of how out-of-the-box thinking and teamwork allowed Pavarotti to become a household name. The film also makes it clear that the singer's perseverance, humility, and compassion led him to greater heights, and it implies that his friendship with Princess Diana influenced him to turn his life's work into a vehicle for noble and charitable efforts. It also serves as an opera primer, with lessons that are applicable beyond that community -- such as why opera is designed to create an emotional connection with the audience. While Pavarotti is mostly made out to be a saint, it does acknowledge he had affairs that brought pain and estrangement to his family. Expect a couple of swear words (including "f---ing") and historical footage from World War II that includes bombings and a haunting image of several dead men who'd been hanged. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Howard deftly lays out how an elementary school teacher created thunder loud enough to make the world take notice as he flashed across the sky. In doing so, Pavarotti becomes much more appealing to mainstream audiences than you might think for a heavily subtitled movie about an Italian opera singer. Howard starts by making him human, revealing "Luciano" before he becomes "Pavarotti." Viewers see his goofy sense of humor, his insecurities, his loneliness, and his beginnings as a boy who wanted to be like his father. The audience gets a feel for his terrific ambition, and credit is given to those he trusted to get him to the top. (Future marketing geniuses should take notes.)
But for opera fans, the film lacks depth. The audience doesn't really get a feel for the man himself. The interview footage with Pavarotti is limited, and the blanks are filled in by wives and lovers, managers and colleagues. He still feels like he's up on a pedestal, untouchable; perhaps that's because all of the interview subjects, including his wives and children, have put him there. As a mainstream reveal of what made opera icon Luciano Pavarotti surpass "good" to become one of the greats, Pavarotti satisfies the itch, but for opera fans, this film on the tenor's life only scratches the surface.
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.