Pillow Talk

Movie review by
Heather Boerner, Common Sense Media
Pillow Talk Movie Poster Image
Hudson and Day's Sex and the City, '50s-style.
  • NR
  • 2012
  • 103 minutes

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Kids say

age 10+
Based on 1 review

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Despite its old-fashioned questions -- Will she or won't she? Is the arrogant womanizer to be envied, laughed at, or tamed? Will the bevy of beauties courted by that womanizer ever catch on and find self-respect? Can a single woman be fulfilled without a man in her life? -- the heroine ultimately stands up for herself, her belief in monogamy, and finds true love.

 

Positive Role Models & Representations

Very 1950s gender roles. Men have power, are womanizers, and allowed great freedom. Women, for the most part, are sexual objects, lovesick, and in need of a man to take care of them. The heroine, however tentatively, veers from the stereotype and almost takes control of her life. There are jokes that fun of homosexuals and overweight women. No characters of color.

Violence

A friend slaps the leading lady to stop her hysterical crying. A punch is thrown; the male victim has a dark bruise and loosened teeth afterward. Both incidents are meant to be funny. And, a young man forcibly tries to kiss the heroine; she briefly struggles, saving herself from his unwanted advances.

Sex

No nudity or actual sexual activity, but sex, or the lack thereof, is the motivating force of the film's story. There's some passionate kissing, lots of flirting, and many implied sexual encounters as the handsome hero has a keen eye for beautiful women and successfully woos a number of them in his apartment, which is designed for seduction. The leading lady is accused of having "bedroom problems" and the leading man is called a "sex maniac." A young man takes the heroine to Lover's Lane, forcefully tries to kiss and embrace her, but she forcefully refuses.

Language

No swearing or coarse language, but lots of sexual innuendo and double entendres.

 

Consumerism

Multiple signs in scene backgrounds: Pabst, Michelob, Schlitz, Canadian Club, Admiral, Circle Line Tours, and several New York clubs and restaurants.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Drunkenness is a source of humor and is used to define some characters: The heroine's female confidante shows up for work every morning with a hangover; several people get very drunk and pass out or collapse. Multiple scenes include smoking and social drinking either at home, in restaurants, or at nightclubs.

 

 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that 1959's Pillow Talk is a romantic comedy that reflects its period's attitudes toward women, sexuality, and what was perceived as funny. Popular, even iconic, this film is packed with sexual innuendo and coy double meanings. While there is no overt sexual activity, other than some passionate kissing and a young man feebly trying to force his attention on the leading  lady, the story is about relationships -- both those that are purely sexual and those that are romantic. More decades-old values onscreen: a featured player with a chronic hangover is seen as humorous, as are several scenes in which characters get very, very drunk; women are referred to as "girls"; homosexuality and obesity are mocked; there's no ethnic diversity; characters smoke; and the glamorous wardrobe includes lots of fur.

User Reviews

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Kid, 10 years old June 20, 2014

Pillow Talk

I love the movie and compared to what to they watch these days his is a must see movie.

What's the story?

Strong cocktails, lots of dating and sex talk, and a single woman living in the city: No, it's not Sex and the City. It's PILLOW TALK. Jan Morrow (Doris Day) is a smashingly dressed single career woman in New York City desperate for her own phone line. As it is, she must share her line, which she uses for work, with suave lothario Brad Allen (Rock Hudson), who sings the same song to every woman who calls him cooing at every hour. (Today's teens, contantly glued to their individual cell phones, may have a hard time imagining a time when unrelated people had to share a "party" line.) By the time Brad sees Jan, out on a grudging date with a pushy, amorous 21-year-old man, she already hates him. But Brad is determined to have Jan as a conquest, too. So he comes up with an alter-ego -- the sweet-tempered oil magnate, Rex Stetson -- and suddenly finds he has more than a simple conquest on his mind. After falling for her, will he be able to right his wrongs, say goodbye to his throngs of ladies, and convince Jan that she's the only woman for him?

Is it any good?

From a distance of decades, Pillow Talk is smart and funny with its send-up of modern masculine norms. And Rock Hudson gets the best of this film. Not only does he get to play two totally different characters, but he's clearly having fun. And the viewer does, too, as he plays mind games with Jan, both as Brad and as Rex.

But there's no getting around the underlying sexism of the film -- that all Jan needs is some sex to make her not care anymore about her stupid business and phone time. Still, Doris Day's charm, superb comic timing, chaste sex appeal, and dazzling costumes shine through, and kids will find Pillow Talk and its absurd situations entertaining.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how films of this ear are fun but depict prejudice against different groups. Do you ignore the racism, sexism, and fat-phobia of the film and only look at the comic storyline?

  • How much do you know about the '50s? What has changed? How have romantic comedies changed?

  • Have you seen other Doris Day movies? Do you find them fun even though the attitudes in them are dated?

Movie details

For kids who love romance and comedy

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