A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
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
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 & Scariness
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.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
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.
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No swearing or coarse language, but lots of sexual innuendo and double entendres.
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Products & Purchases
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.
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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. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
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.
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.