A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Although some selfish behavior gets in the way, the movie ultimately has a positive message about loyalty and the power of love.
Positive Role Models
Lead characters are definitely flawed -- Jack is a scoundrel with a shady past, and Joan is idealistic and overly cautious -- but they eventually bring out the best in each other and develop loyalty to each other.
Joan is a positive female lead, intelligent and empowered by her career as a world-famous romance novelist. Unfortunately, any gains made by her (and screenwriter Diane Thomas) are lost by the film's overt racism. Colombia is derisively described by Joan's publisher as full of "insects the size of sanitation trucks" and "revolutionaries." In Colombia-set scenes, police are violent and corrupt; others are drug runners. Even children aren't spared: A young boy knocks out Elaine with a set of bolas and steals her car. The only Colombian characters in significant roles include the caricatured villain, Zolo, and affable cartel member Juan. Both are played by Mexican actors -- Manuel Ojeda and Alfonso Arau, respectively -- showing the film's lack of care as it treats Latinos as interchangeable.
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Violence & Scariness
A couple of stabbings and plenty of gun fights. The baddest of the bad guys has his hand bitten off by a crocodile, which is then completely devoured (off-screen) by a pit full of crocodiles. Frequent danger and peril.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Breasts visible through a wet cotton top. Sexual innuendo/scenarios -- like a man's face landing in a woman's lap. The two leads end up together in bed with implied nudity, though sensitive parts are strategically covered. Brief glimpse of Playboy magazine; the cover image has a woman wearing a low-cut shirt, cleavage visible.
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Plentiful use of words like "God," "bastards," and "son of a bitch." "A--hole" is said once. The slur "spico" is used by a kidnapper to describe Colombians. The same character derides his brother by calling him a gay slur, "maricon."
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Products & Purchases
Background signage includes Avis car rental, Pepsi. Playboy magazine cover briefly glimpsed; Rolling Stone is read by main character. Verbal references to American Express and a list of drinks -- offered to Joan -- includes Southern Comfort, Michelob, Dos Equis, and more.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Burning marijuana to keep warm. Jokes about smoking pot back in college. Main characters drink liquor straight from the bottle to calm nerves; Joan acts dreamily buzzed before passing out.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Romancing the Stone has violence, profanity, sexual situations, and racist depictions of Colombians in what is otherwise an action-packed adventure movie with a strong female lead. The baddest of the villains has his hand bitten off by a crocodile, which is then completely devoured (off-screen) by a pit full of crocodiles. There's also a fair bit of swearing, a couple of stabbings, and gun fights. Breasts are visible through a wet cotton top, and there's plenty of sexual innuendo. The two leads end up together in bed, though there's no nudity. Colombian men are depicted as violent, corrupt, and dangerous. Language includes expletives like "God," "bastards," and "son of a bitch," and "a--hole" is used once. Slurs like "spico" and "maricon" are glibly used by a kidnapper. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Robert Zemeckis' action-packed adventure movie is laced with a sharp sense of humor. Romancing the Stone features jungle-vine swinging and mudslides down mountainsides, its rough-and-tumble story recalling the spirit of the Indiana Jones movies -- including, unfortunately, much of the racism that also marred otherwise-thrilling tales like Raiders of the Lost Ark. On the upside, Turner and Douglas generate plenty of sparks, as screenwriter Diane Thomas infuses her script with a delicious tongue-in-cheek quality. And the film's saxophone-heavy score evokes a 1980s Miami Vice-type swagger that keeps the mood energetic and fun.
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.