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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Movie shows what can be accomplished in life through drive and determination.
Positive Role Models
For all his faults, Howard Hughes is shown to be a man of boundless ambition, with the drive and determination to succeed in both the aviation and film industries.
Violence & Scariness
A plane crashes into a neighborhood, ripping the roof off a house as the occupants inside barely escape the carnage. The pilot is shown bleeding and injured with burns on his body inside the cockpit and the hospital. Fistfight in a ballroom: punches, broken glass.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Sexual references and situations. Brief male nudity, buttocks. Man kisses a woman while standing behind her, reaches in front and puts his hand down her blouse, cupping her breast. During a meeting with a censorship board concerning the amount of breast exposed by Jane Russell in a film made by Hughes, Hughes unveils several pictures of other actresses in different motion pictures and the amount of cleavage shown in these movies. During a heated argument, a woman tells her paranoid lover the names of two men she has "screwed." Hughes is shown having relationships with different women, as well as with a 15-year-old girl.
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Occasional profanity. One use of "f--k." "Bulls--t," "bitch," "t-ts," "pr--k," "ass." African-Americans called "coloreds" in one scene. Someone is described as being "queer as a bedbug." Woman names men she has "screwed" during a heated argument.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Drinking in nightclubs. Cigarette and pipe smoking.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Aviator is a 2004 biopic in which Leonardo DiCaprio plays Howard Hughes. This movie has some very violent airplane crashes, some causing serious injury. Characters drink, smoke, and use occasional profanity, including "f--k." There are explicit sexual references and situations and some nonsexual nudity. Some audience members may be upset by the scenes involving Hughes' struggles with OCD. In addition to the highs and lows of his career in both aviation and film, Hughes is shown having relationships with different women, as well as with a 15-year-old girl. Overall, the movie shows the complexities and paradoxes of Howard Hughes, and how his high standards that led to his success were rooted in traumas and illness that also led to his unraveling. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
A true story that is both touching and thrilling and tons of talent on both sides of the camera are enough to make this a good movie, but not enough to make it a great one. Hughes' larger-than-life story could easily fill six movies, so even this energetic and muscular three-hour-epic feels like it's just skimming the surface. There's no way to try to cover even this one section of Hughes' life without making it feel like a "greatest hits" clip job instead of a story with a real narrative arc. And it never rises from incident to insight.
The second problem is Leonardo DiCaprio, who is a brilliantly gifted actor, but here his squint, tics, and accent make Hughes seems more like a kid struggling with ADD than the tortured larger-than-life tycoon. But no one does pageantry better than Scorcese, and this is a brilliant film, even with its flaws. Cate Blanchett brings Katherine Hepburn to life. Kate Beckinsale is adequate as Ava Gardner. The crash scene is bone-chillingly harrowing, and the scenes of old-time Hollywood reflect the director's deep love of that era. Like the life it depicts, it's uneven and fascinating.
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.