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The Banger Sisters
A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this movie has very strong language, sexual situations and explicit references that include teen sex, a variety of sexual acts, and photographic souvenirs of sexual encounters. Characters drink and use drugs, including teenagers. Sex, drugs, and rock and roll are portrayed as emblems of liberation and a fulfilling life. A character says he plans to shoot his father.
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What's the story?
As THE BANGER SISTERS begins, Suzette (Goldie Hawn), an aging free spirit who never quite left the 60's is still working as a bartender and sees herself as the same girl who dropped out of high school to go to concerts and have sex with musicians. When she loses her job, she decides to find her one-time best pal, Vinnie (Susan Sarandon). But Vinnie is now Lavinia, the very proper mother of two teen-agers and wife of a lawyer with political ambitions, and she has done her best to eradicate any vestige of her wild youth, even from her own memory. One is all about sensation and the moment and the other is all about being careful and fitting in. At first, Vinnie is horrified to see Suzette, and offers her $5000 to go away. But Suzette won't take it. As desperate as she is for money, she finds that she wants friendship even more. And then, as Vinnie discovers that despite her best efforts, she has not been able to protect her daughters from taking risks, she begins to long for that part of herself that was adventuresome and colorful.
Is it any good?
The considerable pleasures of watching Oscar-winners Susan Sarandon, Goldie Hawn, and Geoffrey Rush displaying all of their combined charm and talent are repeatedly tripped up by a lame script. It wastes not just its stars but also an enticing premise. Hawn is marvelous as Suzette, showings us not just Suzette's spirit but also her vulnerability. She also cares for Vinnie's troubled daughter and we see she's more than a careless party girl.
Sarandon and Rush are also marvelous, giving Vinnie and Harry vastly more interest than the script does. They are so good that the idiotic arbitrariness of the script doesn't leap off the screen the way it should. Some events seem to be thrown into the plot so that characters can react to them and then are just abandoned, and characters completely change their minds for no reason.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how Suzette and Vinnie were changed by their reunion. How will Vinnie's relationship with her family change? Families can also talk about how much of her past Vinnie should have discussed with her daughters and what they think she was doing well or badly as a mother of teenagers. Parents may want to use this movie to talk about their own choices as teens and how that affected the messages they tried to send their children. Vinnie's daughter says "You're allowed to fail; I'm not." Vinnie says, "I'm just trying to keep you safe." Harry also wants to be safe. How much risk and how much failure should parents expect or allow from their kids? What does your family think of Suzette's view that people who love each other fight and argue, and she wants to have someone to argue with.
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