The Bodyguard

 
(i)

 

Great Whitney Houston songs, mediocre love story.
  • Review Date: January 27, 2008
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 1992
  • Running Time: 129 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

A singing superstar is selfish and petty; a bodyguard crosses the line between business and pleasure.

Violence

Frank pulls out his gun in many scenes when he's guarding Rachel. He and Tony get into a bloody knife fight. A supporting character is shot, and a bomb nearly kills Rachel's son. Frank is shot while defending Rachel, as is the paid assassin.

Sex

Frank and Rachel kiss several times and make love; Rachel kisses a man who then tries to force himself on her.

Language

Standard rated-R language: "f--k," "s--t," "ass," "bitch," "dick," etc.

Consumerism

An Academy Awards ceremony plays a prominent part in the third act. Samurai movies and swords are also featured.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Characters drink and smoke cigarettes.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this movie was extremely popular for the songs Whitney Houston performed for the film. Years after its release, it still boasted the best-selling soundtrack of all time -- but the film itself hasn't held up quite as much, so unless kids are big Kevin Costner or Houston fans, it's doubtful they'll be clamoring to see this romantic thriller from 1992. Be aware that there's some violence, including a bloody knife fight and several scenes involving gunshots and casualties. Kevin and Whitney's characters kiss and have sex, but there's no nudity. Language is standard for an R-rated drama.

Parents say

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What's the story?

Kevin Costner is Frank Farmer, a former Secret Service Agent for President Reagan who's left government for private security work. His latest gig is to be THE BODYGUARD for an international pop star and actress, Rachel Marron (Whitney Houston, seemingly playing a variation of herself). At first he declines, but after her manager and publicist explain that unbeknown to Rachel, she's been receiving death threats from a stalker, he relents and starts overhauling her security, dictating rules about her outings and otherwise taking control over her safety. Eventually, Rachel finds that control attractive, and the two start an uneasy romance while trying to escape a killer's attacks.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

The reason The Bodyguard scored more than $410 million worldwide is not Costner and Houston's (inexistent) chemistry. It's about the accompanying soundtrack, which to date stands as the highest selling in movie history and features six songs by Houston, including "Queen of the Night," a remake of Chaka Khan's "I'm Every Woman," "I've Got Nothing," and, of course, her signature cover of Dolly Parton's "I Will Always Love You." Although her songs make up half of the soundtrack, she is credited for the album's popularity, which in turn drove people to see the film.

Houston's performance is strengthened by the fact that Oscar-nominated Rachel sings all of the soundtrack's key songs on camera, instead of just having the songs play over scenes. Without Houston's powerful voice, the love story is reduced to schmaltzy dialogue, zero heat between the leads, and Farmer's unexplained obsession with swords and knives. Regardless of whether you're a Houston fan, her talent as a singer is what makes the movie halfway watchable. When she's not singing, there's a temptation to fast-forward.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the film's take on the price of stardom. Is society more or less celebrity obsessed now than in the early 1990s? Why are stars often portrayed as having stalkers, entourages, and self-absorbed personalities?

  • Kids: Do you think stars are just as important to society as top politicians, the way the Secret Service officers make it seem?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:November 25, 1992
DVD release date:February 1, 2005
Cast:Bill Cobbs, Kevin Costner, Whitney Houston
Director:Mick Jackson
Studio:Warner Home Video
Genre:Drama
Run time:129 minutes
MPAA rating:R
MPAA explanation:for language

This review of The Bodyguard was written by

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Quality

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Kid, 11 years old November 20, 2012
 

Some Small Info

I think this movie tells a great story and honors the late Ms.Houston. I also must warn you that there is a scene where Rachel (Whitney Houston) is sleeping in only a bra and skirt with Frank (Kevin Costner).
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Teen, 13 years old Written byluvpink February 22, 2012
 

Look Past The Rating

The movie One Day (which is rated PG-13) and the movie Something Borrowed (which is rated PG-13) makes the Body Guard (which is rated R) look chaste. Any thirteen year old could watch this movie. At first when I watched it (knowing that it was rated R) I expected intense violence harsh language and graphic sexual content. Instead there was only brief language only mild violence and a love scene that would be for movies rated PG. My parents who usually would never let me watch a rated R movie, allowed me to watch this one because they knew it was ok. Look past the rating. ew
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking

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