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The Color of Money
A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Eddie and Vincent make a living off of lying and manipulating for money, and Carmen manipulates by using her body. Eddie also threatens to beat up Carmen. Money is more important than everything else, despite the fact that Eddie seems to be mentoring Vincent. There is some strong language, smoking, and drinking.
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What's the story?
Fast Eddie (Paul Newman) is a liquor distributor with a loving woman and a nice car, but he sees something in brash, cocky young pool hot shot Vincent (Tom Cruise). He takes Vincent and girlfriend Carmen (Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio) on the road to prepare him to shark his way through the 9-ball championship in Atlantic City. Along the way, childish Vincent must learn to reign in his "look at me!" cockiness and Eddie realizes that he still has the itch to play the game. But can he come back? While the title of THE COLOR OF MONEY seems to be about getting rich, the film is really aging pool shark Fast Eddie Felson reckoning with the life he's lived and the decisions he's made. Eddie has to decide whether the line he's been giving hot shot Vincent is true: "We're talking around things here: It ain't about pool. It ain't about sex. It ain't about love. It's about money. The best is the guy with the most."
Is it any good?
What's stunning about the film is the complexity Newman lends Eddie; he's likable and charming, even when he's being all Machiavellian. If any other actor were playing Eddie, he would have come across as a snake. Instead, the viewer ends up rooting for him and wishing him well. That's no small feat for a character and a film that seems on the surface to be about "greed is good" morality.
Because The Color of Money is really about a man coming to terms with his life, the true drama of the film will probably be lost on teens and younger viewers. They may, however, still enjoy the machismo involved in playing high-stakes pool.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about whether manipulating for money is ever a good idea. If you have a talent, should you exploit it or simply try to be the best you can be? Is it true, as Eddie says, that "the best is the guy with the most"? What are your values and how would you handle someone offering to make you rich?
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