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 thriller based on a John Grisham novel contains considerable discussion of violence, corruption, and sexism. Women are treated as objects to either have affairs with or to bear their husbands' children. Mitch cheats on his wife. Several characters die, three of them on-screen and two of them by the supposed good-guy.
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What's the story?
Tom Cruise is Mitch McDeere, a poor kid who grew up to graduate from Harvard Law School as one of the top five students. He's a whiz, but he's worked for everything he's got and he never got over his mom living in a trailer park. So when Bandini Lambert and Locke, a small Memphis law firm, offer him a huge salary, a house, a car and, most importantly, a sense of family, he moves his life, and his wife, Abby (Jeanne Tripplehorn, who looks oddly similar to Katherine Heigl in this film) to the south. There, he discovers that, like a quiet suburban neighborhood, all is not what it appears. But can he get himself and Abby out before it destroys his life, his career, and his family -- and before he loses his life?
Is it any good?
Like all good dime-store thrillers, The Firm keeps you guessing and moves the plot along quickly through its many twists and turns. Still, that's not enough to make up for the indulgent length (2 1/2 hours) and one-dimensional characters. That is, except for slimy mentor Avery (Gene Hackman), who is conniving, scared, remorseful and libidinous all at once. He's fun to watch and the movie's only comic relief.
Don't expect the Hitchcock-level suspense The Firm clearly aims for. It twists and turns successfully, but the running time is tiring and the plot still sticks to a formula. You know Cruise's character will survive. The only question is How? Unlike thrillers like The Bourne Identity and its sequels, The Firm is predictable.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the importance of wealth. Do you believe, like Mitch, that there's not enough money to feel rich? How important is having things and money to you? What would you do to get it?
In classic literature, the character Faust makes his deal with the devil. Can you think of other movies or books where characters do the same thing?
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