A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that while this is a cinematic masterpiece, the themes and events of this film is not suitable for young teens. Graphic violence in this film is interspersed with long discussions about mafia strategy and the organization of the family. In the opening scene, a mother begs the local don to spare her only son's life at her husband's funeral. The son is shot soon after.
What's the story?
Using flashbacks and scenes set in the film's present day, THE GODFATHER: PART II brilliantly relates the tale of Vito Corleone's (Robert De Niro) transformation into mafia don during the 1900s and son Michael's (Al Pacino) reluctant takeover of the family business in the 1950s. Rather than simply glorifying the mafia don's position, PART II presents a man who is tortured by his title. Michael is pained watching his job tear his family apart. At one point he asks his mother if his father had the same emotional issues. "How was his head?" He asks her. Unlike Tony of the Sopranos, Michael does not seek psychotherapy; instead, he uses violence and revenge to solve his problems. Not anyone, including family members, dare cross him in his quest to build the family empire, as he will not tolerate the slightest bit of disloyalty.
Is it any good?
Superbly written storylines and amazing performances by the principal actors, including Robert De Niro, Al Pacino and Diane Keaton, is why PART II is considered a cinematic masterpiece. It's often called the best of the Godfather trilogy. Given its presence in hip hop and general pop culture, kids will want to see this film. Yet, due to violent content, parents might want to think twice before allowing them to do so.
The film has the unmistakable air of saga as it moves back and forth through time, juxtaposing Michael's emotional struggle with becoming a don to that of his father's seemingly effortless rise to power. In doing so, Francis Ford Coppola is able to maintain an amazing balance of powerful character driven stories peppered with the ruthless violence we expect from a gangster film.
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