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Parents' Guide to

The Last Days of Disco

By Brian Costello, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 16+

Bittersweet, slow-moving period piece has sex, drugs.

Movie R 1998 114 minutes
The Last Days of Disco Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 16+

Based on 1 parent review

age 16+

Rated 'R' but OK for older teens

I wouldn't let my 13 year old watch this; however, this 1990's R-rated film is not as graphic as many of today's R's. I might have pushed the age down to 15+; however, the Common Sense Media review missed one very brief instance of "full-frontal" nudity. Violence is present but not at all extreme. Drug use is a part of the story but not overt. While drinking is prevalent, even among these 'clubbing' 20-somethings, there is very little evidence of heavy drinking or inebriation. Conversations about STDs are subtle and may pass unnoticed by younger teens but still not a movie for them. This is a quirky and, at times, awkward movie - but it seems to be the director's intent. Good messages about friendships and relationships emerge through the trials and tribulations faced by the characters. I enjoyed the film more and more as it progressed.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say: (1 ):
Kids say: Not yet rated

This '90s look back at the '70s still works. Movies immersed in nostalgia work best when the romanticized past has enough "warts and all" to remind viewers that the past wasn't any better than the present. This is a huge part of why The Last Days of Disco remains entertaining years after its release. Set in 1980 during the last months of a discotheque that will be going out of business soon, the scenes wonderfully evoke the gray area between eras. In the discotheque, one sees both 1970s liberation in the fashions, standout individuals, and subcultures, and the onset of the preppy-yuppie conservative reaction just on the horizon -- sexual liberation on one end, the rapid spread of herpes and other venereal diseases on the other.

Amid this backdrop, these characters are struggling to find themselves and their place in the world. They are neurotic, with precarious employment, suffering setbacks in their personal and professional lives. What emerges is how disco for them is a place for escape -- a place to forget their problems, even if they aren't successful in the attempt. The characters themselves aren't even necessarily likable -- each flawed and pretentious in their own way -- but that's part of what makes the movie so good. Most people in their early 20s aren't always fun to be around or half as interesting as they think they are. It's the unflinching look at the flaws in the characters and the time that makes The Last Days of Disco a solid evocation of a unique time in American culture.

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