A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that The Look of Love follows the life of Paul Raymond, who built an empire of strip clubs, erotic revues, and adult magazines in London in the 1960s and '70s, eventually becoming the United Kingdom's richest man. Expect lots of debauchery, including drinking, hard drugs (people are seen snorting cocaine, and there's a tragic overdose), smoking, sex (including threesomes/other combinations), and nudity. Naked women -- both topless and bottomless -- are seen in many, many scenes, either performing on stage or in Raymond's bedroom. There's also some strong language ("f--king," etc.).
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
In the 1960s and '70s, Paul Raymond (Steve Coogan) built an empire of London strip clubs, adult magazines, and erotic revues, eventually becoming the United Kingdom's richest man -- a journey that's chronicled in THE LOOK OF LOVE. Along the way, he was determined to live life on his own terms, even if his behavior threatened to break up his family. Frequently unfaithful to his wife and spoiling his daughter terribly, he nonetheless is taken aback by his wife's bitter anger and baffled that his child isn't happy when she has everything she could ever want. (Or so he thinks.) Though kids need more than money and toys, Raymond has a hard time realizing that the people in his life want his devotion more than anything else. That's the one thing he's unwilling to provide -- with tragic results -- in this biopic from director Michael Winterbottom.
Is it any good?
The look of The Look of Love is the Burt Bacharach era personified, lit and tinted in all its pretty, hep-cat glory. It's a joy to behold, the visual feast is so delicious. But the film dredges up more questions than it answers, and that nags at the audience. Raymond certainly lived a colorful life, but only a few shades of it are shown here. We see the man with a huge carnal appetite and little regard for jealous partners, but only briefly do we see how his relationships fall apart -- and it's not clear whether that even bothers him. He's apparently a shrewd businessman, building a fortune based on real estate and naked women, but not much of his acumen is on display (and if so, just fleetingly).
And while Raymond clearly loves his daughter, we rarely see him actually parenting her, and he totally neglects his sons. We don't see his battles with the conservative establishment, who deem him a pornographer and want to shut down his clubs. Nor is there much examination of how someone he loves ends up dead from a tragic overdose or how it affects him. There are the makings of a great movie in Raymond's rags-to-riches tale -- the acting is spot-on -- but the depths aren't sufficiently plumbed in The Look of Love. It's mostly about the surface. Or, rather, the look.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about The Look of Love's main character. What do you think of Paul Raymond as a husband and father? He's devoted to his kids, but is he a good parent?
What's the movie's attitude toward sex? Parents, talk to your teens about your own values on this topic.
How does Raymond's behavior affect the other people around him? How accurate do you think the movie is to his life? Why do filmmakers sometimes adjust facts?
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