The Philadelphia Story
What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this is a very funny comedy of manners, beautifully performed and directed. However, it's a bit risque and the class politics may be lost on younger kids. They may also be confused by the outdated gender roles. Parents should know that alcoholism, divorce, adultery, and lechery are made light of.
What's the story?
A classic screwball comedy, THE PHILADELPHIA STORY follows the love life of spitfire socialite Tracy Lord (Katharine Hepburn), who divorces her husband C.K. (Cary Grant) and, a few years later, is getting ready to marry tightly wound -- and moneyed -- George Kittridge. A crisis is averted when a tabloid story about Tracy's womanizing father is stopped, but this means that reporter Mike Connor (Jimmy Stewart) gets access to Tracy's wedding nuptials. Soon, a confused Tracy finds herself torn between George, the irresistibly attractive Mike, and devilishly handsome C.K., who still holds a torch for his former wife.
Is it any good?
While Hepburn is unquestionably the star of this screwball romance, Cary Grant is irrepressibly charming and Jimmy Stewart steals the show when he turns into an amorous drunk (he won a Best Actor Oscar for this role). The dialogue is sly and witty (although pretty adult), the story tightly wound and beautifully spun, and there are plenty of funny pratfalls.
There's also a serious side to this movie. As Tracy prepares herself for her second marriage, she is sternly lectured by her ex and her dad, and told that a woman should be unconditionally forgiving, understanding, and loving in the face of her husband's alcoholism and her father's sexual indiscretions. Overall, this is a smart and ambitious comedy, one that states that there's more to a wedding than the materialistic aspects, and more to life than good manners and fine appearances. The love story is complex and delightful, and plenty of silly sub-plots keep things moving.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about how gender roles have evolved since the movie was made.