A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Tom Baxter is a stalwart movie hero, devised to be courageous, faithful, and polite -- so much so that he even charms some pretty cynical characters. The actor who created Tom, however, turns out to be two-faced. Cecilia, though trapped in a marriage she no longer wants, still chafes at the idea of leaving her husband (though part of this might be her waiflike and unassertive qualities). The 1930s movie characters shown include a somewhat stereotypical black maid.
Violence & Scariness
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Tom Baxter, as a fictitious 1930s Hollywood character, only knows as much about sex as studio censorship permits, and there is much talk of this, especially when he walks into a brothel and gets propositioned, with all kinds of kinky (but non-clinical) suggestions.
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"Douchebag," "whorehouse," and "hell" uttered.
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Products & Purchases
Brief references to real-life movies of the 1930s.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Characters drink and smoke, both in reality and in the movie-within-a-movie (though the fictional ones have to use prop ginger ale).
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that a lot of the movie deals with an innocent, fictional character, from a Golden Age Hollywood film (with morality dictated by studio censorship) suddenly faced with the real world, where people don't fight fair, where despair and unemployment and prostitution exist, and where sex is more than just a fadeout -- resulting in some innuendo-laden dialogue. Adultery is a large part of the plot, with Tom beseeching the married heroine to leave her loutish husband for him. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Woody Allen's whimsical tale seems like a valentine -- with some doubts -- to 1930s movies and their glossy black-and-white make-believe that uplifted downtrodden, Depression-era audiences. Grown-ups can take this breezy comedy as both a tribute to and a cautionary tale of women who love movies too much. Kids can enjoy it as one the many fish-out-of-water plots, in which a fantasy-film archetype must deal with the 20th-century real world. And Woody Allen fans will get their fill of his clever dialogue, tinged with existential angst and uncertainty around the edges.
The gimmicky premise pays off in a number of very funny scenes, but there's also a wistful quality about the film, its sepia-toned settings, and an ending twist that puts into sharp focus the idea that true love and happy endings exist more often in movies than in real life. Younger viewers, especially those not into the time period, might be restless that the farce here is more about dialogue, relationships, and concepts than special effects and action.
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Our Editors Recommend
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