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A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this romantic thriller starring Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie is the kind of twisty suspense drama that will appeal to savvy teens who like the two stars. The premise is simple but mature, and as the movie progresses, certain plot twists make The Tourist more appropriate for older teens and adults. There's some persistent violence in the form of a frightening older gangster who has no problem killing his own henchman and is responsible for the film's (relatively small) body count. Language includes a couple of uses of "f--k," as well as "s--t" and "a--hole." Although sexual content isn't too graphic -- Jolie and Depp's characters kiss passionately a couple of times, and, in one scene, Jolie strips down to her undergarments to change into a nightgown -- there's still a strong feeling of sexuality throughout the movie, as Jolie's mere presence creates an aura of sex appeal.
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What's the story?
Elise Clifton Ward (Angelina Jolie) is an Englishwoman who lives in Paris and is being surveilled by both French and English authorities for her past relationship with a mysterious billionaire thief named Alexander Pierce. One morning, she receives instructions to board a train bound for Venice, find a man with Alexander's height and build, and make "them" believe it's him. She targets Frank Tupelo (Johnny Depp), a Wisconsin math teacher on a solo vacation. Smitten with Elise, Frank agrees to go to Elise's hotel, where she kisses him and then explains that she's meeting a secretive man she once loved. Meanwhile, Elise and Frank are being watched not only by a Scotland Yard agent (Paul Bettany) and his Italian collaborators but also by notorious gangster Reginald Shaw (Steven Berkoff), who wants the billions Alexander stole from him. Since Alexander has reportedly spent millions to change his appearance, everyone on the case believes Frank really is Alexander, so the race is on to save him before he's arrested or killed.
Is it any good?
THE TOURIST's look and feel are refreshing tributes to Alfred Hitchcock's classic thrillers, in which mysterious, beautiful women on a train usually spelled trouble. Jolie is perfectly cast; she's the kind of actress you can believe would have every single man (and woman) in a train car staring at her. But Depp is a bit miscast as the wide-eyed Frank, who looks cool (because he's Johnny Depp) but is actually awkward and unaccustomed to the sensual sophistication that Elise exudes with every swish of her hips. Their flirtatious conversations are sweet and funny, but there's not the kind of electrifying chemistry you'd expect (for perfection, see Cary Grant and Eva Marie Saint in North by Northwest).
Still, for travel and fashion junkies, this film is a decadent treat (every single thing Elise dons is gorgeous). Even with all of the movie's eye candy -- from Jolie to Depp to Bettany to Rufus Sewell (as a silent character who may or may not be the real Alexander) -- chances are you'll probably be busier ogling Jolie's ensembles and her hotel suite at the luxurious Hotel Danieli. The romance? It's all right. But the costumes and scenery -- absolutely swoon worthy.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how the movie fits into the suspense genre. Early on, Elise and Frank joke about the stereotypes of suspense novels. How does the movie play by the very same rules they discuss?
Elise explains that she was raised to believe that to truly love someone you have to accept their "two sides" -- good and bad. How do the various characters in the movie show their "two-faced" nature?
What's the movie's message about relationships? Do you think Elise made the right choice? What did Reginald mean when he told Elise that life isn't kind to an ugly woman?