A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Burt is an iconoclast -- he doesn't follow rules, ignores authorities, and tries to sweet-talk his way out of everything. While nothing here is particularly violent or sexual, Burt's antics may prompt kids to follow that example. Burt also lights his lawn on fire when a neighbor complains that his unkempt yard is lowering property values, and sleeps with two different women and flirts with a third.
- Parents say
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What's the story?
THE WORLD'S FASTEST INDIAN follows the adventures of eccentric and determined New Zealander Burt Monro (Anthony Hopkins) as he tries to set a land-speed record on his 1920s motorcycle. Burt takes very few things seriously. He pees on his lemon tree (because it fertilizes the tree, he tells a neighbor boy); he revs his ancient motorcycle's engine before dawn, waking the neighborhood; and generally enjoys himself regardless of social norms. When Burt finds out some bad news, he decides to finally pursue his dream: set a land-speed record on that old bike at the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah. Along the way, Burt fixes used cars, befriends a proper-looking drag queen, sleeps with two different women, and spends the night with a Native American man who gives him a folk remedy for prostate problems.
Is it any good?
Lots of movies exalt the virtues of following your dreams, but few do it with such joy as The World's Fastest Indian. Hopkins turns in an infectious performance as the eccentric and crotchety Munro. You can tell Hopkins loves playing a wild man who does a little dance for his gal pal and gets by on his considerable charm. He's positively giddy, even when driving the wrong way on a one-way street or dodging a rattlesnake's bite.
The moral here is you don't have to be rich, you don't have to be young, and you don't have to be urbane to go after your dreams. You can be a crotchety old man who's never been outside his small town. It's a great message for insecure teens. Unfortunately, the film is unlikely to maintain their interest. It's odd that a movie about speed is so slow and belabored. There are certainly great parts, but teens may not stick around to discover them.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the joy Burt takes in following his dreams. When you're going after the things you like, do you have fun, or do you take it seriously? This is also a good time to talk about appropriate behavior. Is it OK for Burt to behave the way he does? What's enjoyable about watching Burt go against the social norms?
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