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 Hitchcock suspense thriller offers mild suspense and several situations in which the lives of John, Francie, and other characters are at stake. Characters are shot at, chased in their cars, drive recklessly, and issued death threats. There's considerable 1950s-era sexism and women are treated as sex objects or paternally. John says at one point that he should "spank" a woman who disobeyed his orders.
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What's the story?
The romantic classic TO CATCH A THIEF is a roller-coaster ride right off the bat. In the first five minutes there's a car chase and enough intrigue, double crosses, and sexual innuendo to keep you riveted for the whole film. Dashing, retired jewel thief John Robie (Cary Grant) hasn't stolen jewels for more than 15 years, and went to prison for the crimes he did commit, but when jewels start showing up missing again along the romantic French Riviera, all eyes are on Robie. To prove his innocence, Robie decides not to hide but to go to the heart of the matter and find the real cat burglar. Along the way, he meets the divine Francie (Grace Kelly), who's on to him. Of course while the handsome duo work out the clues they fall for each other.
Is it any good?
What could be better than a Hitchcock film set in the picturesque French Riviera? As always, you have to admire Hitchcock's pacing. It's quick without being rushed. To Catch a Thief is an especially good introduction to Hitchcock for teens. While it does involve intrigue and death threats, it's not as dark as Rear Window, The Birds, or Psycho.
And the glamour of the 1950s fashions are not to be missed. When Grace Kelly floats through a party in a huge gold lame strapless ballgown it's divine. And Kelly in a chiffon gown just for a dinner date -- decadent.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how you gain back trust after you've done something wrong. John is forever considered a jewel thief, even though he hasn't stolen in years. When you disappoint or betray the trust of someone in your family, do you feel like you'll never be trusted again? How do you gain back that trust? Families can also talk about the gender roles in the film. Are the men role models for how men should behave? Are the women role models for how women should behave? Why or why not?
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