Tootsie Movie Poster Image


Touching romantic comedy with a twist.
Parents recommend
  • Rated: PG
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Release Year: 1982
  • Running Time: 116 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Various representations of strong women and chivalrous men, but also problematic misogynist characters (identified as badly behaved).


A few smacks across the face.


Implied sex and gay/lesbian innuendo.


Some questionable language.

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Heavy drinking by a main character that is identified as a problem.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this film touches on issues such as having children out of wedlock, alcoholism, and homosexuality (much of which is mistakenly assumed during moments of cross-dressing). While these issues may seem mature, the film uses each sparingly and as a means to illustrate growth in its characters. While the storyline puts Michael (and his alter-ego Dorothy) in compromising situations, it also leads to good clean fun and personal discoveries about respect for one's self and others.

What's the story?

TOOTSIE follows the story of Michael Dorsey (Dustin Hoffman), an out-of-work and disagreeable New York actor who disguises himself as a woman to win a plumb role in a daytime soap opera. Ultimately, Michael gets more than a steady paying job. The nation embraces his screen alter-ego Dorothy as a strong female role model. Michael quickly learns a little about what life is like for the opposite sex. As he melds his adversarial demeanor with Dorothy's on- and off-screen personae, he simultaneously finds his womanhood, manhood, and love.

Is it any good?


This is a raucously funny, yet touching film (that includes one of the best uses of a corncob in the history of motion pictures). Before Mrs. Doubtfire donned a dress, Dustin Hoffman made a splash on the big screen as Dorothy Michaels (née Michael Dorsey) in Tootsie. Aside from classic performances by Hoffman, Jessica Lange, and Teri Garr, the film features underrated turns by Bill Murray as Michael's playwright roommate and Charles Durning as a man bitten by Dorothy's feminine wiles. The humor and subject matter stand the test of time quite well. It's truly worth watching for teens and adults.

Nominated for 10 Academy Awards (including a win for Jessica Lange), the comedy entered into the feminist fray at the height of the push for the Equal Rights Amendment.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the film's themes of honesty, homosexuality, and gender equality. Families can talk about the Michael's changes in attitude and treatment of women early in the film versus the end. While the movie may be over 20 years old, it still has something important to say about representations of women on television. Parents could talk to kids about how such representations have changed or remained the same since the film's production.

Movie details

Theatrical release date:December 17, 1982
DVD/Streaming release date:January 15, 2002
Cast:Charles Durning, Dustin Hoffman, Jessica Lange
Director:Sydney Pollack
Studio:Columbia Tristar
Run time:116 minutes
MPAA rating:PG
MPAA explanation:content

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What parents and kids say

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Parent of a 11 and 14 year old Written bybeverson July 10, 2009

Fun for teens and parents, a little iffy for pre-teens

This is a great movie -- the only concern I have is some sexual talk which may not be appropriate for pre-teens. An instance that comes to mind: Dustin Hoffman is in Teri Garr's bedroom while she's showering and wants to try on her dress. She catches him and he covers by saying he wants her. They are shown in bed together but it is very tame. Later when things don't go quite right, Teri Garr goes on a rant of sorts, saying (among other things) "I was responsible for my own orgasm." A point to discuss with older kids -- Dustin Hoffman being unwilling to reveal his deception and adding the additional crime of misleading Teri Garr into sleeping with him.
What other families should know
Too much sex
Adult Written bygreen_goblin May 8, 2009
A film filled with adult themes. Not for young teens.
What other families should know
Too much sex
Too much swearing