Valley of the Dolls
What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Valley of the Dolls is an intense melodrama (and cult classic) based on the novel by Jacqueline Susann about the darker side of fame. Drinking and prescription drug use is a central theme, though the film clearly illustrates how destructive addiction is. Adult sexuality also is a core theme (sex, pornography, and abortion all are plot points), and some adult language is used ("bitch," "ass", "queer"), making this film best for older teens and up.
What's the story?
Three women are shown at the start of their careers in show business: conservative Anne (Barbara Parkins), who works for a talent agent; singer Neely (Patty Duke), who's just getting started on her Broadway career; and Jennifer (Sharon Tate), a backup dancer who's beautiful but doesn't think she has the talent to make it in show business. The film chronicles their successes but also how the pressures of fame, drug abuse, and drinking damage their careers, their personal lives, and their health.
Is it any good?
Although VALLEY OF THE DOLLS is melodramatic and feels a bit dated, it's worth a watch for the acting talent alone. Patty Duke is intense, dramatic, and wonderful as Neely; she believably expresses the optimism and naivete of a young girl getting her first big break and is equally as successful in portraying the jaded starlet struggling with the fallout of addiction. The movie is over the top, kitschy, and kind of campy, but it's a good guilty pleasure for older teens who are film buffs.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about fame. Is it possible to manage the pressures of fame without the use of alcohol or drugs? Why do you think so many people have a hard time managing fame?
Do you think Anne should have stayed with Lion? Why, or why not?
Why do you think this movie is considered a cult classic?
|Theatrical release date:||December 15, 1967|
|DVD/Streaming release date:||June 13, 2006|
|Cast:||Patty Duke, Barbara Parkins, Paul Burke|
|Run time:||123 minutes|
|MPAA explanation:||thematic elements involving substance abuse, some sexual content, partial nudity and language|