A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Bonnie & Clyde is a biopic based on the exploits of actual criminals. These criminals are played by attractive and sympathetic young actors, and viewers who watch this miniseries may think their crimes are appealing or glamorous. The pair's many murders are depicted and the viewer will see guns and gunshots, blood, wounds, and dead bodies in brief shots. In a vision, a young boy is shot in the neck. There is also sexual content, including people in bed together seemingly nude, moaning and thrusting. A man-on-man sexual assault in prison is implied.
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What's the story?
BONNIE & CLYDE follows the crime spree of Bonnie Parker (Holliday Grainger) and Clyde Barrow (Emile Hirsch), a couple of Depression-era ne'er-do-wells who wound up embarking on a crime spree that brought them fame and eventually ended in their violent deaths at the hands of the law. But before that, Bonnie and Clyde were just small-town kids hungry for adventure and fame. Bonnie wrote poetry and hoped to land a Hollywood screen test; Clyde was good at fixing cars. The two met and fell in love, then started with small-time crimes. Before long, they were knocking off banks and police officers with abandon, their crimes the subject of delirious newspaper articles that first saw the pair as romantic Robin Hoods, then turned on them once the body count started mounting.
Is it any good?
Those who saw the original Bonnie and Clyde in the theater are grandparent-age at this point, so there's no shame in revisiting the story for a new generation. This time around, the string of events is related over four hours instead of two; understandably, a lot of material's been added, for both good and for bad. The good: a long, slow first act that traces the beginnings of the pair's criminal career. Getting to know the main characters as people before they become gun-toting pop icons makes their eventual downfall much more affecting.
However, the bad: In this production, Hirsch-as-Barrow has the gift of second sight, leading to dumb seemingly-from-death narration, and clumsy visions of the future. Since we all know how this story ends, the device does little to build dramatic tension. Still, the actors are appealing, there's the addition of a tabloid reporter character (Elizabeth Reaser) that amps up the media angle, and this production boasts the same vintage appeal as other successful history-pics like Hatfields & McCoys, so those who enjoy historical adaptations may want to give this one a try, as long as the glamorized crime doesn't turn you off.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the real Bonnie and Clyde. Who were they? Why did their exploits gain notoreity during the Great Depression? How did the public view the pair? How did the public viewpoint change over time, and why?
Compare this miniseries to the 1967 film Bonnie and Clyde. How are the two films alike and different? What events do the two films show differently? Does one seem more realistic than the other?
Is the viewer supposed to admire Bonnie and Clyde? Are we supposed to like them? Fear them? Be disgusted by them?
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