By Ashley Moulton,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Sex, drugs, and language in mediocre fashion biopic.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
Some positive themes around perseverance and staying true to an artistic vision, but characters make bad choices and don't always treat each other very well.
Positive Role Models
Positive representation with several gay characters and relatively good racial diversity, but characters themselves have questionable moral character and don't always make healthy or kind choices.
Violence & Scariness
Some verbal hostility between characters.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Several sex scenes between consenting adults, as well as partial nudity in a sexual context.
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Repeated swearing including fairly frequent F-bombs, as well as "s--t," "hell" and other curse words.
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Products & Purchases
Lots of fashion brands mentioned by name, as well as many unrealistic glamorous settings.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Many scenes showing illicit drug use and alcohol abuse with occasional consequences. Also, there's near-constant cigarette smoking.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Halston is a drama miniseries based on the real life of fashion designer Roy Halston Frowick. The series' mature themes make the series suitable only for older teens. Halston was a big part of the historic 70's Studio 54 party scene, and there is resulting copious substance abuse (cocaine, alcohol, etc.) depicted on screen. Many characters engage in near-constant cigarette smoking throughout the series. There's also strong language, with every episode including multiple F-bombs and other curse words. There are several sex scenes between consenting adults that contain partial nudity. Since the series is about a glamorous fashion designer, there are also a lot of brand name mentions and an emphasis on materialism.
Where to Watch
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What's the Story?
Halston is a 5-part drama series based on the life of the tititular character, played by Ewan McGregor (Moulin Rouge, Star Wars). The series follows Halston's rise and fall: from when he burst onto the scene after first lady Jackie O. wears one of his hats to the inauguration, to when he loses control of his empire and dies from complications with AIDS. He builds his fashion design house with help from a cast of interesting characters like friend and muse Liza Minnelli (Krysta Rodriguez), model Elsa Peretti (Rebecca Dayan) and illustrator Joe Eula (David Pittu). As Halston and his friends/colleagues experience more success, they also get wrapped up in the glamorous New York City disco scene at Studio 54. Their hard-partying lifestyle eventually catches up with them in several ways. Halston courts several romantic partners while navigating the anti-gay attitudes of the 1960s and 70s. The series also follows his rise to professional success in becoming a leading fashion designer of 1970s America, and his demise as his over-extends his brand and eventually gets forced out of his own namesake company.
Is It Any Good?
For fashion superfans, the series offers delicious insight into the fashion industry and into the 1970s New York City disco scene. The costumes (both Halston's creations and the characters' everyday outfits) are superb. Otherwise, the series falls fairly flat. The writing hits viewers over the head with obvious dialogue and predictable storytelling. Halston's biography is outlined, but the show does not explore his inner world at all. As a result, it's hard to care much about the characters. Fashion-interested teens may enjoy this peek behind-the-scenes, but the mediocre show quality with the combination of mature elements may turn them off.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about the lessons to be learned from Halston's personal and professional life. In what ways was he a cautionary tale? In what ways did he find the success he was seeking?
How do you think the series handled portrayals of gay characters? What do you think it would have been like to be a gay man in 1960s/70s New York City? How did Halston create a community?
How did Halston's artistic vision change throughout his career? Do you think you would be able to develop a clear point of view in a creative field?
- Premiere date: May 14, 2021
- Cast: Ewan McGregor, Rebecca Dayan, David Pittu, Krysta Rodriguez, Gian Franco Rodriguez
- Network: Netflix
- Genre: Drama
- TV rating: TV-MA
- Award: Emmy
- Last updated: February 18, 2023
Did we miss something on diversity?
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Where to Watch
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