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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 this intense drama series is intended for adults. Simulated sex between strangers, full-body nudity (no genitals, but buttocks and breasts are visible), oral sex (a woman's head in a man's lap), the implication of prostitution, and multiple affairs make for intense physical exchanges between characters. Violence is also a concern, with characters beaten or killed and some scenes of dead bodies. That said, the show manages to cast the main character in a sympathetic light, despite his dealings with the mob and other unsavory actions, because of his admirable affection for his family and friends and his willingness to go the extra mile for them.
What's the story?
MAGIC CITY tells the story of Ike Evans (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), owner of Miami Beach's luxurious hotspot, the Miramar Playa Hotel. Climbing the ranks from a cabana boy to the creator of this stunning seaside plaza was no simple task, and Ike guards its security almost as fiercely as he guards that of his family: wife Vera (Olga Kurylenko), sons Stevie (Steven Strait) and Danny (Christian Cooke), and daughter Lauren (Taylor Blackwell). But security is a precious commodity in Miami in 1959, when Fidel Castro's Cuban revolution sends shockwaves through the stateside immigrant population and the power struggle between organized crime and the authorities threatens to paralyze business. Now Ike faces the harsh reality of maintaining a brave and noble façade for his family while he secretly lines his pockets with mob money from boss Ben Diamond (Danny Huston) and illicit goings-on in backrooms of the Miramar. It goes against his moral fiber, but for now, it's a means to the evasive happy ending.
Is it any good?
This sharply written drama series plays on viewers' sympathy for a well-meaning businessman whose missteps on his road to success result in his being at the mercy of a ruthless mobster. Despite the fact that the story is set half a century ago, it has enough relevance to current state of affairs for adults to toy with "what if?" scenarios. What if your easiest route to your family's financial security was through a shady business deal? What if you realized the true consequences of that deal too late? What if placing your trust in someone whose honor you misjudged threatened your family's safety?
Magic City's gritty drama will have viewers itching for more, thanks to a superb cast and the story's ability to humanize players in the typically unsympathetic society of organized crime and its subsidiaries. Then there's the mystery behind the motivations of the characters, which are peeled back layer by layer to keep viewers guessing as to their true intentions. All in all, it's a highly entertaining series, but thanks to pervasive sexuality, free-flowing language, realistic violence, and air of emotional manipulation, it's one that must be saved until the kids are in bed.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about Ike's motivations. Based on his actions, do you think his motivations are all good? How does his family play a role in his motivations? Are there any instances in life when the end truly justifies any means? What if your success comes at the price of someone else's happiness or safety? Could you enjoy it?
How does this series portray the people of the time and place in which it was set? How is the immigrant community cast? How are they affected by the events in Cuba? How did those events ultimately affect the plight of would-be immigrants to the U.S.? Families can use this topic to instigate their own research into the events of the time.
How do various characters use manipulation to get what they want? How do they leverage business deals using their power over the people and things other people value? Is there such a thing as a fair-minded business deal, or are all to be mistrusted?
For kids who love drama
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.