I don't know about you, but MY seven-year-old is a drama geek. The current musical in heavy rotation at our house is Joseph and The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, which is fun yet kind of challenging to explain (especially to my three and a half year old, who shares her sister's obsession with musicals). I'd say I'm not sure where they got bit by the theatre bug... except I am. They got it from Mike. Yup, my husband, Mike. He's the one who was lining up to see Dreamgirls the minute it hit the theatres, who works out to the soundtrack from Rent: Mike, Mike, Mike.
Oh, wait. That's actually me.
Anyway, my seven-year-old asked about Dreamgirls. Specifically, could she see it? She'd seen the newspaper ads, admired the costumes. To her, it looked like a singing, dancing film about the Bratz dolls. I'll admit, I was stumped. Could she see it? According to the Dreamgirls PG-13 rating, parents are "strongly cautioned" that the film contains "language, some sexuality and drug content." O-kay. However, since I was going anyway, I decided to prescreen it for my child.
Here's my review of the appropriateness of the film for my seven-year-old:
Language = Um, not sure to what this referred. It's possible someone said the "s" word, but I guess I didn't notice. Nor do I care if my seven-year-old hears mild swearing.
Some sexuality = Again, not exactly sure what the Academy sensors were getting at. There's a lot of "sexy-ness", as is the case if Beyonce appears on screen wearing just about anything. But there's NO sex, no nudity, nothing to raise an eyebrow at, as far as I could tell. One character has a child out of wedlock, but the whole circumstance is conveyed through inuendo (so much so that I was convinced my seven-year-old would likely miss this entire subplot).
Drug Use = Again, very low key. Joints are smoked, by my seven-year-old would likely view this as just "smoking" (which is bad enough, in her book). Eddie Murphy's character leans over to do coke at one point and he rolls up his sleeve, suggesting (to an adult) he is about to shoot up. He also goes onstage high and removes his pants. To my seven-year-old, this behavior would likely seem odd, but not alarming.
But here's the thing - and I love how the academy could care less about this - the reason I won't be taking my seven-year-old to see Dreamgirls is: there are a few violent scenes, the likes of which I don't think she should see. The film takes place during the 60's, in large part, and there's footage of riots, police fighting back, and windows breaking (looting?). There's footage related to Martin Luther King's assassination and a brief clip of a gun firing out of a car window. None of this violence touches the main characters, but the images were strong.
My conclusion: we'll get the soundtrack and let it pick up when interest in Joseph wanes. Perhaps we'll rent the DVD and show clips of the stage scenes.
Just for Mike, of course.