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America the Beautiful Review

Other Critics provided by

Critics scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.

  • 3.0

    out of 100

    Mixed or average reviews
    based on a weighted average of all
    critic review scores.

  • 30

    out of 100

    Los Angeles Times

    With so many pointless detours ripping you away, the film feels as lamely digressive as the proverbial one-track guy whose head won't stop turning as each new temptation walks by.

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  • 50

    out of 100

    Variety Ronnie Scheib

    Wide-ranging educational documentary attaches itself to the rise and fall of a 12-year-old fashion model, and indeed, its sincere, cautionary tone seems best suited to younger auds and small screen exposure.

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  • 75

    out of 100

    Chicago Sun-Times Roger Ebert

    America the Beautiful carries a persuasive message, and is all the more effective because of the level tone that Roberts adopts.

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For Families provided by Common Sense Media

Iffy for 14+

Probing docu about society's obsession with looks.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this documentary -- which examines many Americans' unhealthy fixation with physical beauty -- looks at how the fashion and entertainment industries perpetuate an unrealistic image of female perfection that can lead to low self-esteem, eating disorders, and other problems. There's a bit of strong language (including "f--k" and "s--t") and some crude sexual references; women (mostly models) are seen in skimpy clothing (but any nudity is blurred). Commercial logos and designer labels are prominent, but they're appropriate within the film's context. Brief scenes of surgical procedures may be disturbing to younger or more sensitive viewers. Parents, this is a good movie to watch alongside your teen; check out some of our tips about how to talk to them about the issues the movie deals with.

  • Families can talk about whether the media creates and/or perpetuates an idealized -- and unattainable -- standard of beauty. Do advertisements, music videos, and fashion magazines create these images, or do they simply reflect what people want to see? Do you think the media can cause someone to develop a negative body image or eating disorder? Why or why not? Families can also discuss modeling. How young is too young to start a modeling career? How are young models portrayed in advertisements and other kinds of media? How do you think that affects them?

The good stuff
  • message true0

    Messages: The film shows the negative and often self-destructive behavior that can result from buying into an unrealistic notion of beauty. Race, as it pertains to skin color and beauty, is discussed. Michelle Taylor is shown as both pushy and insensitive about the negative impact that modeling has on her daughter. Fashion publishers/execs appear greedy as they discuss the money that can be made from people trying to obtain physical perfection.

What to watch for
  • violence false3

    Violence: Some brief-but-graphic footage of plastic surgery being performed.

  • sex false3

    Sex: Lots of images of models in skimpy clothing in magazines and on runways. Nudity (bare breasts) is blurred. Clips of music videos featuring women in sexy outfits and dancing provocatively (including Britney Spears and Madonna kissing) are shown. Teens discuss looking like "sluts" to get boys' attention. Gerren argues with her mother about wearing a padded bra to school.

  • language false3

    Language: Occasional swearing includes "f--k," "s--t," "dick," and "a--hole."

  • consumerism false3

    Consumerism: Includes brief interviews with celebrities like Paris Hilton, Jessica Simpson, and Martin Short. Fashion logos for Marc Jacobs, Tommy Hilfiger, DKNY, Richard Tyler , etc. and brand names like L'oreal, Dove, Sally Hansen, and others are also visible.

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false1

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: Alcoholic beverages (wine, cocktails) are visible in one scene.