What Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this biopic about several blues musicians co-stars teen favorite Beyonce Knowles but is much grittier than her thematically similar Dreamgirls. Although Adrien Brody and Jeffrey Wright are the top-billed actors, Beyonce's role has been played up to attract younger audiences. Like most musician biopics, the drama portrays performers dealing with sex, drugs, violence, and fame. Strong language is frequent (primarily the "mother" of all swear words), and there are many scenes of musicians sleeping with eager groupies. Almost everyone has a drinking problem, and two characters are drug users -- one has a disturbing overdose scene. Consumerism is limited to the titular Cadillacs, which are a pivotal aspect of the story.
- Families can talk about the film's messages about the entertainment industry. How do the characters change when fame arrives? Also, how does racism figures in depictions of early rock 'n' roll? How did Muddy Waters' music -- and later Chuck Berry -- affect the division between "race music" and "mainstream" music? Was Chess Records' founder exploiting the African-American musicians who made him rich, or was he an open-minded creative producer willing to buck racial norms? (Or both?) Sex, drugs/alcohol, and violence followed most of the blues artists; why do you think the musicians struggled with all these vices?