What Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that National Velvet, an appealing family film released in 1944 and set in 1920s England, presents two strong female role models, both of whom succeed in fields of sport that had not been previously open to their gender: long-distance swimming and British horse-jumping. It's a movie with strong messages about dreams, risk, determination, and honesty. The only mildly frightening moments come when the preteen heroine faints, when she falls from her horse, and when the horse is ill for a time. In one lengthy sequence set during the Grand National race, a number of horses and their riders fall (in wide shots), but almost all quickly get up; no injuries are seen or referenced. A young man confesses his responsibility for a riding accident years earlier in which someone was killed. The same young man is seen drinking beer with two cronies, and he gets very drunk.
- Families can talk about why Velvet can't keep the prize, even though she won. What kinds of stereotypes about women were popular in the film's era? What kinds of stereotypes about women remain?
- Why didn't Velvet want to make movies or do any of the other things people asked her to do after she won? What are the benefits and drawbacks of being a celebrity?