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Talk to Me Review

Movies.com Critics

4.5

Dave White Profile

… the kind of movie that you beg Don Cheadle to star in. Read full review

Other Critics provided by Metacritic.com

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

  • 4.0
    69

    out of 100

    Metascore®
    Generally favorable reviews
    based on a weighted average of all
    critic review scores.

  • 50

    out of 100

    Wall Street Journal

    For a movie that celebrates the power of speech, Talk to Me is oddly tongue tied. Its dialogue, equal parts uptight honky and jumping jive seems, particularly in the early stretches, to have been generated by a computer.

    Read Full Review

  • 75

    out of 100

    USA Today Claudia Puig

    Talk to Me speaks powerfully to audiences with its potent blend of extraordinary performances and engaging soundtrack.

    Read Full Review

  • 80

    out of 100

    The Hollywood Reporter Michael Rechtshaffen

    While Cheadle's fearlessly robust performance absolutely galvanizes Talk to Me, it's not the only thing that makes Kasi Lemmons' third feature such a pleasure to take in.

    Read Full Review

  • 88

    out of 100

    Chicago Sun-Times Roger Ebert

    Someone like Petey Greene made a difference and made a mark, and broadcasting is better because of his transparent honesty. He helped transform African-American stations more, probably, than their mostly white owners desired. And talk talents like Howard Stern, whether they know who he was, owe him something.

    Read Full Review

  • 88

    out of 100

    Chicago Tribune Michael Phillips

    Talk to Me has a great subject and a great actor working in tandem, reminding audiences that once upon a time media personalities used to fight The Man, not be The Man.

    Read Full Review

  • 91

    out of 100

    Entertainment Weekly Owen Gleiberman

    A rowdy, richly offbeat biopic.

    Read Full Review

  • See all Talk to Me reviews at Metacritic.com

For Families provided by Common Sense Media

Iffy for 15+

Cheadle shines in radio icon biopic. Not for kids.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this biopic about controversial '60s radio host Petey Greene isn't for kids. Though Greene is often very funny, the film focuses on the sources of his comedy: his anger at oppressive systems of class and racism. Expect lots of sexual references and sexy outfits (a couple of scenes, while not explicit, also show some lively writhing). A fight (punching and falling) between rivals ends when Martin Luther King, Jr.'s assassination is announced; a brief sequence following shows street rioting (looting, flames, explosion). Language is super spicy and includes lots of uses of both "f--k" and the "N" word (spoken by African-American characters).

  • Families can talk about the accuracy of biopics. Do you think movies based on true stories (particularly one person's life) generally stick to the facts? Why would filmmakers change details? How could you find out what really happened and what might have been exaggerated? Families can also discuss what Petey's commentary has in common with the later humor of comics like Richard Pryor and Dave Chappelle. What function does envelope-pushing "shock" comedy serve in society?

The good stuff
  • message true0

    Messages: Petey is rude and crude, drinks and smokes to excess, and repeatedly resists authority (even claiming to have stolen silverware fro the White House); still, he embodies a moral code, speaking truth to power.

What to watch for
  • violence false3

    Violence: A fight in the office includes punching; report of Martin Luther King, Jr.'s assassination leads to riots in D.C. streets (fires, looting, car explosion).

  • sex false3

    Sex: Vernell repeatedly wears short, cleavage-enhancing outfits (she calls it "Foxy-ed up," as in the movie character Foxy Brown); she visits Petey in prison in the "booty line," removes her bra from beneath her shirt and hands it to Dewey in public, and engages in deep kissing in public places. Sexual language includes repeated uses of "d--k," "pimp," and other phrases ("What you got in your boxers?"). A naked man appears on the prison rooftop (not explicit, but plain enough). Vernell catches Petey having sex with another woman (naked buttocks visible) and gets very upset, revealing a sexual liaison with Petey's coworker (it takes place off-screen, but she flaunts it).

  • language false5

    Language: Frequent and varied language, including "f--k" (at least 35 times, sometimes with "mother-"), "damn," "s--t" (25+), "ass," "b--ch," "hell," "p--sy," as well as repeated uses of the n-word (at least 25 times) and a string of anti-white slang ("honky," "ofay," "peckerwood," "cracker").

  • consumerism false0

    Consumerism: References to and images of popular figures of the day, including Foxy Brown, Berry Gordy, James Brown, Michael Jackson, Sam Cooke, Bette Midler, Johnny Carson, "Mr. Tibbs" (from In the Heat of the Night), etc.

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false5

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: Frequent cigarette smoking and drinking (in bar scenes and elsewhere); Petey appears staggering drunk at a concert he's meant to emcee (he vomits) and is also drunk for his appearance on The Tonight Show; allusions to drug abuse; Petey looks ill at the end, coughing harshly (apparently the result of his many years abusing drugs, liquor, and cigarettes).

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