What Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that although The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus is a fantasy movie with elements that might look family friendly, it dives into some fairly mature and dark waters -- very much like the often brutal and terrifying Grimm fairy tales that inspire director Terry Gilliam. The imagery, while dazzling, is also frightening and even nightmarish at times (and the first 40 minutes of the movie are very disjointed, which may turn off some viewers), so it's not an age-appropriate pick for younger kids. Plus, the devil is one of the movie's major characters, and the "heroes" aren't exactly shining role models, either -- many of them keep secrets and deceive people, often for selfish reasons. And the 16-year-old heroine has sex and is seen smoking a cigarette the next morning (presumably after the act itself). Many viewers will be curious to see Heath Ledger's final performance and how Gilliam finished the film around his absence, but Ledger is ultimately just one member of an ensemble cast and not really the film's "star."
- How do you think Gilliam's decision to "replace" Heath Ledger with three other actors worked out? Is the movie meant to be seen as a tribute to Ledger?
- Is the movie more or less scary than films that have more outright violence? Do scenes have to be violent to be scary?
- Why would someone be tempted to make a deal with the devil? Is Doctor Parnassus' "prize" for winning one of his deals a blessing or a curse?
- Doctor Parnassus believes that the world goes on because people tell stories. Do you agree or disagree?