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Valley of the Dolls Review

For Families provided by Common Sense Media

OK for kids 15+

Dark, campy melodrama with focus on sex and drugs.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Valley of the Dolls is an intense melodrama (and cult classic) based on the novel by Jacqueline Susann about the darker side of fame. Drinking and prescription drug use is a central theme, though the film clearly illustrates how destructive addiction is. Adult sexuality also is a core theme (sex, pornography, and abortion all are plot points), and some adult language is used ("bitch," "ass", "queer"), making this film best for older teens and up.

  • Families can talk about fame. Is it possible to manage the pressures of fame without the use of alcohol or drugs? Why do you think so many people have a hard time managing fame?
  • Do you think Anne should have stayed with Lion? Why, or why not?
  • Why do you think this movie is considered a cult classic?

The good stuff
  • message true0

    Messages: Although the majority of the film shows the three central characters behaving recklessly, the overarching message is that drinking excessively and taking drugs is dangerous and can ruin your chances of success and happiness. Fame may start out as glamorous, but it's quickly apparent that the trappings of fame can very easily become overwhelming and corruptive.

  • rolemodels true0

    Role models: Anne and Mel both show personal strength when they walk away from destructive relationships, which is a characteristic of a good role model.

What to watch for
  • violence false2

    Violence: One character commits suicide by overdosing on pills.

  • sex false3

    Sex: Although no one is shown completely nude, there are a few non-graphic sex scenes, and adult relationships and sexuality are shown. One character becomes a porn star and has an abortion, and another has a one-night stand with a stranger while intoxicated.

  • language false2

    Language: Although profanity isn't used extensively, it's used occasionally throughout the movie and includes "bitch," "ass", "queer," "fag," "f----t," and "whore."

  • consumerism false0

    Consumerism: Not applicable

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false3

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: The majority of the characters is shown drinking and taking prescription drugs (called "dolls"). One character goes to rehab for addiction to pills, and another commits suicide by overdosing on them.

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