Dangerous Minds

MPAA Rating: R

Entertainment: +2

Content: -2 1/2

At Parkmont High School in California, one teacher wants to make a difference. As a former Marine, Lou Anne Johnson (Michelle Pfeiffer) feels that she can handle anything on her first teaching assignment. She never expected the kind of students she is assigned. To most teachers, these kids would be unteachable and unlovable. They challenge her authority from the very first minute of class. If they would just keep quiet long enough, maybe she could teach them something. LouAnne learns the hard way how to involve her class in learning and gradually begins making inroads into their minds and even their personal lives. When some of her students are caught up in gang violence, she tries to intervene, with tragic results in one case. Though not as well done as some other films in this genre, such as DEAD POETS SOCIETY or STAND AND DELIVER, the true story of DANGEROUS MINDS has its moments of nobility and purpose.

LouAnne teaches kids who have grown up on the streets, full of the bad language and sexually suggestive comments that often accompany such a situation. We are dismayed, but not surprised, to hear the kids swear, but when LouAnne swears just as fiercely you begin to wonder who is teaching whom. The frequency of foul language is clearly uncalled for and is another example of Hollywood's license to spill unneeded vulgarity into the public's mind. Some sexually suggestive scenes between the teenagers, including dancing suggestively, and LouAnne's advising one girl that an abortion would let her continue her schooling, are also disturbing. Based on LouAnne Johnson's book, "My Posse Don't Do Homework," the film's thrust is to make a hero out of teachers again. However, this tough-talking portrayal makes us think perhaps Hollywood should rethink its definition. LouAnne Johnson's determination to inspire her students and her genuine concern for their well-being should be applauded, but her use of gutter language and counsel on abortion are anything but heroic.

Preview Reviewer: Greg Wilson
Buena Vista (Touchstone/Disney), 350 S. Buena Vista St., Burbank, CA 91521

The following categories contain objective listings of film content which contribute to the subjective numeric Content ratings posted to the left and on the Home page.

Crude Language: Many (22) times - Mild 8, Moderate 14

Obscene Language: Many (53) times - F-word 28, s-word 23 and 2 others

Profanity: Few (3) times - Regular 1 (J), Exclamatory 2

Violence: Few times - Moderate (school fight with kicking, punching, beating against walls; implied shooting talked about)

Sex: None

Nudity: None

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: Many times (references to genitals, intercourse; sensual kissing and dancing)

Drugs: None

Other: Abortion portrayed as justifiable when there is spousal abuse or to further education

Running Time:
Intended Audience: Adults

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