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"THE AVIATOR"
(2004) (Leonardo DiCaprio, Cate Blanchett) (PG-13)

Alcohol/
Drugs
Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Frightening/
Tense Scenes
Guns/
Weapons
Moderate Moderate Heavy Moderate Moderate
Imitative
Behavior
Jump
Scenes
Music
(Scary/Tense)
Music
(Inappropriate)
Profanity
Moderate None None None Heavy
Sex/
Nudity
Smoking Tense Family
Scenes
Topics To
Talk About
Violence
Heavy Moderate Minor Moderate Moderate


QUICK TAKE:
Drama: A bold and demanding, billionaire entrepreneur sets out to make his mark in the movie and airline industries while dealing with a progressively worsening neurotic condition.
PLOT:
It's 1927 and billionaire Howard Hughes (LEONARDO DICAPRIO) is bucking the system by making "Hell's Angels," the most expensive movie ever produced outside of the Hollywood system. After years of work and millions of dollars spent, he finally gets the movie finished with the aid of his assistant, Noah Dietrich (JOHN C. REILLY), press agent Johnny Meyer (ADAM SCOTT) and even meteorology Professor Fitz (IAN HOLM), who was brought in to find him the right clouds for the background of his shots. Soon, Hughes is hobnobbing with Hollywood celebrities such as Jean Harlow (GWEN STEFANI), Errol Flynn (JUDE LAW) and Katharine Hepburn (CATE BLANCHETT).

It's with the latter that he develops an affinity and the two quickly become lovers. Even so, his progressively worsening fear of germs and avid interest in aeronautical pursuits -- such as buying a controlling interest in TWA and designing, building and flying experimental aircraft that he uses to break various world records -- eventually drives her into the arms of another man.

Various women -- including actress Ava Gardner (KATE BECKINSALE) and the underage Faith Domergue (KELLI GARNER) -- take her place, but Howard continues on his quest to do things bigger and better than anyone before, including building war-related planes for the U.S. Government. Eventually, however, he runs into opposition from Juan Trippe (ALEC BALDWIN) of Pan Am, who wants the budding transcontinental flight market all to himself. With the aid of U.S Senate committee chairman Ralph Owen Brewster (ALAN ALDA), he desires to put Hughes out of business.

Struggling with his neurosis and various unexpected personal and professional setbacks, Hughes sets out to save his reputation and prove that he's still got what it takes to accomplish his goals and make a large and longstanding impression.

WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
If they're fans of anyone in the cast, director Martin Scorsese's films, or are interested in Howard Hughes, they just might.
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: PG-13
For thematic elements, sexual content, nudity, language and a crash sequence.
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
  • LEONARDO DICAPRIO plays the demanding and increasingly neurotic billionaire inventor, businessman and adventurer who spends as much money as it takes to accomplish his goals. He uses some profanity, sleeps with Hepburn and possibly other women and becomes obsessed with and paralyzed by germs and the like.
  • CATE BLANCHETT plays the strong-willed and famous actress who enters into a love affair with him, but eventually leaves him for another man.
  • KATE BECKINSALE plays another famous actress with whom he becomes involved. She uses some profanity.
  • JOHN C. REILLY plays Howard's hard working, right-hand man who he knows he can always go to with any request.
  • ALEC BALDWIN plays the head of a rival airline who's always competing with Howard and eventually gets his senator friend to put pressure on Howard to fold. He smokes pipes a few times, drinks some, and briefly uses strong profanity.
  • ALAN ALDA plays the U.S. Senator and committee chairman who's in cahoots with Juan and uses his power to try to destroy Howard.
  • IAN HOLM plays the professor of meteorology who becomes one of Howard's aides.
  • GWEN STEFANI plays the starlet Jean Harlow.
  • JUDE LAW plays the famous actor Errol Flynn who smokes and briefly gets into a nightclub ruckus.
  • KELLI GARNER plays an underage girl who becomes involved with Howard.
  • CAST, CREW, & TECHNICAL INFO

    HOW OTHERS RATED THIS MOVIE


    Curious if this title is entertaining, any good, and/or has any artistic merit?
    Then read OUR TAKE of this film.


    (Note: The "Our Take" review of this title examines the film's artistic merits and does not take into account any of the possibly objectionable material listed below).


    OUR WORD TO PARENTS:
    The following is a brief summary of the content found in this drama that's been rated PG-13. Profanity consists of least 1 "f" word, while plenty of other expletives and colorful phrases are uttered. Sexually related dialogue occurs, some fooling around (kissing, fondling, etc.) is present in several scenes (and sex is implied), a male character (as a boy and man in separate scenes) is partially seen nude (mostly bare butts) to varying degrees in nonsexual contexts, and an adult appears to be dating a mature-looking 15-year-old.

    There are two plane crash sequences (with the second being rather harrowing/suspenseful) with property damage and bad injuries to the lone pilot (seen then and later in the hospital). Some fighter planes and related action and violence are briefly seen in footage from an old film, and there's some brief striking of others. Various characters have varying degrees of bad attitudes, while some characters drink and/or smoke. Thematic elements involve various neurotic behavior (obsessive-compulsive disorder, fear of germs, paranoia), while some potentially imitative behavior is present.

    Should you still be concerned about the film's appropriateness for yourself or anyone else in your home, you may want to look more closely at our detailed listings for more specific information regarding the film's content.


    ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE
  • People drink at a nightclub.
  • Miscellaneous people drink in a club where Noah has a drink.
  • Miscellaneous people have drinks at a reception.
  • Johnny has a drink.
  • A person asks another if they'd like a drink and starts to pour one.
  • Katharine's family has wine with dinner.
  • Miscellaneous people drink.
  • Jack has a drink and then orders another.
  • Miscellaneous people drink.
  • Ava arrives and tells Howard, "Let's get a drink." She pours one for herself.
  • People have drinks while Noah has some champagne.
  • BLOOD/GORE
  • People think that Howard has blood on him following a controlled plane crash, but it's just beet juice from the field he landed in.
  • Howard washes and rubs his hands so vigorously that he ends up breaking the skin and drawing a little blood.
  • After surviving a bad plane crash, Howard is very bloody. We then see him in the hospital after that, with deep bruises and plenty of crude stitches on his face.
  • During an argument, Howard pushes Ava, prompting her to smack his face, drawing a little blood.
  • We see some burn scars on Howard's chest and shoulders.
  • We hear the sound of Howard urinating in a bottle and then see many such filled bottles on the floor in his room.
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • Young Howard's mother talks of "coloreds," quarantine and typhus, telling him he's not safe from any of them.
  • Howard is very demanding of his staff, and some may view that as having a bad attitude.
  • Katharine jokes about Ibsen and "if the Republicans haven't outlawed him" (some viewers might not like that dig).
  • A person uses the term "limey bastard" as a derogatory statement.
  • Katharine says that a designer is as "queer as a bed bug."
  • A person uses the terms "Japs" (in a period setting).
  • Katharine tells Howard that she met somebody and is moving out. In response, Howard tells her that she's a movie star and nothing more.
  • Howard starts to record his conversations with others.
  • We see Howard with a very mature looking 15-year-old girl, Faith Domergue, who shows some cleavage and it's suggested that they're dating.
  • We see that Juan and Sen. Brewster are in cahoots, mixing business and politics for the benefit of both men.
  • Although dating Howard, Ava states that she's still married.
  • Sen. Brewster tries to persuade Howard to give up TWA (to help Juan and Pam Am), and when that doesn't work, he has the FBI investigate him, and then holds a hearing in which he plans to drag him through the mud and expose his various quirks and failed business dealings.
  • FRIGHTENING SCENES
  • While doing a speed trial in a new plane, Howard pushes it too far and runs out of fuel. He then has to do a controlled crash landing, but is okay as the film skims along through a field.
  • Howard test flies a prototype plane that he pushes too hard, causing it to develop mechanical problems that quickly go from bad to worse. As it loses altitude, the large plane skims across a posh neighborhood, eventually damaging roofs and other parts of homes as its landing gear, wing and engine crash through various residences (in a truly harrowing, several minute sequence with lots of property damage and various close calls for those inside the houses). After crashing to a stop, Howard finds himself in the burning wreckage. When he tries to get out (and is very bloody from the impact, we hear a snapping sound as some part of his leg apparently breaks, he burns his hands trying to push the canopy away, and he then scrambles to get out as the plane is engulfed in flames. He's then on fire as well, with a passerby racing to assist him (we hear that Howard suffered burns on seventy percent of his body).
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • Fighter planes/Related machine guns and bombs: Seen in a film that Howard is making. See "Violence" for details.
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • Phrases: "Sh*t no," "Bumpy as sh*t," "Ah, sh*t," "Sh*t-bag," "Bullsh*t," "Do a damn good job," "Sure as hell," "Sons of bitches," "Son-bitch," "Jeez," "Pull a camera out of my ass," "Absa-tively," "To hell with..." "A hell of a lot of fun," "What the hell's /the matter with you/the point?" "Balls" (testicles), "Tight bastards," "The hell with them," "You limey bastard," "Queer as a bed bug," "I'm an idiot," "What the hell /is he doing here/is it?" "Sure as hell," "Why the hell not?" "Japs," "You're a son of a bitch" (said playfully), "Too damn much," "Get that crazy bitch away from me," "I don't give a rat's ass," "No damn way," "You sick bastard," "Whore," "Shut your G*ddamn mouth," "You pathetic freak," "Son of a gun," "Who the hell are you?" "He can kiss both sides of my ass" and "Hell of a cold."
  • In anger, Howard burns what are presumably Katharine's and maybe his clothes.
  • Howard starts to record his conversations with others.
  • Howard washes and rubs his hands so vigorously that he ends up breaking the skin and drawing a little blood.
  • Howard's former young girlfriend repeatedly smashes a car she's driving into the one carrying Howard and Ava (they're okay, but the cars are damaged).
  • We hear the sound of Howard urinating in a bottle and then see many such filled bottles on the floor in his room.
  • JUMP SCENES
  • None.
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • None.
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • None.
  • PROFANITY
  • At least 1 "f" word, 8 "s" words, 4 slang terms for sex ("screw"), 2 slang terms using male genitals ("pr*ck"), 4 for breasts (variations of "t*t"), 26 hells, 21 damns, 6 asses, 6 S.O.B.s, 2 craps, 40 uses of "G-damn," 4 each of "For Christ's sakes" and "Jesus," 3 of "For God's sakes," 2 each of "Christ," "Jesus Christ" and "Oh Christ," and 1 use each of "Christ Almighty," "God," "Good God," "Good Lord," "Holy Mother of God," "Oh Christ" and "Oh God."
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • A mother bathes her young boy who appears to be standing nude in front of her, but he's in the shadows and the shot is from a distance.
  • A cigarette girl wears a midriff-revealing top. Howard then asks what gives her pleasure and then asks about his fingertips and if she likes that as he's apparently using them to fondle her crotch (not seen, but we see her pleasured reaction -- all of this occurring in a nightclub while he's seated and she stands before him).
  • Howard tells Prof. Fitz that he wants clouds that look like giant breasts filled with milk as the backdrop for his dogfight scene in his movie.
  • Miscellaneous couples passionately make out (clothed) in a club.
  • A person jokes that Howard's next movie is all about "S-E-X" (said just like that).
  • Katharine passionately kisses Howard and then does so more. There's some partial undressing (no nudity) and lying on a sofa with additional kissing and some caressing (sex is implied).
  • In a movie daily, we see footage of Jane Russell bending over and showing lots of cleavage. There are various comments made about "t*ts" and "t*tties," such as about wanting them, that the whole movie is about them, and then one person asks who doesn't like them. We see a non-explicit drawing of the female shape.
  • Howard and Prof. Fitz go before the movie ratings board to talk about the cleavage and "mammaries" seen in Howard's latest film. Howard then gets a surprised Prof. Fitz to compare the cleavage in Howard's film to that seen in other, previous films that passed through the ratings board (he uses a caliper to show the board the comparative measurements of such cleavage in other large, still and close-up photos of other actresses' chests -- although none of it's explicit).
  • A person comments about a gathering, saying that it will be "a regular boob buffet" and that the guys from the Air Corps "won't have a problem scoring tonight."
  • We see Howard standing nude in silhouette, with some illumination coming from a fire behind him.
  • We see Howard with a very mature looking 15-year-old girl, Faith Domergue, who shows some cleavage and it's suggested that they're dating.
  • After learning that a man has been hired to take photos of Katharine and Spencer Tracy, Howard asks the man, "Ever screw a colored girl? Ever cheat on your wife?"
  • Howard has his hand down inside Ava's dress, there's heavy breathing as he kisses her neck, and the comment "I've got something for you" is made, but he's referring to jewelry and not sex as we're initially led to believe.
  • Howard says about Juan (and wanting dirt on him), "I want to know who he screws."
  • Mad at Howard for spying on her, Ava angrily asks, "Was I screwing Artie Shaw? Was I screwing Sinatra?"
  • We see Howard sitting nude in his room, but his leg blocks our view of his crotch.
  • We see a full rear nude view of Howard, but some of his body is in the shadows. Later, we see several more views of him, including a shot from the side and one where he lies on the floor, which show his bare butt.
  • We see more of Jane Russell's cleavage from earlier in the film.
  • We see a mirror reflection shot of young Howard from a distance, standing nude (we almost see full frontal nudity of the boy).
  • SMOKING
  • Johnny and Juan (pipe) smoke a few times, while Errol smokes once and various miscellaneous characters smoke in many scenes.
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • Katharine briefly talks about her brother's suicide from sometime in the past.
  • We see that Katharine was married once before (her ex-husband is at her parents' place).
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • The historical accuracy and/or artistic liberties taken with the real-life material.
  • Being a billionaire.
  • Katharine briefly talks about her brother's suicide.
  • Katharine's comment that sometimes she fears that she's losing her mind.
  • Howard comments to Katharine's family that they don't care about money because they have it.
  • Howard starts to record his conversations with others.
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder.
  • Fear of germs -- Howard washes and rubs his hands so vigorously that he ends up breaking the skin and drawing a little blood, and then finds himself trapped in a men's room when he can't force himself to touch the door.
  • Paranoia.
  • Mental illness.
  • VIOLENCE
  • In black and white footage for Howard's film, we see two fighter planes collide and explode. Later, we see machine gun fire from a plane, and there's talk of three pilots dying for real in the shooting of the film. In the final film, we see more machine gun fire; a plane crashes into the side of a blimp and explodes; a person is shot (seen period style in silhouette); and a person appears to jump from a blimp.
  • A man throws some ornamental thing that hits Errol on the head (not hurting him). In turn, Errol punches that guy and struggling ensues.
  • Howard's former young girlfriend repeatedly smashes a car she's driving into the one carrying Howard and Ava (they're okay, but the cars are damaged).
  • Howard test flies a prototype plane that he pushes too hard, causing it to develop mechanical problems that quickly go from bad to worse. As it loses altitude, the large plane skims across a posh neighborhood, eventually damaging roofs and other parts of homes as its landing gear, wing and engine crash through various residences (in a truly harrowing, several minute sequence with lots of property damage and various close calls for those inside the houses). After crashing to a stop, Howard finds himself in the burning wreckage. When he tries to get out (and is very bloody from the impact, we hear a snapping sound as some part of his leg apparently breaks, he burns his hands trying to push the canopy away, and he then scrambles to get out as the plane is engulfed in flames. He's then on fire as well, with a passerby racing to assist him (we hear that Howard suffered burns on seventy percent of his body).
  • During an argument, Howard pushes Ava, prompting her to smack his face, drawing a little blood.
  • We see more old war movie footage showing a fire in a cockpit and machine gun fire (that doesn't hit anything).



  • Reviewed December 1, 2004 / Posted December 24, 2004

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