Moonage Daydream Parent Guide
This disjointed tribute film will only appeal to viewers who are already Bowie fans.
Parent Movie Review
David Bowie was an incredible musician, pushing the limits of rock and roll, fashion, and art since he burst onto the scene in the late 1960s. His career, which continued right up until his death in 2016, was marked by constant change, exploration, and development. As an artist, Bowie was frequently described as a chameleon, shifting between styles on a whim, constantly searching for a new way to express himself. But how do the rest of us understand him?
Moonage Daydream is billed as a documentary about David Bowie, but that’s stretching the term. It’s certainly non-fiction, but don’t go into the theater expecting the average linear, narrative film which aims to coherently explain the life and career of a celebrity. It feels more like a slightly unhinged fan flick, splicing between concert footage, interviews, music videos, and random scenes from other films. Also, photosensitive viewers ought to be aware that this film features scenes of bright flashing lights with some regularity.
The biggest issue is that the movie is about half an hour too long. It seems to get lost in its own adoration, forgetting that there’s an audience there, waiting desperately for some kind of storytelling to emerge from the celluloid seizure being splayed on the screen. I’m not saying every documentary film needs to be a Ken Burns series, all facts and narrative, but this one feels absolutely unwieldy. It can’t seem to pick a direction and stay on it – unless you count disoriented editing as a direction, in which case this is the ne plus ultra of consistent direction.
I did appreciate the actual interview segments with Bowie, and they provide an interesting insight into his ever-changing process and performance. I just wish the film had made better use of those elements, instead of shotgunning them over a YouTube fan video like some kind of cinematic Jackson Pollock.
On the other hand, Moonage Daydream has a phenomenal soundtrack, since everything in it is a David Bowie song. I’m a huge Bowie fan, and I already own most of the music, so this was more or less just an opportunity to hear it played at IMAX volume. If that’s all you’re looking for, then you’re in luck. A word of advice, though: This is a film for existing fans. If you don’t already know a good bit about David Bowie, you’re likely to be quite confused. It’s also not a winner for younger viewers, given the frequent drinking and one completely unnecessary scene of female toplessness imported from another film. I suppose, to give credit where credit is due, the drinking is the least of the substance abuse problems I expected. I was anticipating about half of the runtime to be Bowie inhaling cocaine like a vacuum cleaner in Charlie Sheen’s basement, so bullet dodged, I suppose. I’ll take pleasant surprises wherever I can find them.Directed by Brett Morgen. Starring David Bowie. Running time: 135 minutes. Theatrical release September 16, 2022. Updated September 16, 2022
Watch the trailer for Moonage DaydreamThis trailer contains material unsuited for a family website.
Rating & Content Info
Why is Moonage Daydream rated PG-13? Moonage Daydream is rated PG-13 by the MPAA for some sexual images/nudity, brief strong language and smoking.
Sexual Content: There are several sexually suggestive gestures, images, and song lyrics.
Profanity: There is one use each of a sexual expletive and a scatological term, and infrequent uses of terms of deity.
Alcohol / Drug Use: Adult characters are frequently seen drinking and smoking.
Page last updated September 16, 2022
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Bowie has appeared as an actor in a number of films, including The Prestige, Zoolander, and had a starring role in experimental sci-fi film The Man Who Fell to Earth. (Fair warning, he appears fully nude a fair bit in that last one. Don’t say I didn’t tell you.) He also stars in family favourite Labyrinth across a young Jennifer Connelly and a whole host of strange Jim Henson puppets.