The following movies have been evaluated by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Office for Film and Broadcasting according to artistic merit and moral suitability. The reviews include the USCCB rating, the Motion Picture Association of America rating, and a brief synopsis of the movie.
The movie review line is updated each Friday and includes information about recent theater releases and a Family Video of the Week.
The classifications are as follows:
- A-I — general patronage;
- A-II — adults and adolescents;
- A-III — adults;
- L — limited adult audience, films whose problematic content many adults would find troubling. L replaces the previous classification, A-IV.
- A-IV — adults, with reservations (an A-IV classification designates problematic films that, while not morally offensive in themselves, require caution and some analysis and explanation as a safeguard against wrong interpretations and false conclusions);
- O — morally offensive.
and are gradually released nationwide.
- Anything But Love — Modestly charming tale of a struggling cabaret singer (co-writer Isabel Rose) torn between her corporate lawyer fiance (Cameron Bancroft) and a destitute musician (Andrew McCarthy) who shares her love of a bygone musical era. Co-written and directed by Robert Cary, the film’s romantic predictability is balanced by its low-budget plucky spirit, colorful production design and appealing follow-your-dream theme. Occasional profanity and fleeting homosexual innuendo. A-II — adults and adolescents. (PG-13)
- The Barbarian Invasions — Morally hollow drama about an estranged son (Stephane Rousseau) who returns home to Quebec in order to visit his ailing father (Remy Gerard), an unrepentant womanizer dying of cancer, and, in trying to brighten up his final days, organizes a reunion of his father’s highbrow hedonistic friends and former mistresses. In this sequel to his 1987 film “Decline of the American Empire,” director Denis Arcand revisits familiar themes of sex, love and politics among aging baby boomers, which, while purporting to celebrate la dolce vita, actually presents a depressing nihilistic view of life and interpersonal relationships. Subtitles. A cavalier attitude toward promiscuity and adultery, a condoning depiction of assisted suicide, much sexually explicit language and humor, some rough language and profanity, as well as recurring drug abuse. O — morally offensive. (R)
- The Cooler — Wrenching drama in which a Vegas loser (William H. Macy) finally finds transforming love with a cocktail waitress (Maria Bello), but standing squarely in their way is their vicious casino boss (Alec Baldwin). While overly graphic and violent, director Wayne Kramer’s probing characterizations explore themes of accountability, renewal and redemption with a raw honesty. A few intense sexual encounters with full nudity, some brutal violence, brief drug abuse, much rough language and intermittent profanity. L — limited adult audience, films whose problematic content many adults would find troubling. (R)
- In America –Inspiring, mostly autobiographical tale of grieving Irish parents (Paddy Considine and Samantha Morton) who arrive impoverished in 1980Æs New York City with two little daughters (Sarah Bolger and Emma Bolger) whose friendship with a volatile African-American artist (Djimon Hounsou) helps the troubled family to survive. Co-writer-director Jim Sheridan elicits superb performances and beautifully conveys themes of loss, human dignity, love and redemption in this immigrant experience story. A shadowy married sexual encounter with momentary nudity, fleeting drug references and instances of violence, minimal profanity and an instance of rough language. A-III — adults. (PG-13)
- Love Forbidden — Leaden, gay-themed thriller about an emotionally fragile French filmmaker (Rodolphe Marconi) in Rome who becomes obsessed with a bisexual Italian intern (Andrea Necci) and has a fling with him, only to be dumped when the intern spurns him for an alluring American tart writing about serial killers. Also directed by Marconi and shot on video, the torpid meditation on desire feels — and looks — like a student film, wandering aimlessly and weighed down by interminable pacing, impassive performances, as well as its off-putting sexual content. Subtitles. A few homosexual encounters, an implied heterosexual tryst, as well as recurring rough and crude language. O — morally offensive. Not rated by the Motion Picture Association of America.
- Shattered Glass — Fact-based drama about a hotshot Washington journalist (Hayden Christensen) whose rising star is shot down when his editor (Peter Sarsgaard) discovers that many of the stories he wrote were total fabrications. While director Billy Ray’s intelligent biopic takes a strong ethical stance, raising important questions concerning public trust issues, the film offers little insight into why its flawed protagonist indulged in such deception, resulting in a less-than-satisfying defense of journalistic integrity. Some rough and sexually crude language, sporadic profanity, as well as an instance of drug abuse. A-III–adults. (PG-13)
- Sister Helen — Poignant documentary about Sister Helen Travis, a tough 69-year old Benedictine nun, who runs a halfway house for recovering addicts in a poor section of the Bronx. Filmmakers Ron Fruchtman and Rebecca Cammisa show the harsh reality of the sister’s life and the courage she has in following Jesus’ example, but repeated scenes of Sr. Helen’s hard-nosed interactions with the addicts are wearing. Drug content and sporadic rough language. A-III–adults. (Not rated by the Motion Picture Association of America.)
- The Triplets of Belleville — Surreal animated tale about a club-footed grandmother who, along with her faithful slobbering hound and a trio of ex-music hall crones, must rescue her cyclist grandson after he is kidnapped by French mobsters during the Tour de France. Told virtually without any dialogue, director Sylvian ChometÆs visionary adult cartoon, though laced with risqu images, is a feast for the eyes, alternating between unhinged humor and tenderheartedness, while using simple pantomime to achieve emotional nuance rarely attained in live-action fare. Stylized violence, fleeting cartoon nudity, minimal mildly crude humor. A-III–adults. (PG)