Entertainment: +2
Acceptability: -3

This tragic drama is based on Thomas Hardy's late 19th century English novel Jude the Obscure. Jude Fawley (Christopher Eccleston), an intelligent man from humble origins, hopes to emulate teacher Mr. Phillotson (Liam Cunningham) and attend the university in Christminster. Seduced by Arabella (Rachel Griffiths), a pig farmer's daughter, Jude is married. She soon abandons him and Jude moves to Christminster, toiling as a stonemason. He seeks out his free-thinking cousin Sue Bridehead (Kate Winslet), and Jude falls in love. He convinces Phillotson to take her on as a teaching assistant. Sue shares her cousin's affection but marries Phillotson instead, and Jude is also rejected by the university. When Sue appears at his aunt's funeral and reveals she's unhappily married, they decide to live together. Jude discovers Arabella bore him a son, and he and Sue conceive two children. As an unmarried couple they must move from town to town. Jude finds a decent job that could turn their lives around, but an incredible tragedy strikes. JUDE is an emotional and well-crafted story. But it's overwhelmingly depressing; even the lighter moments foreshadow more trouble. This isn't a movie to raise anyone's spirits.

Unflinchingly realistic, JUDE takes that concept too far in its erotic moments. Arabella seductively entices Jude and they have sex with their bodies covered. Flashes of partial nudity are featured in a sex scene after they are married. After their separation Jude and Arabella are briefly reunited and have sex with female breast nudity. When Jude and Sue consummate their relationship, full frontal female nudity and rear male nudity are seen before they begin intercourse. There is a brief but graphic glimpse of Sue during childbirth. Arabella slaughters a pig and removes its entrails. An incredibly tragic moment involves murders and a suicide, although we only see the incident's aftermath. Sue rejects Christianity, but later believes their misfortunes are God's punishment. Including graphic sex scenes were not necessary to tell this story. JUDE may be a classic novel in literary circles, but these attempts to titillate the audience are modern touches that are very disturbing.

Preview Reviewer: Mark Perry
Distributor: Gramercy Pictures, 9247 Alden Dr., Beverly Hills, CA 90048

Crude Language: Once Mild
Obscene Language: None
Profanity: Two times Regular 1 (for God's sake), Exclamatory 1
Violence: Few times Moderate and Severe (boy struck as punishment, pig slaughtered and butchered, rabbit has neck snapped, children murdered, boy hangs himself)
Sexual Intercourse: Few (4) times Twice clothed, once with female breast nudity, once with full frontal female nudity and male rear nudity
Nudity: Few times Female breast nudity, full frontal female nudity, rear male nudity, nude statue; near nudity with low-cut dresses
Homosexual Conduct: None
Sexually Suggestive Action/Dialog: Woman entices man; Man kisses woman's chest; passionate kissing
Drug Abuse: Smoking, alcohol drinking
Other: Brief, graphic glimpse of woman giving birth; unmarried cousins live together, bear children; woman rejects Christianity, but believes tragedies are God's punishment
Running Time:
Intended Audience: Adults

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