Country Life
Entertainment: +3
Acceptability: -1 1/2

It's 1919 in South Wales, Australia. The Dickens family's sheep farm barely supports hard-working, hard-drinking Jack (John Hargreaves), his elderly mother and Sally Voysey (Kerry Fox), his niece. But they are excited about the imminent visit of Sally's father, Alexander (Michael Blakemore), a drama critic from London who left Australia more than 20 years earlier. The elderly Alexander brings with him his lovely young wife, Deborah (Greta Sacchi), and two wagonloads of their personal belongings. Obviously, they plan to stay. What a contrast the sophisticated, cosmopolitan visitors are to their hosts. And how demanding! Meal times must coincide with Alexander's own peculiar schedule; a suite of rooms must be available for him to have a private study; and his every ache and twitch must be attended to by a doctor. But it is the beautiful Deborah who really stirs up hormones and tempers. Both Jack and Max Askey (Sam Neill), the local doctor, are enamored by the charming but unhappy Deborah. Sally is smitten with Max, who is oblivious to her crush on him. Inspired by Chekhov's classic play, "Uncle Vanya," COUNTRY LIFE is part drama, part comedy. Well-acted and beautifully photographed, it's a film for mature audiences.

On the surface, the Australians appear content. But when Alexander presents his host family with two cases of French wines, tongues loosen and tempers flare. Even the servants get carried away as they too participate in disposing of the wine. Drunkenness abounds. Alexander is told by Dr. Max that his gout is caused by too much drinking, but the doctor himself is a very heavy drinker. A drunken Jack's anger towards Alexander results in gunshots fired and a suicide threat. Tension mounts as Max and Deborah become attracted to each other, culminating in one passionate encounter. Deborah regrets the incident and immediately convinces her husband they must leave. Alexander tries to seduce a young servant girl, but she spurns his advances. Later he seeks Max's counsel on sexual matters, obviously a very difficult subject for him to discuss. Although there are no obscenities, several profanities are scattered throughout the dialogue. Excessive alcohol drinking, sometimes treated comically, regular profanities and the sex scene between Max and Deborah keep COUNTRY LIFE on the minus side of acceptability.

Preview Reviewer: Mary Draughon
Distributor: Miramax Films, 18 E. 48th St., Ste. 1601, NY, NY 10017

Crude Language: Several (5) times - Mild 2, Moderate 3
Obscene Language: None
Profanity: Several (6) times - Regular 2, Exclamatory 4
Violence: Few times - Moderate (gunshots fired; man knocked out by hit to face)
Sexual Intercourse: Twice (unmarried couple, no nudity; two kangaroos shown mating)
Nudity: None
Homosexual Conduct: None
Sexually Suggestive Action/Dialog: Few times (men discuss woman's virtue; man talks about sexual problem; old man caresses servant girl's clothed breast)
Drug Abuse: Many times (alcohol drinking, drunkenness)
Other: None
Running Time:
Intended Audience: Adults

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