Oscar and Lucinda
R
Entertainment: +3 1/2
Acceptability: -2 1/2

In 1800's England, Oscar (Ralph Fiennes) desperately wants to be righteous, but at every turn, he fails. In New South Wales Australia, Lucinda (Cate Blanchette) wants to be loved, but she's always left alone.After hearing a "call" to preach, Oscar defies his father, with the help of a neighboring pastor (Tom Wilkinson), and enters seminary where he struggles with finances until his roommate teaches him how to gamble. Oscar feels God is providing for him by allowing him to win, but soon, he's captured by a compulsion. Because of his gambling, he's sent to Australia where he meets Lucinda. They have gambling in common. He gambles to win her love by betting her he can accomplish a seemingly impossible feat. OSCAR AND LUCINDA, based on a Booker Prize winning novel, probably will garner several Academy Award nominations for the lavish costumes and excellent acting. The period setting and the intellectual plot will keep it from being an instant financial hit, but the box- office receipts will grow if it wins awards.

OSCAR AND LUCINDA addresses many theological questions like "What is God's will?" and "What is sin?" It explores how a "harmless" pastime becomes sin. While their motivations are different, Oscar and Lucinda both struggle with the desire to gamble. While trying to win a bet, Oscar is forced to gruesomely murder a man in self-defense. This bitterly affects his soul. The most disturbing scene in the film is when Oscar is in a coma, a nurse arouses him and takes sexual advantage of him. Her voluminous skirts shield most of the action, but the scene is longer than it needs to be. Oscar is devastated by this experience because he loves Lucinda so and feels that he's betrayed her. Oscar and Lucinda have a chaste relationship, even though they grow to passionately love each other. The violence and sexual situation spoils this otherwise visually beautiful and intellectually interesting film.

Preview Reviewer: Theresa Zumwalt
Distributor: Fox Searchlight, 10201 W. Pico Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90035

Summary
Crude Language: Few (3) times - Mild 2, Moderate 1
Obscene Language: Once (no f- or s-words)
Profanity: None
Violence: Once - severe (man kills in self-defense with a hatchet)
Sexual Intercourse: Once (woman has sex with man in coma)
Nudity: Few times (rear nudity of child bathing in river)
Homosexual Conduct: None
Sexually Suggestive Action/Dialog: Once (suggestive action by waitress at roadside inn)
Drug Abuse: None
Other: Man commits suicide by hanging - not condoned.
Running Time: 131 minutes
Intended Audience: Adults

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