Winter Guest, The
Entertainment: +2
Acceptability: -2 1/2

It's mid-winter and on the northern coast of Scotland it is so cold that even the sea has frozen as far as the eye can see. Frances (Emma Thompson) doesn't seem to notice that the furnace in her house isn't working. In fact Frances doesn't notice anything or anyone, including her teenage son, Alex (Cary Hollywood), or her aging mother (Phyllida Law), who has just trudged miles in the snow to visit her. Frances, a professional photographer, is grieving over the recent death of her husband. Meanwhile, two young boys are exploring the frozen beach. They talk about feeling unloved and seem to take comfort in each other and the two baby kittens they find in a tunnel. The camera switches back and forth from Frances and her mother to the two boys, to two elderly ladies who spend their days going to funerals and then to Alex and a young girl he meets in town. What these eight people have in common is their search for warmth, the kind of warmth love and caring provide. THE WINTER GUEST has no plot, but its character studies are fascinating, leaving viewers with feelings of sadness mixed with a dash of hope. It is expected to be an Oscar contender, but not a box office hit.

It is somehow shocking to hear so much foul language in a place as remote as this small Scottish town. Most of it comes from the two young boys and the teenagers, and includes many profanities, 41 f-words and many other slang words for male genitals. The boys' conversation indicates they are bewildered by their sexual development, with most of their knowledge based on what a male stripper has said. They discuss this graphically and at length. The teenage couple go back to Alex's empty house and start to have sex, but Alex backs off. In that scene brief breast nudity is shown. Except for some pushing and shoving the movie has no violence; however, suicide is implied when two of the eight characters cannot face their seemingly hopeless future. THE WINTER GUEST's foul language and explicit sexual talk will not be welcomed by discerning viewers.

Preview Reviewer: Mary Draughon
Distributor: FineLine Features, 888 7th Ave., 20th Flr., NY, NY 10106

Crude Language: Once - Mild
Obscene Language: Many (59) times - s-word 5, f-word 41, other 13
Profanity: Many (21) times - Regular 15, Exclamatory 6
Violence: Few times - Mild (boys push and shove; boy hurts himself by rubbing burn ointment on a very sensitive body part)
Sexual Intercourse: None
Nudity: Twice, brief breast nudity (woman in bathtub; teenager in passionate embrace)
Homosexual Conduct: None
Sexually Suggestive Action/Dialog: Several times (teenage couple kissing passionately with brief breast nudity; young boys discuss in great detail their developing bodies)
Drug Abuse: Smoking (young boys as well as adults)
Other: None
Running Time: 110 minutes
Intended Audience: Adults

Copyright Preview Family Movie Review (