In the Name of the Father
Entertainment: +3
Acceptability: -3

In the '60s, Irish teenager Gerry Conlon (Daniel Day-Lewis) goes to London to live in a hippie commune to enjoy free love and dope. He leaves his family and his father, Giusseppe (Pete Postlethwaite), whom he sees as lacking the courage to rise above his working class station. While Gerry visits his family in Belfast, the police raid the commune and take members in for questioning about a pub bombing. His friend names Gerry as the leader, and after days of interrogation, Gerry signs a false confession. When his father comes to London to get an attorney for his son, he is arrested too. Eventually, both receive life sentences. A young attorney, Ms Pierce (Emma Thompson), takes interest in Giusseppe's imprisonment and builds public sentiment for the release of the Conlons. When she discovers evidence suppressed in the first trial, she moves to have the case re-tried. During the fifteen years Gerry and his father share a cell, Gerry learns how strong his father's faith really is. This is an absorbing, dramatic presentation about an innocent man's struggle to make sense of a seemingly unjust system.

Although the story is told in a strong, dramatic style that should get Oscar nominations, the dialogue is filled with obscenities and profanity. In his hippie days, Gerry lies to his father, breaks into a prostitute's apartment and steals money. In prison, he mocks his father praying the Catholic rosary. One of the prisoners offers Gerry LSD. Guisseppe later asks Gerry to stop taking drugs with the others. The interrogation of the suspects is intense and some physical abuse is shown such as hair pulling, threats to kill others, and slaps to the head. A prison guard is set on fire, and riot squads called to the prison use sticks to beat the prisoners. To show the dehumanizing of prison, we are treated to rear male nudity when Gerry is "de-loused." Gerry's major crime is being Irish in Britain when the IRA has created fear and hatred by its terrorist tactics. The film makes a strong statement about the roots of prejudice, the ultimate triumph of justice, and the strength of a quiet faith. Unfortunately, it has too many negative aspects in telling a positive story.

Preview Reviewer: Paul R. Bicking
Distributor: Universal Pictures, 100 Universal City Plaza, Universal City, CA 91608

Crude Language: Several (6) times - Moderate (5), mild (1)
Obscene Language: Many (94) times - F-word 88, s-word 1, other 5
Profanity: Regular - 6 times
Violence: Several times - Moderate and severe (slaps, hits on head, hair pulled, guns pointed, man set on fire, explosion, hits with riot sticks)
Sexual Intercourse: None
Nudity: Few times - Rear male and male frontal (obscured)
Homosexual Conduct: Prisoner blows a kiss
Sexually Suggestive Action/Dialog: Reference to 'free love,' deep kiss while sharing marijuana smoke
Drug Abuse: Marijuana smoking; prisoners take LSD
Other: Ethnic prejudice; abuse of authority; good presentation of father's faith - praying, helping son
Running Time:
Intended Audience: Adults

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