Widow of St. Pierre, The
Entertainment: +2
Acceptability: -2

Just off the coast of Canada sits the remote island of St. Pierre and its small French fishing village. One dark and dreary evening, fisherman Neel Auguste (Emir Kusturica) steals off with a friend to their captains home where, in a drunken stupor, they stab him to death. The senseless murder creates a buzz in the village and the men are soon sentenced to death by guillotine. However, the police captains wife, Madame La (Juliette Binoche) develops affection for the imprisoned Neel. After receiving her husbands permission, Madame La accompanies Neel out into the community to do good deeds for people. Seeing him as sensitive and thoughtful, Madame Las affection for the man continues to grow. Eventually she leads the charge to get his sentence revoked. But his date with the guillotine looms; will she have enough time to overturn the sentence? Set around 1850, THE WIDOW OF ST. PIERRE tackles the socially divisive issue of capital punishment from a historical perspective. The acting and cinematography of this French-language film are first rate, but Madame Las bizarre sexual attraction to Neel, along with the foreign film status, should limit box office interest.

Tackling the issue of capital punishment has been done in powerful and poignant ways. This film, like the 1995 film DEAD MAN WALKING, presents a liberal viewpoint decidedly against the death penalty. But these films also present the issue to promote discussion afterward. While this theme is well presented, the bizarre way in which Madame La is attracted to Neel makes a saddening turn of events. She seems to care more for Neel than for her own husband. Her husband’s status as police captain becomes a tool to advance her cause, and he willingly follows her down that path, in spite of her clear feelings for Neel. One graphic sex scene occurs and includes side male rear nudity. Only one regular profanity and one obscenity are translated in the subtitles of this French language film. However, the strong sexual content and adulterous overtones degrade THE WIDOW OF ST. PIERRE.

Preview Reviewer: John Adair
Distributor: Lions Gate Films, 5750 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 501, LA, CA 90036

Crude Language: Several (9) times - Mild 7, Moderate 2
Obscene Language: Once (s-word)
Profanity: Once Regular (C)
Violence: Several times Mild and Moderate (man stabbed to death, rocks thrown at men, men fall from carriage, man beheaded off-camera, man shot, bloody wound)
Sexual Intercourse: Few times Implied and Graphic (implied by unmarried couple in bed, graphic scene between married couple - with nudity)
Nudity: Once (side male rear during sex)
Homosexual Conduct: None
Sexually Suggestive Action/Dialog: Few times (man touches womans clothed breasts, wife propositions husband, comment about future sexual activity, comment about man arousing sexual interest among town women)
Drug Abuse: Several times (cigarette smoking, alcohol)
Other: Woman wants man freed from death penalty; idea that current good deeds should forgive past evil
Running Time: 108 minutes
Intended Audience: Adults

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