Under the Sand
Entertainment: +1
Acceptability: -2

A much-anticipated vacation on a quiet French beach turns to tragedy for middle-aged Marie Drillon (Charlotte Rampling) and her husband Jean (Bruno Cremer). While Marie naps on the deserted beach, Jean goes for a swim. After a time, Marie realizes Jean has mysteriously vanished. After frantically searching for her beloved, Marie reports his disappearance to the local police. While waiting for news of her husband, Marie tries to resume teaching and socializing with friends, and even dates an old friend, Vincent (Jacques Nolot). The police investigation indicates Jean drowned and they hint that it could be a suicide. But Marie cannot accept his death, much less his suicide. She fantasizes his presence in the privacy of her home, and talks about him to her friends as though he is still alive. UNDER THE SAND can be appreciated for its engrossing treatment of the traumatic loss of a loved one, but few viewers will find their way to the box office.

Marie's mental state and suffering over her husband's death has much to do with the chilling fear that perhaps the husband she adores may have chosen to leave her. She accepts a dinner date with Vincent but resists his advances. However, she later initiates a sexual relationship. She always goes home to tell the absent Jean every detail. During a graphic bedroom scene with Vincent, she even imagines Jean watching and smiling. Her fantasy conversations with her dead husband are never presented as real, but illustrate the destructive nature of depending upon someone else for your happiness. The few sex scenes are prolonged and graphic with breast nudity. As a nude couple walks on the beach, full female nudity and a brief, side view of male nudity reflect the casualness of the French about such matters. Surprisingly, UNDER THE SAND, with English subtitles, contains no foul language. And, except for a gruesome description of a dead body, has no violence. However, for discerning viewers, pornographic sex and nudity further limit the appeal of this depressing drama.

Preview Reviewer: Mary Draughon
Distributor: Winstar Cinema, 419 Park Avenue South, New York, NY 10016-8410

Crude Language: None
Obscene Language: None
Profanity: None
Violence: None, but graphic, gory description of a corpse
Sexual Intercourse: Few times – graphic (prolonged scenes of unmarried couple with nudity)
Nudity: Few times (breast in sex scene, nude couple walking on beach with full frontal female and side male)
Homosexual Conduct: None
Sexually Suggestive Action/Dialog: Strongly implied female self-gratifcation
Drug Abuse: Woman takes pills
Other: Theme of not facing reality, danger of depending on another person for happiness
Running Time: 96 minutes
Intended Audience: Adults

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