Entertainment: +3
Acceptability: -4

Heath Ledger. Written & directed by Neil Armfield. Drama.

FILM SYNOPSIS: From Australia comes this powerful, hard to view portrait of a couple who quickly slide into the nightmarish world of cocaine use. Several dynamic performances bring home the films message drugs destroy the soul.

PREVIEW REVIEW: Man, this was difficult to view. Along with the R-rated content of graphic sex and continual use of obscene language, we see two beautiful young people degenerate into creatures whose only ambition is the next fix. They will lie, use, steal and threaten both strangers and loved ones in her to get that high.

Throughout my career as a film reviewer I have maintained a policy of not telling you to go to a movie or stay away from it. I believe my opinion, the storys synopsis and the content description should aid readers in the decision whether or not to support a film. Since this is such an important support matter, I will offer up the following advice. (First, read the content.)

I once heard that that the first use of (cocaine or heroin, I cant remember which) is the greatest high youll ever experience, and that people will spend the rest of their lives seeking that same high and never quite achieving it. Perhaps that is propaganda, but seeing and hearing of countless lives destroyed by such addiction would indicate that there is truth to that platitude. Parents can talk to their kids until they are blue in the face, the resulting promise I wont do drugs being forsaken sometimes in the same day. A picture is worth a thousand words. And if I thought that this film might keep some teen from that first time experiment, Id say take them to it. It just might scare the temptation out of them. You know I dont want kids being subjected to profane language and graphic sexuality in movies. But if this depiction would aid in their resistance to the peer pressure of drug use, then I think this exception would be worth it.

Todays audiences are willing to accept graphic portrayals of a self-destructive lifestyle with content that beats up the viewer as much as the actor. Here are two gut wrenching films that deal with addiction, but lack the objectionable language and detailed sexual situations.

Days Of Wine and Roses. A drunk marries and their lives descend into alcoholism, with one later finding sobriety. Writing, directing and acting (Jack Lemmon, Lee Remick) all extraordinary, with poignant ending.

The Man with the Golden Arm. Frank Sinatra plays a convincing junkie and we sense the dark hole a drug addict lives in. It is a horrifying examination of addiction.

Preview Reviewer: Phil Boatwright
Distributor: Dendy Films

Crude Language: The bohemian lifestyle is one where achievement and responsibility take a backseat to addictions and self-centeredness. This is honestly portrayed here through dialogue and actions.
Obscene Language: Around 70 obscenities, mostly the f-word.
Profanity: 2 misuses of Christs name.
Violence: The whole film deals with self-destructiveness. Their addition violates their dreams, their abilities and their goals. Because of the addition to cocaine, cigarettes and alcohol, an unborn baby dies. We see the dead baby. Hard to view, but it might horrify a young person enough to avoid the allure of drug use. In a fit of rage, the young woman throws an ash tray at her husband, causing stitches to be required. Blood: One bloody scene.
Sexual Intercourse: Four graphic sex scenes. In need of money, the woman prostitutes herself, her boyfriend so hooked that he is unwilling to prevent her from sacrificing herself.
Nudity: both male and female.
Homosexual Conduct: The young man is temped to prostitute himself in order to get drugs. These scenes do not become graphic.
Sexually Suggestive Action/Dialog: Several sexually charged conversations; I didnt perceive the reason to be exploitive, but rather included to detail a destructive lifestyle.
Drug Abuse: Drug use throughout.
Other: Full of despair and self-destruction, the film also shows the pain associated with trying to get and stay clean. For most, that is a losing battle.
Running Time: 108 minutes
Intended Audience: Older teens and adults

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