Entertainment: +3
Acceptability: -3

Set in early 1923, this powerful drama is based on fact. Rosewood is a thriving black community in Florida with only one white family, the John Wrights. John (Jon Voight) owns the general store and treats his neighbors fairly, although he doesn't consider them his equals. The Carrier family, headed by Sarah (Esther Rolle), has a strong sense of integrity, dignity and pride and are Rosewood's leading citizens. In sharp contrast is the neighboring all-white settlement of Sumner, filled with racist "crackers" who bitterly resent the all-black Rosewood community. When Mr. Mann (Ving Rhames) rides into Rosewood on New Year's Eve, he's warmly welcomed by Sarah. This intelligent, large black man has drifted into Florida after World War I. Rosewood seems to beckon him, but suddenly a white woman from Sumner falsely claims she was beaten and raped by a black man. A brutal attack on Rosewood completely destroys the town and most of its citizens. Only a few dozen survive, thanks to the joint heroism of Wright and Mann. Well-acted, beautifully photographed and featuring John Williams' stirring musical score, Rosewood leaves a lasting impression.

If watching this movie makes us look back at our forefathers' inhumanity and then inside ourselves, it will accomplish much. But the injustices, brutal murder and torture of innocent people may cause some to rationalize that retaliation is in order. Violence reigns throughout Rosewood, from a man mercilessly beating his wife to the horrible tortures and hangings of innocent people. Point blank shootings spare no details as blood gushes, mortally wounded quiver, and hanging men struggle to breathe. The villains are all white. Even Wright uses a young black girl working in his store as a sexual outlet. The young white woman who starts the tragedy with her lies is actually beaten and raped by her husband in a very graphic scene. Most profanities and many "n" words come from the white racists. Perhaps this film is in retaliation for recent depictions of black gangs being the perpetrators of today's crimes. When will we stop fanning the flames of hate, ask for forgiveness and try to live harmoniously? While the violence is realistic, Rosewood could have delivered its message without being so graphic and profane.

Preview Reviewer: Mary Draughon
Distributor: Warner Bros., 4000 Warner Blvd., Burbank, CA 915

Crude Language: Many (27) times - Mild 20, Moderate 7
Obscene Language: None
Profanity: Many (10) times - Regular (J 1, J-C 1, C-sake 1, G-d 7)
Violence: Many times - Moderate and Severe (graphic shootings, hangings, torture; town destroyed by fire)
Sexual Intercourse: Twice (rear view of man with black girl, no nudity; husband and wife, no nudity); implied few times by sounds
Nudity: None
Homosexual Conduct: None
Sexually Suggestive Action/Dialog: Few times (man caresses wife)
Drug Abuse: Lynch mob members all drunk
Other: Racist teaches son to make noose, forces him to watch hanging and look in mass grave; 'n' word used many times; family prays at meals, woman reads Bible
Running Time: 139 minutes
Intended Audience: Adults

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