Up At The Villa
Entertainment: +2
Acceptability: +2

It's 1938 and Mary (Kristin Scott Thomas), a lovely English widow living in a villa outside Florence, Italy, seems to have it all. Distinguished Sir Edgar (James Fox) has proposed marriage, promising Mary a privileged life as a governor's wife in India. Her aristocratic English friends include Mary in their frequent, elegant dinner parties. At one such gathering, Mary meets two men who change her life forever. She befriends one of the waiters (Jeremy Davies), a young refugee Austrian who fled to Italy to escape the Nazis. The other, Rowley (Sean Penn), a dashing American is her dinner partner and the opposite of staid Sir Edgar. Within 24 hours, Mary seeks out Rowley to help her dispose of the young Austrian's body. Anne Bancroft as a gossipy socialite adds to UP AT THE VILLA's stellar cast. Based on a Somerset Maugham novella, the story may develop too slow for most, but gorgeous Italian scenery, rich photography, and elegant costumes make it worth the price of admission.

Because the film doesnt embellish this 1930's story with gratuitous sex, violence and foul language, it may not attract a wide audience. Yet, UP AT THE VILLA's tragedy is the result of one nights passion. Mary's compassion for the young waiter leads to sex and ultimately his death. Their bedroom scene includes passionate kissing, then fades until the man leaves her bed. Another passionate kissing scene between Mary and Rowley stops abruptly and she leaves the room. When Mary rebuffs the refugee's further advances, an intense confrontation with gun threats, the sound of a gunshot and a bloody, fatal wound follow. Later, Rowley's bloody face and shirt after his arrest imply a police beating. Mary's misplaced sympathy for a stranger turns ugly and she suffers the consequences of her poor judgment. Rowley also teaches her that life is about taking chances when he risks his life to save her. While UP AT THE VILLA may not attract young audiences, tasteful treatment of its adult subject matter is unlikely to offend discerning viewers.

Preview Reviewer: Mary Draughon
Distributor: USA/October Films, 65 Bleeker St., NY, NY 10112

Crude Language: Few (2) times Mild 1, moderate1
Obscene Language: None
Profanity: Few (4) times - Exclamatory (Good G, Oh G)
Violence: Few times Moderate (attempted rape, gun threats, off-camera gunshot, bloody wound, bloody face from police beating)
Sexual Intercourse: Implied once (unmarried couple in bed after passionate kissing)
Nudity: None
Homosexual Conduct: Few times (effeminate museum caretaker flirts with other men, woman jokes about lesbians and homosexuals)
Sexually Suggestive Action/Dialog: Few times (woman brags about her many adulterous affairs, couple kiss passionately)
Drug Abuse: Many times - champagne, wine and martini drinking frequent; woman deliberately gets another drunk
Other: Ethnic slur, man risks life for woman; poor judgment suffers serious consequences
Running Time: 120 minutes
Intended Audience: Adults

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