Cry, the Beloved Country

MPAA Rating: G

Entertainment: +3

Content: +1 1/2

Set in South Africa in the 1940's, this film is based on the novel by Alan Paton. A Christian Zulu pastor, Stephen Kumalo (James Earl Jones), receives word that his sister Gertrude has become ill in Johannesburg. He decides to leave at once to see her and to try also to find his brother John and son Absalom. Arriving in the city, Stephen is shocked at city life and soon finds Gertrude in a brothel where he forcibly removes her. Then he finds his brother, a leading politician of unrest. They have little to say to each other, so Stephen searches for his son. He finally locates Absalom in prison where he has been charged with the murder of a white man, Arthur Jarvis. Arthur was from the same province as the Reverend, and soon Stephen meets the murdered man's father (Richard Harris). The remainder of the story plots the reconciliation of these two men. Powerfully told, the film maintains interest as the relationship between a black man and a white man unfolds in a new awareness of their common humanity. Those who appreciate thought provoking drama will particular enjoy this film.

Amazingly, the film contains no offensive language. Perhaps it's because of its 1946 setting and the spirituality of the protagonist, Rev. Kumalo, a godly man. Violence consists of street fighting in Johannesburg, the Reverend strikes his sister in the brothel and a man is hanged. These incidents, however, are neither gratuitous nor glamorized. The murder of Arthur, though central to the story, is not shown. The film's sexual content is limited to the brothel scene where Gertrude is found. Here, prostitutes wearing skimpy outfits solicit patrons, who are drinking and smoking. Overall CRY, THE BLOVED COUNTRY tells the story subtly, discreetly, and movingly without resorting to gratuitous violence, sex or bad taste.

Preview Reviewer: Bonnie C. Harvey, Ph.D.
Miramax Films, 375 Greenwich, NY, NY 10013

The following categories contain objective listings of film content which contribute to the subjective numeric Content ratings posted to the left and on the Home page.

Crude Language: None

Obscene Language: None

Profanity: None

Violence: Few times - Moderate (man strikes woman; street fighting; man hanged)

Sex: None

Nudity: None; Near nudity (women in skimpy outfits)

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: Few times (prostitutes solicit patrons in brothel)

Drugs: Smoking and drinking in brothel scene

Other: Unwed woman pregnant, but not condoned; Christian pastor portrayed positively; theme of reconciliation between two people of different races

Running Time:
Intended Audience: Adults

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