Journey of August King, The

MPAA Rating: PG-13

Entertainment: +3

Content: +1

A different kind of film, THE JOURNEY OF AUGUST KING takes place in the mountains of North Carolina in 1810. August King (Jason Patric), a widower, makes his annual trading journey to town for needed supplies. August takes his horse, a covered wagon, his cow and his pig. At night, he spies a runaway slave, Annalees Williamsburg (Thandie Newton) creeping near his campsite. He offers the runaway food and warns her that if she is caught, she will be severely punished. August keeps catching glimpses of Annalees and soon allows her to sleep in his wagon at night. In the meantime, the slave's owner, Olaf Singletary (Larry Drake), a fat, greasy, obnoxious man, is combing the mountains with his posse looking for Annalees and a male slave. Mature audiences will appreciate this touching story about hope and friendship during a very dark period in our country's history.

THE JOURNEY OF AUGUST KING becomes an inward journey as well as an outward one for August. He struggles with his desire to help the young slave escape to freedom versus his duty to obey the law and turn her over to the authorities. To the film's credit, it does not degenerate into a sexual saga in spite of August and Annalees' obvious attraction for each other. He brings her to his home one night and puts salve on her bare back and shoulders, but nothing more happens between them. August shows his fondness for her, however, by giving her his dead wife's clothes to wear. Also heartening is the lack of offensive language, except for one mild crude word and one exclamatory profanity. Some intense scenes occur when a dog dies after fighting a bear, and later August shoots his cow to throw the posse off his trail. From a distance, a male runaway slave is hung upside down and cleaved in two. This movie dealing with conscience is summed up by August's closing words, In a day or two I lost everything, but I never felt so proud. THE JOURNEY OF AUGUST KING's adult subject matter makes it inappropriate for children.

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: Once - Mild

Obscene Language: None

Profanity: Twice - Exclamatory

Violence: Few times - Moderate and Severe (obscure view of slave cleaved in two; dog shot after bear fight; cow shot to cover trail; pig drowns; cabin burned; man struck in face)

Sex: None

Nudity: None

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: Once (man puts salve on woman's bare back and shoulders; slave spends night in house with man)

Drugs: None

Other: None

Running Time:
Intended Audience: Adults

Click HERE for a PRINTER-FRIENDLY version of this review.