Feast of July

MPAA Rating: R

Entertainment: +2 1/2

Content: -1

More a character study than a well-mapped plot, FEAST OF JULY follows Bella (Ebeth Davidtz) and the effect her presence has on others. Sometimes she is the catalyst, other times a bystander. The film opens on the wind-swept hills of rural England, as unwed Bella gives birth to a baby who dies in childbirth. Seeking the child's father, she stumbles into the town and lives of Ben Wainwright (Tom Bell), his wife (Gemma Jones) and their three sons. While Jed Wainwright (James Purefoy), a military man who "knows how to treat women," playfully courts Bella, it is his younger brother Con (Ben Chaplin) who falls in love with her. Fighting with Jed over Bella, Con shows both his temper and feelings for her during a harvest feast. Bella eventually discovers that the father of her child is married. Con's temper flairs again and the lovers must make decisions. Rich in the sights and colors of 19th Century England, like a Thomas Hardy novel, this feast is an absorbing look at a woman's misfortunes with men. However, its slow plot development makes it a bit cold.

When Bella is taken in by Ben, it is the mother who invites her to stay and work with them. But later the mother blames Bella for family problems and curses her in one scene. As in many period pieces, language tends to be more crude than obscene, but, surprisingly, the crude words are few. Ben is a Godly man who gives mini-sermons during grace before meals, and the family's Christian beliefs are exemplified in their everyday lives. But this film has some adult situations not suitable for children. It begins with a fairly graphic childbirth scene as blood seeps from under Bella's dress. Jed and Con fight with sharp scythes but no injury occurs. However, when Bella's former lover is killed, his bloody head is shown after being hit several times with a rock. A graphic hanging is also shown. While these scenes are intense and graphic, they are relevant to the plot. Sexual content is limited to implied sex once in a bedroom scene and actual sex between Bella and Con takes place once, but no nudity occurs. With just a few changes, FEAST OF JULY would be suitable for mature audiences.

Preview Reviewer: Paul Bicking
Buena Vista Distribution, 350 S. Buena Vista St., Burbank, CA 91521

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: Few (2) times - Mild

Obscene Language: Possible once (s-word incomprehensible)

Profanity: Few (3) times - Regular 1 (J), Exclamatory 2

Violence: Several times - Moderate and Severe (men fight, once with farm tools; bloody hits to head w/rock; graphic hanging execution)

Sex: Once without nudity; implied once (couple in bed)

Nudity: None

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: Few times (sensual kissing)

Drugs: Cigarette smoking, excessive alcohol use but not condoned

Other: Prayers at meals, church hymn sung, Bible story discussed; vomiting after murder; blood from childbirth shown

Running Time:
Intended Audience: Adults

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