MPAA Rating: R

Entertainment: +2

Content: -2 1/2

Century is a year, 1899, in the life of an aspiring doctor, Paul Reisner (Clive Owen). Paul leaves the home of his eccentric and over-protective Jewish father (Robert Stephens). He goes to work at a free clinic/research laboratory in London. It is headed by a strong-willed doctor, Professor Mandry (Charles Dance). Paul and his colleagues are excited, worried, hopeful about the future. They believe research can find the answers to social as well as medical problems. He falls in love with a laboratory assistant, Clara (Miranda Richardson), who is from a lower class. Paul's awe and admiration for the professor is put to the test when he learns that his mentor is experimenting with eugenics by sterilizing lower class women, thereby improving the human race. Paul fears his father will learn that he has left the institute and fallen in love with a girl socially beneath them. The young doctor's year of learning is interesting historically, but CENTURY is slow-paced.

Paul stands up for researching medical cures and against eugenics. The story line vindicates him and his courage in the end. But even Paul is a snob who accepts the class differences of 1900 England. Using working class girls as prostitutes is taken for granted, and it is how Paul relates to Clara in the beginning. The poor, women, blacks and other outsiders are relegated to lower standing, and they expect it. Jews are treated with disdain and even hatred. Science is viewed as the only hope for man's improvement, but the practice of eugenics is ultimately discussed and experimented with negatively. Graphic scenes of the sick and dying seem necessary to the plot, and the fights Paul engages in emphasize his strong feelings. What is unnecessary are the nudity and long, explicit sexual scenes. That, and a bizarre party thrown by Paul's father, seem to have been put in the movie to earn an R rating. Hollywood needn't have bothered. CENTURY would not be understood, much less enjoyed by many viewers anyway.

Preview Reviewer: Margaret Reid
I.R.S., Telephone 310/838-7800

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 - Moderate

Obscene Language: None

Profanity: Few (2) times - Exclamatory

Violence: Several times - Mild and Moderate (doctors fight; child is tormented; some hitting and striking)

Sex: Twice (long explicit scenes with nudity and fondling); implied once by noises off-camera

Nudity: Several times (woman's breasts, full male rear nudity)

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: Several times (cubicle set aside for sex discussed; promiscuity acceptable )

Drugs: Some smoking

Other: Discussions of sterilization, women's cycles; practice of eugenics not condoned; occult-like party; woman vomits blood

Running Time:
Intended Audience: Adults

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