Heaven and Earth

MPAA Rating: R

Entertainment: +3

Content: -2

HEAVEN AND EARTH continues Oliver Stone's series about the Vietnamese war. PLATOON and BORN ON THE FOURTH OF JULY were both concerned with the American experience in the war. This time we see it through the eyes of Le Ly Hayslip (Hiep Thi Le), a South Vietnamese girl. When her village is torn apart by the fighting, Le Ly is taken prisoner and raped. Eventually she escapes and moves to Saigon with her sister and mother. There Le Ly gets a job, but winds up pregnant after an affair with her married boss. With a baby to support, she is barely surviving. Steve Butler (Tommy Lee Jones), an American GI., falls in love with her and takes her back to America. The rest of the story tells of Le Ly's struggle to fit into a foreign world and her deteriorating marriage. This incredible story of the perseverance of Le Ly against the bloody backdrop of war, beautifully filmed with many poignant moments, is based on a true story.

The violence portrayed reflects the realistic consequences of war. There are several explosions and five people are shot in the head by a firing squad. The graphic rape of Le Ly is particularly painful to watch. Other prisoners are hit across the face, kicked in the back and given electric shocks. In addition, girls are tortured by spreading honey on their feet and legs to attract ants. Also "realistic" is the offensive dialogue as the American G.I.'s spout off many crudities, obscenities and profanities. Le Ly unsuccessfully attempts to miscarry her baby by jumping down the stairs. Intercourse is implied three times besides the one rape, but no nudity is shown. Unfortunately, Buddhism as the answer to war and the solution for personal pain becomes the film's primary message. Le Ly's deeply religious father instills in his daughter the belief in ancestor worship and contact with the spirits. The Catholic Church is portrayed as strange and closely allied with the American war effort. HEAVEN AND EARTH is much closer to earth than it is to heaven with its anti-American, anti-Christian messages.

Preview Reviewer: Greg Wilson
Warner Brothers, 4000 Warner Blvd., Burbank Ca 91522

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: Many (13) times - Mild 4; Moderate 9

Obscene Language: Many (28) times (f-word 19; s-word 6; other 3)

Profanity: Many (13) times - Regular 11; Exclamatory 2

Violence: Many times - Moderate and Severe (woman raped, people shot, several explosions, hits in face, kicks in the back and honey spread on legs and feet to attract ants)

Sex: Implied three times, no nudity

Nudity: Twice (breast nudity and male rear nudity in rape scene)

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: Few times - references to intercourse

Drugs: Some alcohol drinking, not condoned

Other: Anti-Christian, anti-American theme; Buddhism portrayed positively; attempted abortion; adulterous affair

Running Time:
Intended Audience: Adult

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