Last Days of Chez Nous, The

MPAA Rating: R

Entertainment: +3

Content: -2

"Chez Nous" is French for "our house" and, like the mixed language of the title, this story revolves around a French husband and Australian wife not understanding one another. Beth (Lisa Harrow) writes novels that her husband Jean Pierre - J.P. (Bruno Ganz) says show a world as she wants it, not like it really is. Beth's sister, Vicki (Kerry Fox), returns from a bad relationship to live with Beth and J.P. Annie (Miranda Otto), Beth's teenage daughter and J.P. complain that Vicki doesn't pull her share. When Vicki tells Beth she's pregnant, Beth arranges for her sister to have an abortion. While Beth takes a trip with her father to resolve her conflicts with him, J.P. and Vicki become lovers. On her return, Beth must deal with her relationship to J.P. and her sister. An excellent ensemble cast prevents the story from being one-sided. Each character has flaws and strengths that help you understand their actions and draw you into the story without resorting to violent explosions or graphic sex.

When Beth and a friend are talking about a church spire in the distance, Beth says she's started towards it several times but always got distracted. Similarly, the characters in the film are looking for a solution, but they also get distracted. In her practical viewpoint, Beth fails to see Vicki's emotional struggle with abortion, which surfaces during a television show on birth. Beth's dad says there is no God because if God made everything, who made God and why would God allow things like the Holocaust? Adultery is an important theme of the story, but the only time sex is implied is with Vicki. The next morning, Vicki is shown wrapped in a bed sheet that reveals part of her buttocks. The few crude, obscene remarks and one profanity, coupled with the explicit sexual content, combine to make this film less than acceptable. Although the film deals evenly with the negative consequences of the affair and the breakup of the family, it is the lack of understanding in Beth and J.P.'s relationship that causes the fall. This is a relationship film that misses the best relationship of all - God and man.

Preview Reviewer: Paul R. Bicking
Fine Line Features/New Line Cinema, 888 7th Ave., 20th Flr, NY, NY 10017

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: Mild once

Obscene Language: Few (3) - reference to unconventional sex, genitals

Profanity: Regular once (J)

Violence: Mild - Wife breaks bowl and destroys bottles

Sex: Implied once (bedroom, no nudity)

Nudity: Female rear (partial) once; breast once (baby nursing on TV)

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: newspaper article about hysterectomy read aloud; comment about men want one thing; passionate kissing

Drugs: Smoking, wine drinking with meals

Other: Adverse emotional consequences of abortion shown; father espouses atheism

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