Passion Fish

MPAA Rating: R

Entertainment: +2 1/2

Content: -2

From the frantic world of New York City to the laid-back lifestyle of Cajun country in Louisiana would be a difficult transition for a normal person. For a TV star who has recently been paralyzed from the waist down, the adjustment proves almost impossible. May-Alice (Mary McDonnell), queen of the soap operas and victim of a car accident, returns to her family's Louisiana home. There she proceeds to drown her sorrows, literally, in alcohol. A helpless May-Alice takes out her anger and bitterness on five or six nurses one by one, who promptly quit. When the agency sends Chantelle (Alfre Woodard), a Chicago-reared black nurse, May-Alice meets her match. Chantelle immediately sees the hurt and fear in her patient, but refuses to coddle her. These two diverse women slowly develop respect for each other. As Chantelle's secret past is gradually revealed, we see that beneath her stoic front is another very vulnerable woman. The unique Cajun culture, from its folk music and casual lifestyle to its folklore, is displayed throughout the film. A motorboat trip through the swamps offers breathtaking scenery. PASSION FISH's peek into a lifestyle far removed from sophisticated city life is as entertaining as its central plot.

Ninety percent of the foul language comes from May-Alice. She screams the f-word at least 21 times. Wouldn't you think an accomplished actress could meet the challenge of expressing anger and bitterness without obscenities? May-Alice also makes crude references to her sexual limitations. Chantelle becomes involved with one of the local men, but no sex is shown, though it is implied once. May-Alice flirts with an old school chum, even though he is married with five children. She openly hopes he will pursue his obvious attraction for her. He refers to his wife as a "big Christian" in a derogatory manner, as if her religion ruined their marriage. Heavy drinking by May-Alice is not condoned or glamorized; in fact, Chantelle makes her face her drinking problem head-on. A fish sliced open with its insides exposed may offend some non-fishermen. True friendship and overcoming physical and emotional hardships shine through the darkness of offensive language and disrespect for traditional values.

Preview Reviewer: Mary Draughon
Miramax Films, 18 E. 48th St., Ste. 1601, 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: Many (11) times - Moderate 8; Mild 3

Obscene Language: Many (40) times (f-word 25; s-word 11; other 4)

Profanity: Several (7) times - Regular (3); Exclamatory (4)

Violence: Once - Mild (paralyzed woman falls off commode)

Sex: Implied once; notshown

Nudity: None

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: Couple embrace passionately; reference to oral sex; woman laments her sexual limitations

Drugs: Several heavy drinking scenes, but not condoned

Other: Christian referred to negatively; disrespect for traditional values.

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