MPAA Rating: PG-13

Entertainment: +3 1/2

Content: -1 1/2

This historical romance is based on the same book that inspired the 1982 French import, THE RETURN OF MARTIN GUERRE. A Confederate soldier, Jack Sommersby (Richard Gere), returns after six years to a devastated Tennessee town after the Civil War. The townspeople give him a hero's welcome. His wife, Laurel Sommersby (Jodie Foster), is less than enthusiastic, mostly because of her affection for her friend Oran (Bill Pullman). She has doubts, raised in part by Oran, whether the man who returns is actually her husband. Sommersby, meanwhile, devises a plan for economic recovery for the town. His farm is to be parceled off for the townspeople, including former slaves, to start growing a tobacco crop. While the crop is successful, he is threatened by the Klan and crops are destroyed. Sommersby prevails, until he is arrested for a murder. His trial brings out one heart-wrenching revelation after another. The heart of the movie is the relationship between Jack and Laurel Sommersby. Will she look the other way when questions arise about him? Gere's performance is outstanding, while Foster sometimes appears stiff and over-rehearsed. SOMMERSBY, nevertheless, is a timeless movie, done with intelligence and emotion.

A number of moderate crudities are used, as well as an obscenity and some regular profanity. These often seem out-of-character. The violence includes a former slave being beaten briefly. There is very little nudity or sex, especially unusual since the movie is a romance. However, there are two instances of implied intercourse and one of obscured intercourse and nudity. Sommersby commendably takes the side of the former slaves, to the point of being singled out by the Ku Klux Klan. The kids are shown enjoying a smoke behind the barn and the minister smokes some of the new tobacco crop. When the dog dies, Sommersby says at its funeral, "Lord, take him to a better place." In all, SOMMERSBY is a relatively clean movie. Most of the crude language could have been left out without reducing its impact.

Preview Reviewer: Alice Anderson
Warner Bros., 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(19) times - Mild 16; Moderate 3

Obscene Language: One time (reference to breasts)

Profanity: Several (7) times - Regular 5; Exclamatory 2

Violence: Several times - Moderate (man beaten, Klan burns cross, gunfire, building torched)

Sex: Once obscured, mainly sounds; implied twice

Nudity: Once (obscured)

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: Few times - husband touches wife in bed

Drugs: Few (3) times - alcohol drinking

Other: Blacks called 'niggers' or 'colored;' kids smoking behind barn; minister smoking

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