MPAA Rating: PG-13

Entertainment: +2

Content: -2 1/2

SHADRACH is a very heartwarming, gentle film set in Virginia dauring the Depression of 1935. It starts at the home of the well to do Whitehurst family who pray at meals and attend church. Their eight-year-old son Paul goes to stay with his best friend, Little Mole Dabney, for several days while his parents are away on a trip. The Dabney's are dirt poor, but Paul and Little Mole get along famously and become involved in a grand adventure when a 99 year old former slave, Shadrach (John Sawyer), just appears one day. He was a slave on the Dabney plantation years ago and has come home to die and be buried on the Dabney land. The Dabneys take pity on him and care for him until he passes away. But his burial poses a problem because it is now against the law to bury a person on private land. And the head of the household, Vernon Dabney (Harvey Keitel) doesn't have the money for a funeral and burial in a cemetery. How Vernon and his wife, Trixie (Andie MacDowell) solve this dilemma results in an engaging, enjoyable film.

This moving story portrays the love and concern the Dabney family shows for an old dying former slave. Their care for him involves considerable inconvenience and risk. Paul and Little Mole, as well as the other Dabney children, learn about compassion and dealing with death. Vernon Dabney, who's a whiskey bootlegger, certainly doesn't want Shadrach's problem in his life but his compassion compels him to help him. Shadrach is a religious man who praises the Lord and some captivating black gospel songs are used for background music. The children discuss heaven and express their belief in an afterlife. Although the Dabney family is desperately poor, Trixie is a loving mother and wife and holds the family together. But she likes her beer and cigarettes and indulges frequently. Also, Vernon virtually destroys the decency of this film with a shocking foul mouth, spewing out almost 50 profanities, several obscenities and many moderate crudities. It's tragic that such offensive language is included in this otherwise magnificent film.

Preview Reviewer: John Evans
Columbia Pictures, 10202 W. Washington Blvd., Culver City, CA 90232

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 (33) times - Mild 14, Moderate 19

Obscene Language: Several (8) times - S word 4, Other 4

Profanity: Many (48) times - All Regular(GD 40, JC 6,Christ 2)

Violence: None

Sex: Implied once - (Old car shaking and woman gets out and adjusts her dress)

Nudity: Several times - Male rear nudity-(young boys seen from rear as they swim nude in pond ); Near Nudity: Once (young girls swim in pond in their underwear)

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: None

Drugs: Many times - Woman drinks beer and smokes cigarettes often, men sip bootleg whiskey

Other: Black gospel songs featured, black man praises the Lord, family prays and attends church, girl baptized, man says 'death ain't nothin', preacher quotes scripture; children discuss heaven and death and suggest that all good persons go to heaven.

Running Time: 86 minutes
Intended Audience: Teenagers and adults

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