American Rhapsody, An

MPAA Rating: PG-13

Entertainment: +2

Content: +1/2

Suffering under Communist oppression was a way of life in 1950s Hungary. Behind the Iron Curtain, with no one to turn to for help, many felt the only way to a secure a future for their families was to secretly cross the border and try to escape to America. That is the choice of Peter (Tony Goldwyn) and Margit (Nastassja Kinski), parents of two young children. However, to make it across the border, they are forced to separate Peter, Margit, and their five-year old daughter in one group and their young baby, Suzanne, in another. The first group makes it out of Hungary, but Peter and Margit soon receive word that Suzannes group did not. The family is forced to make a horrific decision, either return or leave Suzanne in the care of strangers and hope to get her back some day. Fortunately, they discover they know Suzannes foster parents and decide to work toward her immigration. Five years later after the family is comfortably settled in Los Angeles, they are able to arrange for Suzanne to join them. However, in that time, she has grown to love her foster parents and would really be just as happy to spend the rest of her days in Hungary. The compelling film depicts Suzanne being ripped away from both sets of parents during her childhood. But Suzanne does join her family in America and the film chronicles her struggles to find her own place as shes torn between love for two families. Eventually, teenage Suzanne (Scarlett Johansson) is forced to come to terms with who she is and where she belongs. With the slow and careful buildup of Suzannes past, the end seems abrupt. However, it should attract moderate interest from foreign film fans.

Questions of family belonging get rather complicated when both birth and foster/adoptive parents are involved. Cases, like the one in this film, leave a child in the care of one set of parents for its early years and then transfer the child to another set of parents later in life, creating conundrums that may remain unsolved in this life. As depicted in this story, there arent any simple or completely satisfying solutions. The film deals with the emotional complexity well, particularly early on. Many viewers can also empathize with Suzannes struggle for an identity, with the proliferation of blended families in America caused by divorce, parental neglect or death. Objectionable content is restrained, with only three instances of the s-word in one comical scene. With a warning of the brief obscenity, AN AMERICAN RHAPSODY delivers a heart-warming tune.

Preview Reviewer: John Adair
Paramount Classics, 5555 Melrose Ave., LA, CA 90038

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: None

Obscene Language: Few (3) times - S-word

Profanity: Once Exclamatory (OMG)

Violence: Several times Mild and moderate (man hit/ slapped, chicken cut open and bled, girl shaken/ pushed, man shot)

Sex: None

Nudity: Once (female baby in bath)

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: Few times (couple sensually kissing)

Drugs: Many times (smoking, alcohol)

Other: Girl struggles to find where she belon

Running Time: 103 minutes
Intended Audience: Older teens and adults

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