MPAA Rating: R

Entertainment: +3

Content: -3

In Britain, gardening borders on religion and its practitioners are almost exclusively the social elite. Since a crime of passion as a teen put him behind bars for most of his adult life, Colin Briggs (Clive Owen) is far from the upper crust. His transfer to an experimental, “open” prison places him in the company of Fergus (David Kelly), a dying, elderly inmate who exposes him to the art of horticulture. When she tours the prison, an introduction to Britain’s foremost authority on gardening, Georgina Woodhouse (Helen Mirren), leads to a work release opportunity for Colin and his odd assortment of fellow prison gardeners. Their skills are put to use at a palatial English estate. But when the estate is robbed, Colin’s budding relationship with Ms. Woodhouse’s daughter and a potential showing at the prestigious Hamptom Court Palace Flower Show are threatened. GREENFINGERS is a delightful British comedy that is both amusing and endearing. Limited release and the absence of “laugh out loud” moments will likely hinder its American box office performance.

Based on a true story, GREENFINGERS offers the positive theme that beauty can be found in the most unlikely of places. The elderly Fergus makes several reverential statements about God, heaven, and forgiveness. Colin’s personal development, as well as that of another minor prison character, illustrate themes of forgiveness and redemption, regardless of committed sins. However, the major downfall of GREENFINGERS involves objectionable language, including numerous obscenities, and two sex scenes, one implied and one mildly graphic with very brief nudity. While not altogether unexpected in a prison setting, the offensive language and sexual content take away from the film’s overall positive impact. With a little pruning, GREENFINGERS could have been an uplifting film that shows the endless possibilities if you find your calling, even for a hardened criminal.

Preview Reviewer: John Barber
IDP, 1133 Broadway, Suite 1101, New York, NY 10010

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 - Mild 5, moderate 6

Obscene Language: Many (23) times - F-word 15, s-word 6, other 2

Profanity: Few (2) times - Regular 1 (J); exclamatory 1 (MG)

Violence: Few times - Mild (fist fight)

Sex: Few times - Graphic once with nudity, implied once (kissing couple lowers to mattress)

Nudity: Few times (Male rear/ female side in sex scene, breast nudity in pornographic magazine); Near Nudity - once (man in drooping towel)

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: Few times (woman notes man’s arousal; couple discusses term of sexual abstinence)

Drugs: Several times (cigarette smoking)

Other: Older character often refers to God positively; premarital sex leads to pregnancy; man steals, then runs from police; sympathetic portrayal of criminals

Running Time: 91 minutes
Intended Audience: Adults

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