Business of Strangers, The

MPAA Rating: R

Entertainment: +2 1/2

Content: -3

Arriving in yet another city for yet another presentation, veteran businesswoman Julie Styron (Stockard Channing) thinks that her boss is prepared to fire her at a dinner meeting later that night. Instead, she is shocked to discover shes been promoted to CEO of the company. But stuck in a strange city, in a strange hotel, she has only her insubordinate, young assistant Paula (Julia Stiles) for companionship. What ensues is part power struggle as the two women confront their work relationship and part friendship as they begin to get to know one another. However, all this occurs against a backdrop of having a good time together, but the good time spirals out of control before they realize the repercussions of a vengeful act. Stockard Channing delivers a solid performance as always, while Julia Stiles continues to grow with another fine performance here. The witty interplay between the two, radically different women is the highlight of this rather dark drama. Look for the film to perform well among audiences pleased by slow-building character studies.

Julie Styron clearly worked extremely hard to achieve a place where shes hired as CEO of a major company. However, in so doing, its clear she sacrificed many other things, like family and close personal friendships. Whats not so clear is how she feels about the sacrifices, which is part of the appeal of her complex character. Contrasting that is Paula, who sacrifices nothing for her job, and forces the audience to ask themselves the question: How much or little do I give to my job or any other area of life for that matter? Sadly, the film is filled with objectionable content throughout, with several instances of explicit sexual dialogue. One scene, in which the women briefly watch a pornographic film, shows a couple having sex on video. Also, foul language is particularly strong with over 50 obscenities and 9 regular profanities. Graphic sex and frequent vulgar language should keep discerning viewers from giving their box office business to THE BUSINESS OF STRANGERS.

Preview Reviewer: John Adair
IFC Films, 2 Park Ave., 11th Floor, New York, NY 10016

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 (10) times - Mild 2, moderate 8

Obscene Language: Many (51) times - F-word 34, s-word 11, other 6

Profanity: Many (11) times Regular 9 (G 3, J 4, JC, OJ); Exclamatory 2 (OG, OMG)

Violence: Few times Mild and moderate (woman punches/ slaps another, man pushed)

Sex: Once Graphic (seen on television with sounds and nudity)

Nudity: Once (female breast, rear, and male rear during sex on TV); Near Nudity Few times (cleavage emphasized, woman in underwear)

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: Several times (discussion about watching pornographic movies and differences between directors, couple prolonged kissing, comment about asking for unconventional sex, woman touches mans genitals, woman recounts story of rape)

Drugs: Many times (alcoholic drinks)

Other: Women talk about aging, trust, corporate world politics, and relationships

Running Time: 84 minutes
Intended Audience: Adults

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