Harrison's Flowers

MPAA Rating: R

Entertainment: +2 1/2

Content: -3 1/2

Photographs are the communal memory of our time. So says Yeager (Elias Koteas), a photographer making a living by taking pictures of wars around the globe. But when a war in Yugoslavia breaks out that he thinks the world needs to know about, Yeager is laid up after a surgery, so veteran photographer Harrison (David Strathairn) is sent to do the job instead. He leaves behind two young children, a wife Sarah (Andie MacDowell), and a desire to give up this dangerous lifestyle to spend more time with his family. Several days later, Sarah receives word of Davids death in the war-torn country, but she refuses to believe it based on a mysterious phone call she receives the night before. Holing herself up in her house, she refuses to see anyone as she is glued to the television waiting to see any image of Harrison. Her obsession grows day after day, until she finally gets his traveling bag that has been recovered some time after the death. This prompts her to travel to Yugoslavia and track down her husband. Her determination takes her there, but she can only succeed with help from other photographers out of respect for her plight and her husbands life and work. HARRISONS FLOWERS looks more like an action movie from its previews, but its serious tone and message take it beyond that shallow level. While good, the film lacks that commanding screen presence or overwhelming emotion needed to bring in big audiences.

The film shows great respect and honor for what these photographers go through, simply to tell stories of far off places that few people in the West are aware of. They literally risk their lives as the bombs drop and bullets fly. Their pictures tell stories others need to hear. And they are often forced to place themselves at the mercy of trigger-happy soldiers, simply to get through a roadblock or into a bombed-out city. These photographers end up seeing horrific images in the process, some of which make it to the screen in this film. One scene portrays an innocent man shot in the head, while another shows the photographers finding a bus filled with presumably innocent, dead civilians. One young girl in this group has clearly been brutally raped in the middle of the street. None of the violence is glorified, but some scenes are difficult to watch in places. Foul language is heavy, with 82 obscenities and four strong profanities, which wilts HARRISONS FLOWERS.

Preview Reviewer: John Adair
Universal Pictures, 100 Universal City Plaza, Universal City, CA 91608

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: Several (9) times - Mild 4, Moderate 5

Obscene Language: Many (82) times - F-word 48, s-word 31, other 3

Profanity: Many (10) times Regular 6 (GD 3, C, C sake, G sake); Exclamatory 4 (OG, OMG)

Violence: Several times Moderate (woman slapped, man shot in head, artillery explosions, people thrown to ground from explosions, dead and bloodied people, people shot in the street, people dragged, point blank shootings of innocent people)

Sex: None

Nudity: None

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: None

Drugs: Once (cocaine use)

Other: Exhibits the importance of news photographers; urination, vomiting; shows horrors of war

Running Time: 122 minutes
Intended Audience: Adults

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