House of Sand and Fog

MPAA Rating: R

Entertainment: +2 1/2

Content: -1 1/2

In this drama based on Andre Dubus IIIs best-selling novel, Massoud Amir Behrani (Ben Kingsley) is a colonel and member of the Shah of Irans elite inner circle. When the Shah is overthrown, Behrani and his family flee the country and become citizens of the U.S. In an effort to maintain his previous lifestyle, he works several jobs on a highway crew and in a convenience store but can barely make ends meet. When he finds a house that is being sold for back taxes, he sees an opportunity to get ahead. But the problem is that the house was sold by mistake; the owner, a young woman (Jennifer Connelly), struggles with alcoholism and failed to keep up with the paperwork. Deputy Lester Burdon (Ron Eldard) is present at the eviction, has compassion on the woman and becomes romantically involved with her. His efforts to help, by overstepping his authority, only exasperate the situation.

This is a moving film about people trying to survive in the midst of difficult circumstances. It illustrates what can happen when a person, without all of the facts, assumes that anothers motives are evil. Situational ethics come into play when the deputy uses his authority to bully the new owners of the house. The colonel makes several references to his gratitude to God in his difficult situation and while, in a struggle, helps the one who appears to want to hurt him and his family. The Muslim faith is shown in a positive light although it is not mentioned directly (the colonel gives thanks to God, not Allah). Unfortunately, an unmarried couple has sex and is shown briefly from the rear in bed and unclothed but the two are covered by darkness. Because of brief scenes of sexuality and some bad language, Preview cannot recommend House of Sand and Fog, but this is a thought-provoking film with some merit.

Preview Reviewer: Alan Boyer
DreamWorks Pictures

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: Once strong (SOB 1)

Obscene Language: Many (12) times strong (f-word 9, s-word 3)

Profanity: Few (2) times strong (GD 2)

Violence: Several times (man shot with gun and killed, girl jumps from ladder in bare feet and lands on nail, girl attempts suicide with gun and then with pills, man kills woman using pills and then kills himself)

Sex: Few times moderate (two different couples seen in bed unclothed but covered by darkness)

Nudity: Few times mild (woman seen getting washed in bra and shorts); moderate (brief bedroom scenes in darkness).

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: None

Drugs: Few times mild (drinking alcohol and smoking cigarettes); strong (pills used to commit murder and suicide)

Other: None

Running Time: 126 minutes.
Intended Audience: Adults

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