Constant Gardener, The

MPAA Rating: R

Entertainment: +1 1/2

Content: -3

n this romantic thriller based on the best-selling John le Carre novel, British graduate student Tessa (Rachel Weisz) challenges diplomat and academic Justin Quayle (Ralph Fiennes) about foreign policies while he’s giving a speech. He’s intrigued by her outspoken political views and attracted by her bold spirit. She, in turn, is drawn to his introspective nature. The two quickly move from the academic arena to intimate romance. Their affair turns into a marriage when Tessa asks to accompany him to a remote part of Northern Kenya. The unlikely pair agrees not to mix their relationship and their politics, so Justin is in the dark as his activist wife investigates a drug company’s questionable testing practices on African patients. But when his wife and good friend are brutally killed, this reserved man searches for the true reason she was killed and begins to dig up what appears to be a sinister cover-up.

Though this movie centers on the intrigue of two unjust murders, its true agenda is political. It uses a fictitious love story to protest America’s foreign policy in Africa. While seeking to awaken viewers to injustice, it assaults them with numerous sexual images and repeated, graphic violence. In a word, the movie is jarring. Its camera angles, images, language and message are deeply disturbing. When viewers are not seeing sexual images, they’re exposed to an onslaught of violent scenes depicting murder, killing and death. Though some of the violence accurately reflects the present-day Aids epidemic in Africa and the genocide in Sudan, it is often overwhelming and grotesque. While it succeeds in making the audience face the reality of a situation we’d rather ignore, the graphic means used to tell the story are too raw and the sexual content gratuitous, earning it a low acceptability rating.

Preview Reviewer: Suzanne Keffer
Focus Features

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 (7) times – mild (hell 1, damn 2); strong (b-tch 4)

Obscene Language: Many (11+) times – strong (f-word 10+, other (b-lls 1)

Profanity: Few (2) times – strong (JC 2)

Violence: Many times – mild (flashbacks to fighting, struggles between a boy and police); moderate (men beat up a man they’ve capture; men brandish guns at men; men, women and children attacked by rebels; gang beats up a man); strong (women’s dead body shown in a morgue, images of a dead man and woman murdered in a car, unclothed dead body hangs from a tree, man commits suicide, images of dead bodies in a grave, images of dead villagers after rebel attack)

Sex: Many times – mild (man and woman kiss, flashbacks of man and woman kissing); moderate (man and woman in bed together kissing, flashbacks of man and woman in bed together); strong (man and woman in a bathroom and in bed with nudity and sex and flashbacks of the same)

Nudity: Several times – moderate (woman’s nude body shown from behind, woman’s breasts, pregnant woman’s stomach and breasts, man’s chest and lower back)

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: Few times – mild (man propositions a woman to have sex with him twice, woman agrees to have sex with man in exchange for information, talk of woman and children being raped by rebels)

Drugs: Few times – mild (people drinking alcohol at a social gathering)

Other: Several disturbing images of people sick or dying in hospitals and homes

Running Time: 129 minutes
Intended Audience: Adults

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