Oliver Twist

MPAA Rating: PG-13

Entertainment: +2 1/2

Content: -1/2

On the cobblestone streets of Dickens' England, Oliver Twist (Barney Clark) is placed in a workhouse along with most of the city's orphans. The children are treated as slaves. Those that lord over them live an opulent lifestyle earned by cheating the child laborers out of their meager earnings. Oliver escapes the workhouse and heads to London where he is befriended by the Artful Dodger (Harry Eden). There, Fagin (Ben Kingsley) teaches young boys to steal and uses them to maintain his lifestyle. Mr. Brownlow (Edward Hardwicke) is pick-pocketed by Fagin's followers and meets Oliver in the courthouse. He sees something special in Oliver and wants to give him the home life of his dreams. Fagin and his gang seek to exploit Oliver's good fortune and twist the circumstances of his newfound friendship to their benefit. Directed by Roman Polanski.

While he lost his mother tragically at a young age, the impact of her upbringing gives Oliver a resource with which to cope with the trials of his life as an orphan. He is courteous, engenders trustworthiness and has a winsome innocence in his countenance. People see the good in him, and some seek to nurture it while others try to exploit it. This film portrays evil seductively. Fagin, who in modern times could be seen as a child predator, slowly yet deliberately entices Oliver with things that he wants in order to manipulate him into doing things that are wrong. Fagin says, "With Oliver's face, he could pick-pocket old ladies in church" ? Bill Sykes (Jamie Foreman), more upfront in using Oliver, pointedly threatens him with harm to motivate him to perform. The harsh, dark and manipulative elements of the film, including two troubling death scenes, give this film a negative edge that will concern many Preview readers.

Preview Reviewer: Brian Hughes
Sony 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: Several (7) times - mild (damn 7)

Obscene Language: None

Profanity: Few (4) times - moderate (OMG 1, G 1, G-sake 1); strong (C 1)

Violence: Many times - mild (harsh words to boys in the workhouse such as “they cost more than they are worth,? talk about mother’s death causes boy to cry, scuffling between boys, several instances of arguments, emotional manipulation of boys, several chase scenes, a break-in to a house); moderate (several instances where men beat boys with sticks, man hits donkey in the head with a stick, guns are shot, boy is hit in the arm with a bullet with bloody wound shown, there is an attempt to poison someone); strong (man screams “the boy will be hanged for asking for more food?; talk about a small boy working as chimney sweep and getting stuck in a chimney, “the fire burns their feet and motivates them to get unstuck?; man wants to drown boy to keep him quiet; man threatens boy with a gun and says that he will shoot him in the head; man beats woman in the head, and blood splatters; blood all over the floor and running out the door; man accidentally hangs himself)

Sex: None

Nudity: Few times - mild (women wear dresses with their bosoms pushed up showing cleavage)

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: None

Drugs: Several times - mild (boys drink alcohol under adult encouragement, adults drink alcohol in a bar, boys smoking pipe); moderate (boy gets drunk and goes to sleep, boy is silly drunk)

Other: Several appropriate uses of God (God bless you, God have mercy, God is holy and God is truth is written on walls of dining room where the children are fed gruel, boys are told to pray for those who feed them and care for them, people show genuine compassion amidst abuse and manipulation, children are taught how to steal and lie, boy is told that he looks so innocent he could pick-pocket an old lady in church, Dodger and Oliver are as close as Cain and Able, boy prays to God to forgive a wretched man)

Running Time: 130 minutes
Intended Audience: Older Children through Adults

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