Joshua (2007)

MPAA Rating: R

Entertainment: +1

Content: -4

Sam Rockwell, Vera Farmiga, Celia Westson, Dallas Roberts, Jacob Kogan as Joshua. Thriller. Written & directed by Geroge Ratliff.

FILM SYNOPSIS: A young couple has a perfect, well-heeled Manhattan life, with a new baby girl and the male prodigy born to them nine years earlier. But with the arrival of his newborn sister, Joshua begins to display a disturbing side. Not just jealous of his sibling, he begins to display a psycho side bent on destroying his entire family. Alas, no one else sees the demonic behavior until its too late.

PREVIEW REVIEW: Earlier that day, I had viewed an uplifting, gentle film, then had a nice meal with a friend, returning later to the same theater where I regaled studio publicists with tales of past adventures at the movies, to which they kindly responded with chuckles. It had been a very pleasant day. I washappywhen I sat down and waited for Joshua to begin. It didnt take long, however, before the film began to drain that joy out of me, much like a vampire sucks the lifes blood out of his victims. It quickly became apparent that this film was going to be the opposite of edifying.

Its always unsettling when an infant is endangered in movies. Too often, we hear horror stories on the news concerning abused infants. So Im not quite sure who would enjoy this theme as entertainment. Well, its implied that Joshua, who walks around arms at his sides, his shirt buttoned to the neck like Adrian Monk, sneaks into his sisters room late at night and somehow gets her to cry. Soon the baby is crying all the time, until the mother loses her mind and has to be institutionalized. Then its Dads turn. Methodically, the boy disassembles his familys life, skillfully aiming the blame at others. He even knows how to get a child psychologist to think the boys father is abusing him.

Joshua is brilliant, demented and creepy. He seems to be the spawn of The Omens Damian and that spooky chick from The Bad Seed. If seeing injustice go unpunished is disturbing to you, then consider yourself forewarned. But theres an added ingredient that made this storyline unsettling for me; Christian bashing.

Joshuas parents have rejected any kind of religious upbringing, claiming they will let their children decide for themselves about church going. The husbands folks are zealous Christians, determined to bring Jesus into their sons home. This, as you can imagine, doesnt sit well with Joshuas Jewish mother. And oh what a tirade she vents upon discovery that her mother-in-law has sneaked Josh off to a religious service.

The mother-in-law is portrayed as good-hearted, but over-zealous in her approach. Even more troubling for this Christian moviegoer was the screening audiences reaction as soon as the woman declared her faith (with clumsy pronouncements and a cardboard-ish portrayal). They began to snicker, the entire theater taken over by an anti-Christian bias. The Christian in the film was portrayed as close-minded. This the audience rallied behind, seemingly glad to see a person of the Christian faith ridiculed on screen. (Why is it that the word phobic is used to point out prejudice, except when that close-mindedness is aimed at the entire Christian community?) I found myself conflicted, with a touch of hostility tempered by a sorrow for those in the audience who seemed to lump the Son of God among his foibled followers. And exactly when did Evangelicals become Americas bad guys?

Preview Reviewer: Phil Boatwright
Fox Searchlight

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: A couple of crude comments coming from a gay character. We see the boy vomit.

Obscene Language: Eleven obscenities (the f- and s-words), some screamed at people; the woman vents an anti-religious rant toward her religious mother-in-law.

Profanity: Just to make sure we understand that the couple has no reverence for or fear of God, His name is followed by a curse several times, as is Christs.

Violence: It is implied that the baby is somehow being abused by Joshua; the mother, nearly out of her mind, steps on a piece of broken glass; we see her pull the shard from her bloodied foot; Joshua causes the death of another character; losing his mind as he discovers his son is evil, the father hits the boy and has to be restrained by others; the family dog is found dead. Blood: A bloodied foot.

Sex: The husband attempts to have sexual relations with his wife, petting her exposed backside.

Nudity: Scanty panties on the wife in one brief scene.

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: None

Drugs: Some drinking.

Other: None

Running Time: 105 minutes
Intended Audience: Adults

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