Sweet Hereafter, The

MPAA Rating: R

Entertainment: +2 1/2

Content: -3

A snow-covered town in the mountains is devastated by a tragic school bus accident that kills several children. Hoping to assign blame to the bus manufacturer, lawyer Mitchell Stevens (Ian Holm) comes to investigate. While Mitchell tries to sign grieving families as clients, he also fights battles on his home front--his daughter, a drug abuser, lies and steals from him. Mitchell's philosophy is: there are no accidents--it was a bad choice someone made, somewhere down the line. The story parallels the poem "The Pied Piper of Hamlin" which is read several times throughout the film. THE SWEET HEREAFTER is a visually haunting, melancholy tale about parents losing children-- some in a bus accident, one to drugs. But the movie has multiple storylines, and it tells those stories non-sequentially. As a result, it will confuse most viewers.

THE SWEET HEREAFTER gets raves from critics but will probably do very poorly at the box office. Mitchell fans the flames of their anger and greed for his own benefit. One beautiful crippled girl, Nichole, has an implied incestuous relationship with her father, Sam. Although actual incest is never shown, they are seen laying back and gazing into each others' eyes. But their seemingly close relationship is shattered when she goes against his wishes, and he responds out of selfishness. In another sexual encounter, a woman removes her clothes and kisses her lover, revealing full frontal female nudity. Again, sex is implied. The townspeople are angry about the tragedy, and at times they indicate it with foul language. Seven obscenities occur in the dialogue and the Lord's name is taken in vain once. While the title implies there is a heaven, none of the families look to God to find comfort or even to ask why. Unfortunately, while THE SWEET HEREAFTER examines some of the things wrong in our culture, it fails to provide insights into how to correct the problems. Foul language and unnecessary nudity make this unredeeming sad story one discerning viewers will want to skip.

Preview Reviewer: Theresa Zumwalt
Fine Line Features, 888 7th Ave., 20th Floor, New York, NY 10106

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: Few (2) times - Mild 1, Moderate 1

Obscene Language: Several (7) times - (f-word 5, s-word 1, other 1)

Profanity: Once - Regular (GD)

Violence: None

Sex: Twice - implied (father and daughter lay back and gaze into each other's eyes; woman removes clothing and kisses lover)

Nudity: Several times (a mother's breast twice, full female nudity as a woman removes her underwear)

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: Once (married woman refers to her affair with another man)

Drugs: Few times (smoking and drinking, mention of drug abuse)

Other: Incest between father and daughter is implied.

Running Time: 112 minutes
Intended Audience: Adults

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