My Son The Fanatic

MPAA Rating: R

Entertainment: +2

Content: -3

Parvez and his devout Muslim wife, Minoo (Gopi Desai), migrated to England 25 years ago from Pakistan. Parvez (Om Puri) drives his taxi in a seedy neighborhood of London. He knows all the bars and all the call girls who frequent them. While he embraces the worldly western culture, Minoo maintains her conservative religious lifestyle. Parvez is crushed when their son, Farid (Akbar Kurtha), breaks his engagement to the chief of polices daughter and announces his plans to pursue the Islamic religion. One night, Parvez befriends and protects prostitute Bettina (Rachel Griffiths) when her dates become abusive. Soon after, a well-to-do German businessman (Stellan Skarsgard) suddenly appears and hires Parvez to arrange parties with prostitutes. As Parvez sinks deeper into this immoral environment, his friendship with Bettina develops into a love affair. This well-acted, low budget film is billed as a comedy because of the sometimes humorous clashing of two cultures. With limited distribution and its untraditional love story, MY SON THE FANATIC is not likely to attract large audiences.

The adulterous relationship between Parvez and Bettina, while treated sympathetically, does have negative consequences. Parvez becomes the subject of ridicule when his affair is exposed, and his son and disgraced wife both reject him. One sex scene shows Bettina and Parvez from the side in a nude embrace. Bawdy scenes of bar dancers wearing only thong bikinis and bare-breasted women soliciting sex on the street are offensive. Bettina does drugs with the German businessman as they cavort in brief underwear which leaves little to the imagination. His crudeness and cruelty include giving Bettina a filthy nickname and leaving bruises on her body. The Germans name, Schitz, becomes a running joke. Farid and his fellow religious zealots set a house of prostitution on fire and start a protest riot. When his father hits him, Farid replies by spitting in his face. Added to all this are 16 obscenities, including 3 f words and 4 s words. There are much better ways to spend valuable time and hard-earned money.

Preview Reviewer: Mary Draughon
Distributor: Miramax Films, 375 Greenwich, NY, NY 10013

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--Moderate 2

Obscene Language: Many (16) times (f word 3, s word 4, other 9)

Profanity: None

Violence: Several timesModerate (bar room brawl, religious zealots set house of prostitution on fire, father hits son, son spits in fathers face, people knocked down, physical abuse implied by bruises)

Sex: Once with side nudity (married man with prostitute); Implied twice (man cavorts with prostitute in bedroom, sounds of sex in backseat of cab)

Nudity: Few times (bare-breasted women standing on street, topless dancers, side view of couple in bed)

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: Several times (man makes crude references to womans anatomy, prostitutes soliciting customers)

Drugs: Several times (alcohol drinking in bars, drunkenness, snorting cocaine)

Other: Running joke about mans name Schitz; negative view of Muslim religion

Running Time: 88 minutes
Intended Audience: Adults

Click HERE for a PRINTER-FRIENDLY version of this review.