English Patient, The

MPAA Rating: R

Entertainment: +3

Content: -2 1/2

Who is this patient, burned beyond recognition in a plane crash in the Sahara Desert? It's 1944 and Canadian Army nurse Hana (Juliette Binoche) only knows that he has been pulled from the crash and transported by camel to a Red Cross field hospital. As a convoy moves the wounded out, Hana stays behind and tends to the dying burn victim at an abandoned Italian monastery. Gradually his mysterious past unfolds through flashbacks. He is Hungarian Count Laszlo de Almasy (Ralph Fiennes), a multi-lingual map maker. Since just before World War II broke out, the intense, intellectual Count had worked with an expedition exploring the desert mountains. Among his co-workers is a sophisticated English couple, Jeffrey (Colin Firth) and Katherine Clifton (Kristin Scott-Thomas). It's not long before the Count and Katherine are drawn into a torrid love affair. Intermittently we are brought back to the present, where lonely but cheerful Hana makes her patient as comfortable as possible. THE ENGLISH PATIENT may try viewers' patience because of its length. However, it will appeal to those who enjoy tragic, poetic romance, beautiful desert scenery and outstanding acting.

With editing, the early gruesome views of the Count's fresh and hideous burns could have been omitted. Also, we could have learned about a spy's thumbs being cut off without watching the prolonged, tortuous procedure. Equally graphic and unnecessary are a few very passionate love scenes between Katherine and the Count, plus a sequence of the lovers in a bathtub with full frontal female nudity shown. Their adulterous affair is not condoned, but it is the central theme of the story. Both parties suffer because of their uncontrollable desires, which eventually destroys them both. Nurse Hana becomes sexually involved with a Hindu mine expert, with sex implied. Hana's willingness to sacrifice comfort and safety to give the Count a few last weeks of peace is heroic. Her weakness proves to be administering an overdose of morphine at his insistence. Several obscenities and two regular profanities contribute nothing to the plot. The sex, nudity, language and violence in THE ENGLISH PATIENT detract from an intriguing tale.

Preview Reviewer: Mary Draughon
Miramax Films, 18 E. 48th St., New York, NY 10017

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 (3) times - Mild 1, Moderate 2

Obscene Language: Several (5) times - F-word 4, s-word 1

Profanity: Several (5) times - Regular 2 (J/C), Exclamatory 3

Violence: Several times - Moderate and Severe (man horribly burned in plane crash, man's thumb cut off, pilot killed in crash, several killed by exploding mines, slapping, guard beaten and strangled)

Sex: Few times (graphic with breast nudity, implied few times)

Nudity: Few times (full frontal female nudity once, breast nudity three times)

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: Passionate kissing, fondling

Drugs: Man steals morphine to inject in vein; nurse helps patient die with overdose

Other: Adultery leads to tragedy

Running Time: Unknown
Intended Audience: Adults

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