Liberty Heights

MPAA Rating: R

Entertainment: +3

Content: -3

Set in 1954 Baltimore in the predominantly Jewish neighborhood of Liberty Heights, this fictional story revolves around the three men of the Kurtzman family. Ben (Ben Foster), the younger son, finds himself attracted to a black girl at his newly integrated school. Knowing their parents would forbid them to be friends, they hang out together secretly, developing an appreciation for each other and their own unique cultures. Van (Adrien Brody), is a college student who wants nothing more than to fit in with the rich, Anglo-Saxon crowd. He falls for one of the rich girls, and spends most of his time trying to find ways to date her. Finally theres Nate (Joe Mantegna), the father of Ben and Van. Nate runs an illegal numbers racket with some of his Jewish friends, along with a burlesque house to cover his financial tracks. But when someone wins more money than Nate has on hand, he runs into trouble that could kill him, literally. All three stories are woven together nicely, but Bens is most engrossing and entertaining. Despite being a bit on the long side and slow-paced through the middle, this film should be a winner at the box office.

As it explores changing social and class distinctions in the 50s, the film highlights religious and racial barriers bridged by the Kurtzman men. Ben, a high school senior, is at a very exploratory age, which explains his unique affinity for his black friend. They use their experience together to broaden their perspectives and see a world beyond their own experiences. Van hides his religious heritage to fit someone elses social group. Prejudice runs rampant throughout the film, which seems to be an accurate description of that time period. Many people looked down on anyone who wasnt like them. However, this film also wants the audience to simply remember days gone by. Unfortunately, foul language occurs throughout with 21 s-words and 14 regular profanities. Many of the characters also make sexual comments. Since Nate runs a burlesque, women are shown dancing with very few clothes on and a flash of female rear nudity occurs twice. Obscene language and sexual content drop LIBERTY HEIGHTS below an acceptable rating.

Preview Reviewer: John Adair
Warner Brothers, 4000 Warner Blvd., Burbank, CA 91522

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: Many (25) times - Mild 18, Moderate 7

Obscene Language: Many (40) times - F-word 3, s-word 21, other 16

Profanity: Several (24) times - Regular 14 (JC 1, GD 3, J 6, Swear to G 2, C Sake 1, Oh J 1); Exclamatory 10 (Oh my God, Oh God)

Violence: Once Mild (shoving fight)

Sex: None

Nudity: Twice (brief female rear); Near Nudity Many Times (women in bikinis and bathing suits, women strip dancing in skimpy clothes)

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: Many times (references to sex and unconventional sex, references to genitals and breasts, reference to bestiality)

Drugs: Several times (alcohol, smoking)

Other: Woman vomits; segregation and racism against Jews and Blacks rampant; Scripture quoted; teens try to gain perspective on their world

Running Time: 115 minutes
Intended Audience: adults

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