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Hands of Stone | 2016 | R | - 7.6.10

Based on real events about boxer Roberto Duran and his trainer Ray Arcel: A boxing trainer (Robert De Niro) leaves retirement to coach a rising Panamanian fighter (Edgar Ramirez) during the early 1970s. The boxer is wild, undisciplined, and angry, but his new trainer teaches him the role of strategy and tactics in the ring. Also with Usher Raymond, Ruben Blades, Ellen Barkin, Ana de Armas, Oscar Jaenada and John Turturro. Directed by Jonathan Jakubowicz. Dozens of lines of dialogue are in Spanish and most are accompanied by English subtitles; a few lines are not translated. [1:45]

SEX/NUDITY 7 - Three bedroom scenes include a nude woman straddling a man lying on a bed as she thrusts on top of him (we see her bare back, breasts, abdomen and the top of her thighs); the camera cuts to the couple having sex while sitting in a chair and the woman's bare breasts are shown bouncing along with one of her bare buttocks and thighs (we see the man's bare chest and one lower thigh and leg with the chair obscuring other areas of both parties).
 A woman wears a swimsuit like garment (we see some cleavage and one entire buttock and thighs) and lies on a bed (she first wears a long fur coat, which she removes); a man lies beside her and below the frame and she reaches down (we hear a belt unbuckling), her hand moves rhythmically and he climbs on top of her and between her legs and the scene ends as she laughs (sex is implied).
 A shirtless man kisses a woman several times and she tells him to stop; the camera cuts to the woman on her back on a bed and the man lies between her legs with his trousers pulled down below the buttocks; they kiss and his back and buttocks thrust as the scene ends and the scene resumes with showing the man's face and bare upper chest and the woman's bare shoulders above sheets as they talk. A man lies under a pile of nude women on a low round table and his wife appears, gasping (we see several bare female backs, with one woman slumped back and obscuring most of them, wearing only bikini briefs and we see her bare breasts) and the scene suggests multiple sex partners. A man follows a teenage girl that he does not know, grabs her into an alley and kisses her, asking her to marry him; she calls him crazy and they begin dating and in his apartment he leans her back onto a stair railing, stands between her legs, and kisses her as the scene ends (sex suggested). A man and a woman kiss passionately in two scenes and briefly in three additional scenes. A wife kisses her husband's hand. In each of two scenes, different men kiss their wives in a boxing ring.
 A man and a woman bounce on a bed and he removes her short-shorts and blouse (we see her bra and bikini panties that reveal cleavage, abdomen and thighs), and then removes his own shirt and they take photos of each other.
 A man in a hotel lobby shouts at another man and says he will have sex with the man's wife (using crude terms) and in a later scene he accuses his wife of smiling at the other man.
 A woman wears several sets of tight slacks that accentuate her figure and once wears a corset that reveals cleavage. Two women wearing low-cut gowns reveal cleavage. A woman in bed wears a night gown that reveals some cleavage. A dozen women at a party wear mini-dresses that show bare legs to the top of the thighs; a few of the women have bare arms and some exposed cleavage. A woman wears loose garments that reveal her bare abdomen, lower legs and one bare thigh in a slit or torn skirt. Several training and boxing scenes show shirtless youth and men wearing boxing trunks. In front of a small crowd, a male boxer is nude except for skimpy briefs as he steps onto a scale.


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VIOLENCE/GORE 6 - As school children protest the American presence in Panama in 1964, GIs shoot rubber bullets that strike a young boy climbing a flag pole and he falls into the crowd as an American girl rips up a Panama flag; GIs shoot live ammunition and we see large clouds of smoke as a voiceover says that 48 Americans and over a dozen Panamanians died that day and a young boy runs away from the crowd and a GI shoots a handgun in the air, shouting for him to swim across the Panama Canal.
 A man steals a steak from a café plate and runs along a street, chased by several shouting men; street stalls are overturned and the thief stops, runs across a street and is struck by a large truck (we hear the impact and hear later that the man is dead).
 A fighter slaps his wife off a bed, she falls on the floor and she cuts her hand on some broken glass (she yelps but no blood shows); she takes their children and leaves him.
 Four boxing matches show two men sweating with saliva spewing from their mouths as we hear several loud punches and we see punches land to the face, abdomen and kidney areas, leaving red marks on the back of one man; the punches become louder and we hear what sounds like bones crunching (we see a little blood at one boxer's mouth); spectators shout loudly, cheer and curse, as do the trainers in the ring corners. A boxer is punched many times in the face, causing his eyes to swell with one eye completely shut; he falls straight down onto his buttocks into a corner with his legs straight out, unconscious as the crowd cheers wildly and some dash into the ring raising the winner onto their shoulders. Half a dozen fight scenes focus on the moving feet, shoulders, and faces of the boxers and we see a few flashes of boxing gloves; we hear the impact of punches (we see none of them land), we see sweat and saliva spray from the men's faces as they turn away from the camera and we hear that one match ended in a knockout in just 66 seconds. A boxer in a ring mocks an opponent wearing a kilt, calling it a skirt and laughing madly while during the match, the entourage of the opponent fist fights spectators at ringside (liquids that may be beer spray). A boxing trainer takes a boxer into a prison yard to fight the inmates; the boxer fights an inmate for a few minutes, being slammed into the stone wall and punched, but is able to knock the man to the ground and subdue him (we see a little blood on their faces). Two fight scenes outdoors show two young boys fist fighting for money with a crowd of youth and men around them, cheering. A GI threatens the winning child of a boxing match and tries to take his money, but the child punches the soldier in the groin (the GI falls and groans) and the child ends up in jail with many other young children about ages 8-12.
 A woman sits up on a gurney and screams into the camera, which cuts to a nurse holding a baby; four additional scenes show a man (the father) holding a new baby each time while in between these scenes we see a series of boxing knockouts shown in long shots that feature different opponents as they receive a punch to the jaw and fall on their backs (no injuries are seen).
 Several loud arguments occur between a husband and his wife, between a boxer and his trainer, and between the trainer and a fight manager. A man yells at a young boy in jail and gets him out of jail. A child who fights in street bouts sneers at a professional boxer, cursing him and calling him a coward. A boxer quits a match in an early round and the crowd boos, fans at home watching TV shout and boo and a woman in front of a TV screams, "You quit the fight!" A flashback focuses on a mafia leader in a parked car, threatening a fighter to stop boxing and making so much money; the boxer retires, becomes a trainer and we hear that he was beaten up (a headline states that he had a severe concussion). A flashback shows a mafia leader telling a man to stay out of New York. A mafia leader gives permission to bring a boxer to NYC from Panama and a trainer says, "If he doesn't win, you can shoot me." A wife says to her husband, "These people will kill you." A trainer at a news conference says, "Boxing is show business with blood." A man teaches children to entertain with humor as a distraction to steal food. Young boys who train for boxing shout, "Kill him" several times during informal matches. A man is angry with his father for abandoning him, his mom and his siblings. A man enters a couple's home and announces that the president of the country was killed. In boxing matches, trainers and men in crowds shout, "Kill him" a few times. A GI and a civilian man curse each other. A caption during end credits states that a man lived to be 95, dying of leukemia.
 A GI points a rifle at a civilian man on a street and curses at him and then lowers the rifle. A fighter goes to a manager's house and wrecks a sports car with a ball bat, then throws the bat at the manager on the balcony and it breaks a glass disco ball. A few scenes in a gym feature men punching heavy bags and young boys punching against focus pads held by adults.
 A man and wife receive a call in the middle of the night about an ill daughter, about whom the wife does not know; the camera cuts to the man looking down at the ill woman, who wears an oxygen tube at her nose and has sunken eyes in a sweaty face and we next see her recovered from the unknown illness. We see a flashback of a young boy watching a violent protest. We see several scenes of starving children covered in grime and wearing rags as they search through garbage for food. A boxer helps to carry a large, heavy cross in a "Parade of the Black Christ."


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LANGUAGE 10 - About 50 F-words and its derivatives, 13 scatological terms, 5 anatomical terms, 7 mild obscenities, 1 derogatory term for African-Americans, name-calling (wild, fat, coward, animals, ballerina, clown(s), pretty boy, rich girl, crazy, loco, insane, moron, stupid, loser, old man, macho, tough guy, parasite, punk, hooker, whore, hypocrites, baby, stupid little schmuck, schmuck, schmenge, putz), exclamations (shut up, ack), 2 religious profanities (GD), 37 religious exclamations (e.g. For God's Sake, Oh Jesus, Jeez).


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SUBSTANCE USE - We see men and women at a party drinking short glasses of whiskey as well as bottles of beer and champagne and wine, a man lies drunk on a floor after a party and we see a champagne bottle and several empty beer bottles on a coffee table, two glasses of beer are seen on a bar in front of a man and a woman (they do not drink), two glasses of wine are seen on a table and a male diner takes a sip, a man and a woman at home drink from short glasses of whiskey, a man on an airplane holds two bottles of liquor and drinks from a short glass of whiskey, a woman drinks from a beer bottle beside a home pool, a drunk man staggers and throws a short glass of whiskey at another man in a swimming pool and misses (the glass sinks), a woman drinks from a short glass of whiskey in front of her TV, and angry men throw and break beer bottles against another man's moving car. A woman smokes a cigarette at home and a man smokes a cigarette outdoors.


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DISCUSSION TOPICS - The Panama Canal controversy, anger, poverty, starvation, machismo, boxing as a profession, competition, success, conspicuous consumption, hard work, discipline, determination, courage, truth, relationships, love, jealousy, physical abuse, friendship, respect, making amends, taking responsibility, second chances.

MESSAGE - Courage, determination and mental toughness can overcome a disadvantaged past.

CAVEATS

Be aware that while we do our best to avoid spoilers it is impossible to disguise all details and some may reveal crucial plot elements.

We've gone through several editorial changes since we started covering films in 1992 and older reviews are not as complete & accurate as recent ones; we plan to revisit and correct older reviews as resources and time permits.

Our ratings and reviews are based on the theatrically-released versions of films; on video there are often Unrated, Special, Director's Cut or Extended versions, (usually accurately labelled but sometimes mislabeled) released that contain additional content, which we did not review.


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