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House of Sand and Fog | 2003 | R | - 7.6.6

A woman (Jennifer Connelly) is evicted from her home after the county auditor makes an error, claiming that she owes back taxes. Before the legal wheels are set in motion however, an Iranian immigrant (Ben Kingsley) buys the house at auction for a quarter of what it is worth, hoping to sell it and make enough profit to buy a larger home -- like the one he had on the Caspian Sea as a privileged member of the Shah's inner circle. Into the mix comes a police deputy (Ron Eldard) who tries to help the distraught woman, until pride, greed and loneliness turn the whole affair into a horrible muddle. Also with Shohreh Aghdashloo and Kim Dickens. Directed by Vadim Perelman. [2:06]

SEX/NUDITY 7 - A man and a woman kiss, they are shown nude in bed (we see bare buttocks, breasts, backs and legs) caressing each other, kissing and thrusting. A man and a woman kiss, they go into a bedroom and we see them in bed with the man thrusting on top of the woman, and they kiss and moan (we see his bare back and part of his chest). A man and a woman kiss in several scenes. We see the outline of the side of a woman's bare breast in deep shadow. A woman lies nude in a bathtub (we can see her bare breasts through the water) and a woman takes off her top to wash herself and we see her in a sheer bra (nipples can be seen through the fabric). Women wear low-cut dresses in several scenes that reveal cleavage, bare shoulders and backs. A boy pulls his pants down to use the toilet. A woman wears shorts in many scenes exposing bare legs, and a woman's short bathrobe exposes bare thighs. A man takes off his shirt to bathe and we see his bare chest and back. People are shown dancing at a wedding reception.


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VIOLENCE/GORE 6 - A man tapes a plastic bag over his head and we watch him suffocate (he gasps, claws at bed clothing, and then falls limp). A man holds another man by the throat, a boy holds a gun on the man, and the boy is shot in the chest (we see blood on his shirt and see it pouring onto the ground). A woman drinks drugged tea, she falls asleep and dies. A body covered with a very bloody sheet lies in a hospital. A man holds a gun on three people and locks them in a bathroom. A woman steps barefoot on a board with three nails in it, she stumbles to the ground, and pulls the board off of her foot (blood drips onto the ground and covers the bottom of her foot). A woman puts a gun to her chin, then in her mouth and then on her temple trying to kill herself (she fails). A woman takes an overdose of pills, we see her lying motionless in a tub of water, she's pulled out and vomits (we hear gagging). A woman yells at a man, he hits her hard in the face, a boy grabs the man and they fall onto a table and the floor. A man grabs a woman by the arm and shoves her (we see a bruise on her arm later), and a man grabs a woman by the arm and shoves her inside a car while yelling at her. A woman hits a man repeatedly in the head and shoulders. A man verbally threatens a man and his family. A woman says, "they will shoot my children" if they are sent back to Iran. A man talks about a spousal abuse case -- he refers to the woman as being bruised and battered by the man. A boy has very bloody knees and we hear that he fell off his skateboard. A woman yells at a man, and a man throws a vase against a wall. A woman is startled by a man and she screams. A woman is evicted from her home; she appears terrified as men walk through her house posting signs and telling her to be out by the next morning. We see a dead bird floating in the ocean. We hear a woman vomit.


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LANGUAGE 6 - 13 F-words, 1 sexual reference, 5 scatological terms, 1 mild obscenity, 3 religious profanities, 6 religious exclamations.


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SUBSTANCE USE - People are shown drinking alcohol and smoking cigarettes. A character is shown drinking alcohol while driving a car. We are led to believe that a character has had trouble with substance abuse.


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DISCUSSION TOPICS - Iran, the former Shah, relationships, passionless marriages, pride, pretensions, appearances, memories, deportation, assuming the worst of people, cultural differences, substance abuse, greed, respect.

MESSAGE - We should not allow misplaced aspirations and memories of former privilege guide our actions.

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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