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The Shipping News | 2001 | R | - 7.6.5

A widower (Kevin Spacey), burdened with many emotional bruises from his relationship with his deceased wife takes his 6-year-old daughter to Newfoundland hoping to find a new life path. As he struggles to fit in he gets a job as a reporter, meets another single parent (Julianne Moore) and uncovers dark family secrets. Adapted from Annie Proulx's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel. Also with Judi Dench, Scott Glenn, Rhys Ifans, Pete Postlethwaite, Cate Blanchett, Jason Behr, Alyssa Gainer, Kaitlyn Gainer and Lauren Gainer. [1:58]

SEX/NUDITY 7 - A boy rapes his sister; we see the boy push the girl down into a snow bank and he falls on top of her and we hear her screams -- a woman tells us what happened and that she ended up pregnant from the encounter. A man and woman have sex; the woman is on top of the man in her bra and skirt and she thrusts rhythmically. A drunken man tries to force himself on a woman (please see the Violence/Gore category for more details). As a woman dresses we see her in a thong and fishnet stockings which expose her buttocks. A man and woman kiss tenderly a few times, and a man and woman kiss and we see them in bed together from a distance. A woman touches a man's hand and makes a suggestive sexual remark. A man clings onto a woman's thigh and presses his face against her leg. A woman kisses a man on the forehead. A man and woman come into a house drunk and they presumably have sex (nothing is seen) while the woman's husband and daughter are in the next room. There are a couple of scenes of a woman in mini skirts and tight tops which expose her cleavage and thighs. We see a pregnant woman with her bare abdomen exposed.


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VIOLENCE/GORE 6 - We see a boy push his sister down into a snow bank, he falls on top of her and we hear her screams as he rapes her. A car is pulled out of some water; we see a dead man and woman seat-belted into their seats and the woman has a bloody gash on her forehead (there is a discussion of the car having run off a bridge); a man has a dream about the accident scene and the woman being dead but coming back to life. A man comes upon a headless corpse floating in the water, he panics, falls out of his boat, cuts his hand (we see some blood in the water) and floats on a cooler until after dark when he is rescued. When the cooler is opened a severed head rolls out. Another car crash scene shows a car partly submerged with a leg dangling out of the passenger door and a bloody boot on the ground nearby; there is a reference to a man's chest having been crushed and we see a slightly twisted dead moose lying in the street. We see a man's dead body at a wake, and as his friends say a few words the man begins convulsing and sits up (there is a lot of screaming and commotion). There are a few discussions of pirates looting ships and one has a graphic description of a man having been nailed to a tree and having had his nose cut off in order to attract vermin that ate him while alive; a man imagines this scene and we see a man nailed to a tree and he has a bloody hole where his nose used to be. A man imagines another looting scene where the occupants of the ship are beaten and presumably killed; this also shows a woman being slapped around. A man on a pier pushes a young boy into the water; the boy obviously cannot swim, he struggles to stay afloat but ends up sinking to the bottom (the man that the boy grows up to be has frequent flashbacks to this event and has developed a fear of water). There is a reference to a woman having murdered her husband. A drunken man tries to force himself on a woman, she shoves him against a wall, he falls to the floor and passes out. A man and woman argue and the man appears to hit the woman on the back. A man cleans several fish by slitting their bellies; we see the intestines ooze out. A woman dumps a man's ashes into a toilet and then urinates on them. There are several references to people having drowned at sea and one description of a near drowning. We hear a message on an answering machine which suggests that a man and woman are planning to commit suicide, we then see two body bags being loaded into an ambulance and a man carries two urns apparently filled with their ashes. A woman talks about having been pregnant but having gotten rid of the baby. A man chases a man through some dark woods ending at a shack where the man being chased curses and threatens the other man. A young girl punches and yells at her father in frustration. A young girl wakes up at night and sees a shadowy figure of a man and a dog at her window and she screams (she refers to them as ghosts). A young girl pounds a doll with a hammer and pulls its head off. A man and woman appear drunk and they argue bitterly. A group of drunken men shove each other around and then tear a boat apart with hammers and saws. A man vomits loudly. There is a discussion of a ship having pounded other ships to rubble. There is a description of the ingredients of seal flipper pie being the slimy knuckle part of the flipper, and after a man takes a bite of some he spits it out. A house lashed to the ground makes eerie moaning and whining noises when the wind blows, and in one scene the house pulls against the ropes and begins to pull apart.


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LANGUAGE 5 - 3 F-words, 3 scatological terms, 1 anatomical term, 3 sexual references, 3 mild obscenities, 3 religious profanities, 14 religious exclamations and some insults.


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SUBSTANCE USE - A man and woman are shown stumbling into a house apparently drunk, a group of men drink alcohol and appear inebriated, and another couple appear drunk. People are shown smoking and drinking.


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DISCUSSION TOPICS - Incest, rape, being boring, black market adoption, death of a spouse, mother or significant other, journalism, humiliation, Leukemia, homosexuality, infidelity.

MESSAGE - We must face our fears. Skeletons can indeed be found in many closets.

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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