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Storytelling | 2002 | R | - 9.4.8

A dark and somber two-part tale by director Todd Solondz: The first part, titled "Fiction," stars Selma Blair as a confused college student who tries to rationalize her affair with a professor. The second part, titled "Non-Fiction," stars Paul Giamatti as a wannabe documentarian who points his camera at a troubled teenager and his family (John Goodman and Julie Hagerty play the teen's parents). Also with Leo Fitzpatrick, Robert Wisdom and Maria Thayer. [1:24]

SEX/NUDITY 9 - An older man lies across a bed and tells a young woman to remove her clothes (we see her nude from the side), turn around and bend over; the man approaches her, we hear him unzip his pants and he penetrates her from behind. The screen is covered by a digitally-produced red square during the actual sex act, but we hear everything and we see the participants in close up from the side a few times, with the man thrusting and the young woman jerking with her hands on the wall. A young man tells another young man that he "likes him" and it is suggested that a sex act is performed when one young man lies back on a bed, the other young man approaches him and we hear his pants unzip. We see many photographs of a fully nude woman in different positions (exposing all parts of her anatomy). A woman moves rhythmically and moans while straddling a man (she is nude and we see her bare breasts from the side and later from the front as she dresses). An older man touches a young woman's hand and face.


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VIOLENCE/GORE 4 - An older African-American man tells a young woman to repeat racist slurs while having sex with her. Two young men look at a gun and one of them holds the gun to his head and then points it at the other young man. A woman turns on the gas and covers the doors in a house while four people sleep inside; we see body bags being loaded onto ambulances later. A woman talks about her grandchild having been executed with poison gas. A young man is tackled in a football practice and he is shown in a coma on a ventilator. A young man imagines his parents screaming while being burned at the stake. A professor berates a student for bad writing, a man yells at his son and is physically threatening, and a coach yells at his players. Two boys hit each other a couple of times. A boy says that his reclusive brother could be dead or building a bomb. A man urinates in a restroom (we hear a trickle).


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LANGUAGE 8 - 25 F-words, 10 scatological terms, 2 sexual references, 4 anatomical terms, 6 mild obscenities, 12 derogatory terms for African-Americans, 1 derogatory term for a handicapped person, 1 religious profanity, 3 religious exclamations and some name-calling.


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SUBSTANCE USE - People are shown drinking alcohol and smoking in a bar, and a young man is shown smoking and eating marijuana.


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DISCUSSION TOPICS - Racism, pity, kinkiness, cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, rape, homosexuality, taboos, troubled teens, heaven, hell, angels, the Holocaust, suicide, disillusionment, despair, humiliation, sex between professors and students.

MESSAGE - Life isn't fair.

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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