An American Rhapsody

 
 

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ASSIGNED NUMBERS

Unlike the MPAA we do not assign one inscrutable rating based on age, but 3 objective ratings for SEX/NUDITY, VIOLENCE/GORE and PROFANITY on a scale of 0 to 10, from lowest to highest, depending on quantity and context.

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Sex & Nudity
Violence & Gore
Profanity
1 to 10

MPAA Rating: PG-13

The film is autobiographical, based on the life of writer-director Éva Gardos: During the coldest days of the Cold War, a Hungarian family sacrifices everything to escape to America. The parents (Nastassja Kinski and Tony Goldwyn) reluctantly leave their infant daughter behind, believing they'll be reunited soon. But it takes six years, and the young girl grows into a rebellious teenager (Scarlett Johansson) frustrated by the unanswered questions about her early years spent in Hungary. So back she goes, crossing the border once again, on her own terms, to resolve her past. Also with Mae Whitman, Kelly Endresz-Banlaki and Agi Banfalvy. The early scenes in Hungary are subtitled in English. [1:46]

SEX/NUDITY 3 - A young man and woman kiss passionately a few times. A couple is seen kissing in a park. A man kisses a woman forcibly. A man and woman kiss briefly a few times. A soldier touches a woman's face suggestively (she is visibly repulsed). There are some sexual allusions regarding what young people are doing and how they might ruin their lives. A man and woman undress to change into peasant clothing (we see the woman in a slip). We see a young girl nude as she steps out of a bathtub.

VIOLENCE/GORE 4 - Two men are shown being hanged, with nooses wrapped around their necks (this is in newsreel-type footage). A man is shot by a soldier; the man falls dead on top of his daughter and she screams. A young woman loads a gun and shoots through a door; her mother is on the other side of the door screaming. A woman kills a chicken with a knife and we see the blood draining into a pan. A group climbs under a barb-wire fence and a woman's hair gets caught; a man cuts it loose with a knife. A woman hits her husband with some roses and yells at him. A woman and her daughter argue loudly and abusively several times. A woman grabs her daughter's arm forcefully and pulls her away from a young man. A woman describes giving babies pills to make them sleep and putting them in a sack in order to smuggle them out of Hungary. A man describes what guards will do if they catch them trying to escape. A young girl nearly steps on a land mine. There is a tense scene when a family is on a train (they are trying not to be noticed) with armed soldiers. There are a few scenes which are newsreel-type footage of armies marching through cities and prisoners marching in prison camps. A woman is lead out of her house by military police and we see and hear that she has been placed in jail (we see scenes of the dark, dirty and dank prison also). A young girl gets lost trying to find her house and we see her beginning to panic. A woman literally locks her daughter in her room with bolts on her door and bars on her windows.

PROFANITY 3 - 3 scatological terms, 1 religious exclamation. [profanity glossary]

DISCUSSION TOPICS - Cold War, Stalin, occupation, the secret police, trust, truth and honesty, heartbreak, longing, feeling like you don't belong anywhere, promises, gypsies, running away, siblings.

MESSAGE - We make mistakes out of love. Starting over is not easy. We are who we are because of our past.

(Note: A group of young people are seen drinking alcohol and smoking several times.)

Special Keywords: S3 - V4 - P3 - MPAAPG-13

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A CAVEAT: We've gone through several editorial changes since we started covering films in 1992 and some of our early standards were not as stringent as they are now. We therefore need to revisit many older reviews, especially those written prior to 1998 or so; please keep this in mind if you're consulting a review from that period. While we plan to revisit and correct older reviews our resources are limited and it is a slow, time-consuming process.




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