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Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood



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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
1 to 10

MPAA Rating: PG-13

A successful young woman (Sandra Bullock) struggles with commitment and motherhood and is determined to blame her confusion on the mother (Ashley Judd, Ellen Burstyn) who abused and abandoned her and her siblings. The Ya-Ya Sisterhood -- three childhood friends (Maggie Smith, Fionnula Flanagan and Shirley Knight) -- comes to the rescue and provides details of her mother's life that shed some light on her motivations and actions. Also with James Garner, Katy Selverstone and Kiersten Warren. [1:28]

SEX/NUDITY 4 - A man and woman kiss romantically, and passionately, in several scenes. A woman makes suggestions and accusations that her daughter has done something inappropriate with her father. Four women are shown in their underwear exposing cleavage, bare shoulders, bare abdomens and bare thighs, and when they go for a drive two of the women remove their bras (we only see their shoulders). A woman wears a slip with lace trim that exposes part of her nipples. A man tries to kiss a woman on the cheek. Three girls take a bath and we see their bare shoulders as they come out and get wrapped in towels. A woman gets out of bed wearing a teddy top and panties and we see her bare thighs. Men and women are shown dancing together in a couple of scenes. We see a nude portrait of a woman and child exposing bare breasts and buttocks. A woman says: "after 20-plus years I found out that my husband was gay," a woman says to her husband: "I don't want you putting your hands on me."

VIOLENCE/GORE 4 - There's an extended scene where three children are struck repeatedly with a belt (one child has bloody spots on the back of her nightgown). A woman overdoses on a drug prescribed by a doctor and we see her convulsing on the floor. We hear that a man is killed in a war and we see his mother's grief played out as she hits her husband and accuses him of killing her son (we hear that the woman committed suicide). Four girls poke their hands with a sharp knife, we see spots of blood on their palms, and a group of women perform the same ceremony. A girl pretends to be drowning and a woman "saves" her by bringing her out of the water and doing mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. Four girls sneak out of their homes at night and into dark woods where they perform a ceremony by a campfire -- during the ceremony they drink "blood" (actually chocolate) from a chalice. A girl takes a swipe at a boy, and two girls throw plates of food at a boy, which hit him in the face. A woman throws a hot skillet into a sink and then throws a glass in the sink. A woman throws a cup and it breaks on the wall near a man, two women bang their telephones on a table and a counter top. People argue violently in a few scenes, a man yells at a woman on the telephone, and two women yell at and threaten each other. A woman is drugged and kidnapped by three women (the drug is referred to as the "date rape drug"). A woman says to her husband and children: "I don't care if you starve to death." A woman is shown using an oxygen tank a few times. A boy is shown with stained pants after he defecates in his bed, a girl vomits on a woman (we see the goo), a boy vomits in a toilet (we hear the gagging), and a woman steps on soiled pants on the floor (we hear the squish and see the goo).

PROFANITY 5 - 3 F-words (one is mouthed), 1 obscene hand gesture, 11 scatological terms, 10 anatomical terms, 17 mild obscenities, 2 derogatory terms for African Americans, 15 religious profanities, 15 religious exclamations. [profanity glossary]

DISCUSSION TOPICS - Corporal punishment, family, friendship, religion, Catholicism, sin, hate, homosexuality, regrets, alcoholism, motherhood, loneliness, guilt, pride, good intentions, taking responsibility, mental breakdowns.

MESSAGE - Don't let love pass you by just because you are afraid. It's never too late to love or be loved.

(Note: People are shown drinking alcohol and smoking cigarettes. One woman is on oxygen and drags a tank around with her -- apparently she smoked a lot in her youth. And, it is mentioned that another woman is a member of Alcoholics Anonymous.)

Special Keywords: S4 - V4 - P5 - 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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