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Where the Heart Is



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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

Based on a novel by Billie Letts, a pregnant 17-year-old (Natalie Portman) abandoned by her boyfriend at a Wal-Mart makes a new life for herself in rural Oklahoma. Also with Ashley Judd, Stockard Channing, James Frain, Joan Cusack, Dylan Bruno, Sally Field, Keith David, Richard Jones, Mackenzie Fitzgerald, Camryn Callaway and Shelby Callaway. [1:58]

SEX/NUDITY 4 - Many instances of sexual innuendo (including a reference to fellatio) and some kissing. We briefly see a clothed man and a woman kiss passionately and grope each other. A man blows air-kisses at another man during a prison scene. A man and woman kiss, and we see their faces and a little bit of their bare shoulders as they presumably have intercourse; we also see their bare backs as they're lying in bed, post-coitus. A woman tells another about discovering a man sexually abusing a couple of children; the scene is intense, but she doesn't use graphic language or descriptions. It's implied a man puts a roll of quarters in the front of his pants (we see a close-up of his bulging crotch). Also a boy puts money down the front of his pants and it's implied a girl is going to reach for it before they're interrupted. A boy playfully swats a girl's buttocks. We see a few women in cleavage and midriff-revealing shirts.

VIOLENCE/GORE 3 - Someone falls onto a train track, gets a bloody facial cut, and is presumably hit by an oncoming train (we don't see the impact); in a later scene we see the person lying in a hospital bed with partially amputated legs covered with a sheet. During a tornado, a woman and a girl are nearly sucked out of a cellar (some objects in the cellar do fly out the door) and a woman is nearly hit in the head with a flying object; after the tornado, we see many destroyed houses and learn someone died. In a bar scene, people punch and hit each other with bottles, then throw bottles at band members; one of the band members is hit with a chair and knocked to the floor (the scene is played for laughs). A man throws an object at another's head, then they scuffle and punch each other (also played for laughs). A woman throws a drink at a man's head, squeezes his crotch and then punches him. A couple of shoves; a man is pushed onto the hood of a car and handcuffed. A man jumps through a plate-glass window. A pregnant girl's water breaks (we see a puddle around her feet), then she holds her stomach, falls on the floor and screams in pain. We hear things being thrown and broken, then see a man helping a dazed, ill-looking woman get back into her bed. Reckless driving; cars nearly hit each other. We see a sheet-covered body being wheeled out of a house. We see a dazed woman with bloody cuts on her face, and in a later scene her face is still bruised (it's implied a man beat her).

PROFANITY 5 - One F-word and one derivation, some anatomical references and slang terms, several scatological references, lots of mild obscenities and an insult. [profanity glossary]

DISCUSSION TOPICS - Teen pregnancy, abandonment, sexual abuse of children, kidnapping, falling in love, religious devotion and fanaticism, drunkenness, reaching out to strangers, searching for Mr. Right, coming of age.

MESSAGE - You can overcome a dysfunctional past. You can't let fear and self-doubt stop you from pursuing the life you want.

Special Keywords: S4 - V3 - 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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