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"POWDER"
(1995) (Sean Patrick Flanery, Mary Steenburgen) (PG-13)

Alcohol/
Drugs
Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Frightening/
Tense Scenes
Guns/
Weapons
None None Heavy Moderate Mild
Imitative
Behavior
Jump
Scenes
Music
(Scary/Tense)
Music
(Inappropriate)
Profanity
Mild None Moderate None Moderate
Sex/
Nudity
Smoking Tense Family
Scenes
Topics To
Talk About
Violence
Mild None Mild Mild Mild


QUICK TAKE:
An isolated, yet brilliant, albino teenager is discovered in a basement by a social worker who attempts to introduce him into normal life.
PLOT:
Social worker Jesse Caldwell (MARY STEENBURGEN) and Sheriff Bob Barnum (LANCE HENRIKSON) discover an albino teenager, Jeremy Reed (SEAN PATRICK FLANERY) hidden away in the basement of his recently deceased grandfather's home. The boy, known as "Powder," was raised with little or no contact with the outside world. While apparently socially stunted, his isolation allowed his mind to brilliantly grow and to develop special mental gifts such as telekinesis and the ability to "see into someone" (their feelings, memories of the past, etc...). Jesse, believing she'll be helping the boy, introduces him into the real world which includes an institute for problem boys and then a regular public school. But both are troublesome to Powder as nearly everyone stares and says cruel remarks about his appearance and demeanor. Only the school's physics teacher, Donald Ripley (JEFF GOLDBLUM) and Lindsey, another student, take an interest in Powder and try to understand him. But the hatred and fear of the others elicits just one response in him: to go home.
WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
Maybe. It is a film about a teen, but his appearance might elicit the same response as it does in the movie (ie. "Who'd want to watch a movie about someone like that?").
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: PG-13
For intense, sometimes frightening elements of theme, and for language.
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
  • SEAN PATRICK FLANERY plays the misunderstood teen who'd rather be by himself than to interact with others (since that's the only thing he knows)
  • MARY STEENBURGEN plays the social worker who hopes to "save" Powder, but instead causes him to leave -- forever.
  • LANCE HENRIKSON plays the sheriff who is for the most part sympathetic to Powder and keeps his own bigoted Deputy at bay.
  • JEFF GOLDBLUM plays a teacher who promotes the wonder of science and learning to his students.
  • CAST, CREW, & TECHNICAL INFO

    HOW OTHERS RATED THIS MOVIE


    OUR TAKE: 6 out of 10
    A rather interesting film, Powder comes across as moderately entertaining. Flannery is perfect in the role of the withdrawn but wise teen, and the other actors are okay but not spectacular in their roles. While one wonders how the film will progress and turn out in the end, the movie instead turns into the "Oh no! There's a monster on the loose" meets "Kid gets beat up by group of other kids" story. Still, it has to be said that it's a bit different than the normal Hollywood fare thrown out to us. We give it a 6 out of 10.
    OUR WORD TO PARENTS:
    This film is big on the underdog gets threatened/beaten up/humiliated by a gang of other boys plot. Many mean and cruel things are said to this poor teen, and he's threatened with a gun twice and another time humiliated by having his clothes stripped from him (rear nudity only) and then being thrown into a mud puddle. Otherwise there's no drinking or smoking, and other than the stripping scene, not much in the sex content category. Several of the scenes where Powder gets "charged up" may be scary to kids due to the music played during them as well as the strange goings on. As always, read through the listings before deciding whether this movie is appropriate for your child.

    ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE
  • None.
  • BLOOD/ GORE
  • None.
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • In general, almost everyone has bad, cruel or just plain stupid, insensitive reactions when they see Powder. This includes adults as well as other kids.
  • Barnum, noting his deputy's reaction to Powder being an albino, tells him, "Never thought we'd find anyone too white for you Harley" (meaning that the deputy has racist beliefs).
  • Other teens at a social institution aren't nice to Powder and make comments like "What the hell is that?" and "You look like a vampire from outer space" and "What did they do, kick out you out of cancer camp?" when they first see him.
  • The teens pick on Powder and take away his lunch tray. They then tell him he has to go through an initiation where he can wear a spoon on his nose, or "up his ass."
  • Everyone stares at Powder on his first day at school.
  • Barnum's housekeeper says of Powder, "...the last thing we need up there is another mental defective."
  • Mitch, one of the teens, wonders why Powder isn't off skinny dippy with "the other faggots."
  • The other teens strip Powder of his clothes and then push him into a mud puddle to give him "a little more color."
  • FRIGHTENING/TENSE SCENES
  • A pregnant woman is rushed to the hospital during a thunderstorm and the situation seems dire. Later the waiting husband is told the mother didn't make it.
  • Powder is threatened by other teens and causes some telekinetic movement of silverware in the cafeteria. It begins to rattle and shake and eventually slams together scaring everyone but Powder.
  • In a physics class, a simple electrical demonstration turns scary as a bolt of electricity from a science experiment flows into Powder and then back to the apparatus. It eventually lifts him from the floor and the other students freak out and run. Ripley kills the power and Powder drops to the floor and appears to be having convulsions as smoke rises from his body.
  • There is a flashback scene of Powder's mother, pregnant with him, being struck by lightning while her husband screams out her name in terror.
  • Two other teens find Powder out in the woods. One of them, Mitch, has a rifle and aims it at Powder. After a few tense moments, there's the sound of a gunshot, but it didn't come from Mitch's rifle. They run over and find that the Deputy and other teens have shot a deer and it's still barely alive. Powder goes to it and as the deputy tries to move him away, he grabs the Deputy and makes him feel what the deer is feeling (ie. Death around the corner). The Deputy freaks out and Mitch once again aims his gun at Powder (to make him stop) but has it knocked away just as it discharges.
  • Powder gets mad after the other teens have stripped off his clothes and thrown him into a mud puddle. The electricity in him begins to build and the teens sense it. Suddenly there's an explosion and the teens are knocked down, and Mitch is killed (but later revived by Powder).
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • Rifle: Aimed by a teen at Powder to intimidate him and then fired at him (but the barrel was knocked out of the way just in time).
  • Rifle: Used (but not seen) to kill a deer as the Deputy and some teens hunt.
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • Making fun of others who are different from "the crowd."
  • Running out into thunderstorms (although he's hit by lightning and "disappears," he doesn't seem to be hurt by it).
  • Phrases: "Moron," "Stupid," and "Idiot."
  • JUMP SCENES
  • None.
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • Several of the tense scenes are accompanied by very suspenseful music, occasionally approaching that found in a horror film.
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • None.
  • PROFANITY
  • 1 "f" word, 6 "s" words, 15 hells, 4 "ass" words, 2 damns, 1 SOB, and 9 uses of "God damn," 2 uses each of "For Christ's sake," "Jesus," "Christ," and 1 use each of "What in the name of God," "For God's sake," and "My God," as exclamations.
  • The Deputy says "Are you all out of your mother freaking minds" (instead of using the "f" word).
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • One of the teens says to Powder, "Why don't you go suck your old man some more?"
  • Ripley tells Powder that he's had better sex recently than he's had in years (among other things such as new ideas, greater energy, etc...) after getting an electrical jolt from Powder.
  • There are many shots of Powder naked (rear nudity only) after some other teens have stripped his clothes off him and thrown him into a mud puddle.
  • SMOKING
  • None.
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • A husband is told that his pregnant wife didn't survive the delivery, and that the baby has "complications." When the father sees the baby, he cries out "That's not my son," while an EEG shows abnormally high brain waves.
  • Jesse shows up at the Reed home because the grandfather there has died leaving the mysterious grandson all alone in the world. When she asks Powder why he didn't report the death, he replies that his granddad told him that people would come and see him and then take him away. He then packs a suitcase and leaves the home with Jesse.
  • Barnum's wife has some sort of disease and their adult son visits her but Barnum doesn't speak to him when they pass at the front door. Later Powder helps Barnum communicate with his wife and then watches as the woman finally dies.
  • Powder "sees" that Mitch had an abusive stepfather who beat him regularly.
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • What happened to Powder at the end (where he's struck by lightning and turns into energy and is gone).
  • Treating people poorly just because they look or act differently than others.
  • VIOLENCE
  • The coroner's report states that the dead grandfather has signs that electricity had been run through his body, but that he wasn't electrocuted.
  • Two other teens find Powder out in the woods. One of them, Mitch has a rifle and aims it at Powder. After a few tense moments, there's the sound of a gunshot, but it didn't come from Mitch's rifle. Moments later he holds the rifle on Powder again, but has it knocked away just as it discharges.
  • Powder mentally causes glass to shatter in Jessie's office when he gets mad that they won't let him go home.
  • Lindsey, the only teen to befriend Powder, kisses him and her father sees this. He rushes over and begins yelling and ruffing him up (but is stopped by Jessie).
  • Mitch and other teens gang up on Powder. Mitch tells him "I'm gonna kill you right now" and "I oughta slit your throat" after Powder has "seen" that Mitch had an abusive stepfather. The teens then take Powder outside, strip off all of his clothes and then throw him into a mud puddle. Powder gets really mad and the electricity in him begins to crank up until he finally lets off some sort of explosion that knocks the other teens down and kills Mitch (but later shocks him back to life).
  • To free himself from his earthly body, Powder runs out into a thunderstorm and is struck by a bolt of lightning that won't let go of him. He just turns into energy and is gone.



  • Reviewed August 6, 1996

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