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"THE RICH MAN'S WIFE"
(1996) (Halle Berry, Peter Green) (R)

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


QUICK TAKE:
Suspense/Thriller: The wife of a murdered wealthy man finds herself the focus of a police investigation, as well as a blackmailing scheme created by the murderer himself.
PLOT:
Josie Potenza (HALLE BERRY) is married to Tony (CHRISTOPHER McDONALD), a hard drinking, womanizing, and filthy rich man. Their marriage isn't great and both of them are having affairs, she with Jake Golden (CLIVE OWEN), a local restauranteur. Josie, however, wants to make things right and suggests they take a vacation together. But Tony can't stand being there and returns home, leaving his wife to meet Cole Wilson (PETER GREENE), a mysterious man who helps fix her broken down car. He soon learns of her marital unhappiness and suggests that he kill Tony, thus allowing her to collect his estate. She wants no part of that but doesn't understand that the die has already been cast. Cole kills Tony and then decides to blackmail Josie as being the brains behind the crime. To complicate matters, it turns out Jake knows Cole. And to make bad matters worse, the police believe Josie's involved with the crime. Thus, she must work to clear her name as well as deal with the ever dangerous Cole.
WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
Probably not, unless they're fans of the murder mystery genre.
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: R
For strong violence and language.
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
  • HALLE BERRYplays the innocent victim in all of this (or so you might think), but she is having an affair, she smokes and drinks and it's said that she was a high school drop out and a run away.
  • CHRISTOPHER McDONALD plays the hard drinking, womanizing husband who treats his wife like dirt, and when he finally comes around, gets killed.
  • PETER GREENE plays the violent and mean spirited killer. Obviously he's not a good role model.
  • CAST, CREW, & TECHNICAL INFO

    HOW OTHERS RATED THIS MOVIE


    OUR TAKE: 3 out of 10
    The biggest problem with this movie is that it can't decide if it wants to be a serious thriller or a camp film. We tend to think it falls into the later category, although we're not certain if that's exactly what the film makers had in mind. Taken as camp, it's sometimes amusing, especially as the secondary characters get to chew up the scenery with the best of them. As a thriller, it just doesn't work and is very predictable (The jump scenes are telegraphed from such a distance that only the oblivious won't see them coming). The acting is pretty bad, the story is flat and we give this a 3 out of 10 only because of the few campy scenes that are fun to watch.
    OUR WORD TO PARENTS:
    This is a rather violent film that at times contains suspense scenes similar to those usually found in a horror film. There are few positive role models and, in our view, this film probably shouldn't be seen by younger kids. That determination, however, rests in your hands and thus you should read through the category listings before deciding whether this film is appropriate for your kids.

    ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE
  • Tony is often seen drinking and Josie mentions that he can mean when he drinks.
  • Tony drinks himself to sleep on their vacation.
  • Josie goes to a bar several times and drinks and smokes as do others.
  • People drink champagne at Tony's birthday party.
  • BLOOD/ GORE
  • Tony's face is very bloody and as he's shot again and again, he gets more and more bloody.
  • To show how tough he is to Jake, Cole takes a knife and slices open the palm of his hand and then laps up the blood with his tongue.
  • Jake bleeds after having been shot and blood is seen pouring from his ear.
  • Cole bleeds from the many wounds that Josie inflicts on him at the end of the movie.
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • Obviously all of the people involved in the murder have bad attitudes (including Cole, Jake and evidently Josie).
  • Both Tony and Josie are having affairs and she's seen kissing Jake, and later, suggestively dancing with Cole.
  • Tony blows his lid over Josie not having the keys to the gate at their vacation cottage (not her fault).
  • Cole gets Josie to admit that sometimes she does hate Tony and that yes, she s wished he was dead.
  • Cole tells Josie that he'll kill Tony for her.
  • It turns out Jake hired Cole to murder Tony so that he could have Josie all to himself.
  • At the end it turns out Josie was involved with the murder in one way or another (and thus isn't the innocent person we thought she was).
  • FRIGHTENING/TENSE SCENES
  • Josie's car breaks down in the woods and she begins to walk to her cottage when a truck shows up, blinding her with its lights and a strange man, Cole, appears and confronts her.
  • Cole drives like a madman through the woods at night without headlights as he tries (and succeeds) at scaring Josie. When he finally takes her back to his cottage he pins her to the picnic table (saying "I know what you want") but she fights him off and rushes inside. He follows her, but she grabs a gun and fires it at him when he approaches. The shot nicks his face, and he leaves.
  • Cole suddenly sits up in the back seat of Tony's car (when we think that he's actually in the car behind him) and holds a gun to his head. Moments later, he hits Tony on the head and then gets him to pull over in a deserted playground. There he shoots Tony in the face. There's lots of blood and Cole tries to finish him off, but the gun jams. Tony rushes him and knocks him down and this continues until Cole wounds him some more and finally shoots him dead after a long chase and shoot scene (which includes Cole taunting and kicking him on the ground).
  • Josie goes to give Cole blackmail money and meets him in a park tunnel late at night. She meets him and pulls out a gun, but he knocks it aside. When some local boys come by, he shoots at them and they run off. Josie then hits him in the crotch and over the head and then runs the other way as Cole fires his gun at her, but misses. He then chases her onto the freeway, where she manages to make it across, but he's nearly hit several times.
  • Josie tries to call the police from home but the phones and then the lights go dead. Jake surprises her at the sliding glass door but is then shot and blood pours from his ear. Another shot sends him crashing through the door.
  • Then it's cat and mouse time as Cole enters the house and Josie must hide from him. He eventually leaves and she goes to the garage to get the car to drive away. But she can't find the right keys and he then comes crashing through the garage skylight. They struggle and he throws her up against the wall and then holds a gun to her head. She slams a hatchet into his back and then punches, kicks and beats him up. She then shoots him in the arm, beats him up a little more and then finally shoots him dead.
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • Handguns: Used to inflict injury or death. See "Violence" for details.
  • Josie finds a gun in their cottage and "plays" with it, aiming the gun around the room.
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • Josie was a runaway and dropped out of high school.
  • Phrases: "Piss me off," "Shmuck," "Shut up," and "Bitch."
  • Cole drives like a madman through the woods at night without headlights as he tries (and succeeds) at scaring Josie.
  • To show how tough he is to Jake, Cole takes a knife and slices open the palm of his hand and then laps up the blood with his tongue.
  • JUMP SCENES
  • Cole suddenly sits up in the back seat of Tony's car (when we think that he's actually in the car behind him) and holds a gun to his head.
  • Josie hears someone inside the house and suddenly Cole grabs her and tells her what he's done.
  • Jake surprises Josie at her sliding glass door and then is shot and blood pours from his ear. Another shot sends him crashing through the door.
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • The movie is chock full of both suspenseful and scary music, much in the way a horror film is.
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • None.
  • PROFANITY
  • 24 "f" words, 12 "s" words, 6 damns, 5 hells, 4 "ass" words, 3 uses of "screw" (meaning sex), 2 SOB's, 1 crap and 9 uses of "God damn," 4 uses of "Oh my God," 2 uses of "Jesus Christ," and 1 use each of "Christ," "Jesus," and "For Christ's sake" as exclamations.
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • Josie suggestively dances with Cole.
  • Cole tells Josie, "When a woman doesn't want to make love, she'll tell you about her life."
  • He tells her his blackmail story which includes them making love at the cabin while plotting the murder.
  • Cole says he could smell that Josie wanted to have sex with him.
  • Nora shows the police several Polaroid shots of Josie that were in Jake's car. They show her on a bed, with only a sheet partially covering her. Part of her breasts and butt can be seen.
  • SMOKING
  • Josie goes to a bar several times and drinks and smokes as do others.
  • One of the detectives smokes.
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • Josie and Tony have marital problems and both are having affairs.
  • Josie is seen with Tony in his casket at the funeral.
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • Murder.
  • VIOLENCE
  • Cole drives like a madman through the woods at night without headlights as he tries (and succeeds) at scaring Josie. When he finally takes her back to his cottage, he pins her to the picnic table (saying "I know what you want") but she fights him off and rushes inside. He follows her, but she grabs a gun and fires it at him when he approaches. The shot nicks his face, and he leaves.
  • Cole suddenly sits up in the back seat of Tony's car (when we think that he's actually in the car behind him) and holds a gun to his head. Moments later, he hits Tony on the head and then gets him to pull over in a deserted playground. There he shoots Tony in the face. There's lots of blood and Cole tries to finish him off, but the gun jams. Tony rushes him and knocks him down and this continues until Cole wounds him some more and finally shoots him dead after a long chase and shoot scene (which includes Cole taunting and kicking him on the ground).
  • To show how tough he is to Jake, Cole takes a knife and slices open the palm of his hand and then laps up the blood with his tongue.
  • Jake tries to hit Cole (because he said he could smell that Josie wanted to have sex with him), but Cole gives him quite a beating.
  • Josie goes to give Cole blackmail money and meets him in a park tunnel late at night. She meets him and pulls out a gun, but he knocks it aside. When some local boys come by, he shoots at them and they run off. Josie then hits him in the crotch and over the head and then runs the other way as Cole fires his gun at her, but misses. He then chases her onto the freeway, where she manages to make it across, but he's nearly hit several times.
  • It's said that Cole was convicted for the bludgeoning death of his ex-wife.
  • Josie tries to call the police from home but the phones and then the lights go dead.
  • Josie tries to call the police from home but the phones and then the lights go dead. Jake surprises her at the sliding glass door but is then shot and blood pours from his ear. Another shot sends him crashing through the door.
  • Then it's cat and mouse time as Cole enters the house and Josie must hide from him. He eventually leaves and she goes to the garage to get the car to drive away. But she can't find the right keys and he then comes crashing through the garage skylight. They struggle and he throws her up against the wall and then holds a gun to her head. She slams a hatchet into his back and then punches, kicks and beats him up. She then shoots him in the arm, beats him up a little more and then finally shoots him dead.



  • Reviewed September 9, 1996

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