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"COSI"
(1996) (Ben Mendelsohn, Barry Otto) (R)

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


QUICK TAKE:
Comedy: An unemployed young man takes a job directing an opera at a mental asylum.
PLOT:
Lewis (BEN MENDELSOHN), an unemployed young man, takes a job at a mental asylum to direct a play as therapy for the patients. His girlfriend, Lucy (RACHEL GRIFFITHS), thinks it's great that he's finally got a job, while his friend, Nick (ADEN YOUNG), thinks it's a laughable proposition. Nick thinks it's even funnier when he hears that the "leader" of the patients, Roy (BARRY OTTO), wants to stage Mozart's opera, "Cosi Fan Tutte." They hold auditions and Lewis meets an assortment of patients: Doug (DAVID WENHAM), a pyromaniac; Cherry (JACKI WEAVER), an older woman who has a crush on Lewis; Ruth (PAMELA RABE), a tall shy woman; Henry (PAUL CHUBB), a gentle giant; and Julie (TONI COLLETTE), a young woman whose parents placed her in the institution. After Doug burns down their theater and the project is canceled, Lewis and the others work in secret to bring the opera to the stage.
WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
Probably not. None of the actors are known well enough outside of Australia and the plot simply won't be interesting to most kids.
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: R
For language.
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
  • BEN MENDELSOHN plays a man, who despite having problems at times dealing with the patients, works hard to stage this production.
  • DAVID WENHAM plays a pyromaniac who reportedly set several cats on fire in the past and burns down the theater building in the present.
  • ADEN YOUNG plays Lewis' friend who steals away his girlfriend.
  • CAST, CREW, & TECHNICAL INFO

    HOW OTHERS RATED THIS MOVIE


    OUR TAKE: 6.5 out of 10
    This is an interesting and often amusing production starring many of Australia's leading performers. Finding humor in what can be viewed as a serious or even tragic circumstance is often difficult, but director Mark Joffe doesn't poke fun at the mentally ill. Instead, he shows that they and their lives can have humorous moments and it's many of those that brighten what easily could have been a sad and dark tale. The movie's serious side falls upon the subplot of infidelity that nicely mirrors the plot of the stage play they're producing. The performances are first-rate all around and while the plot doesn't offer any big moments or surprises, it does showcase many little character nuances and brings about a smile as their opera finally makes it to the stage. Though certainly not a tremendous film, it does, however, create memorable characters in this original, enjoyable production. We give it a 6.5 out of 10.
    OUR WORD TO PARENTS:
    Language gives this movie its R rating and there are 20 "f" words sprinkled throughout. There are also a few sexual references, but nothing that's too bad. We should caution parents about a scene where one character talks about having set several cats on fire. This obviously leads to the heart of this story mental illness a good topic to discuss with kids. A character is also semi-suicidal and shows how to slit one's wrists correctly. Although it's doubtful most kids will want to see this, we suggest that you read through the scene listings before they do.

    ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE
  • Lewis and Nick drink beer and appear to have had quite a few in one scene.
  • Julie says she should be in rehab and not a mental hospital (for drug use, though none is seen).
  • Lucy pours wine for dinner, but Lewis and Nick leave before they consume any.
  • BLOOD/GORE
  • Nick acts in the play, "Diary of a Madman" and in it he has a little bit of fake blood on him.
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • Nick asks Lewis how it is working with "loonies."
  • One of the hospital staff refers to a woman as a "dyke."
  • Nick states that all women "run around" (have affairs) they just hide it unlike men who flaunt it. Nick and Lewis then place a bet on whether Lucy will remain true to her love, and Nick actively works to make sure she doesn't. At the same time, Lewis develops feelings for Julie.
  • FRIGHTENING SCENES
  • None.
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • None.
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • Phrases: "Bitch," "Shut up," "Blubber face," "Go burn a cat," "Piss off," "Dyke," "Loonies," "Bastards," "Whores," and "Sucks."
  • Lucy sprays water on Lewis from a garden hose.
  • A patient has a deflated balloon up through his nose and down and out through his mouth.
  • Doug tells the story about when he was younger and was mad at his mother. He then gathered up five cats, poured petrol (gas) on them, and set them on fire.
  • Doug flicks cigarette ashes on Lewis and at other times throws matches at people.
  • Doug sets fire to a trash can, and later is responsible for burning down the theater building.
  • Ruth tells Lewis how to slit one's wrists correctly (up the veins and not across). Later, Ruth is ready to slice open her own wrists, but Lewis stops her.
  • Doug gives "the finger" to the cast members in the play.
  • JUMP SCENES
  • None.
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • None.
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • None.
  • PROFANITY
  • 20 "f" words (4 used sexually, 1 with the prefix "mother"), 7 "s" words, 2 terms for sex ("screwing"), 1 slang term for both male and female genitals (the "d" and "p" words), 3 "ass" words, 1 crap, 1 damn, 1 hell, and 3 uses of "Jesus," 2 uses of "My God" and 1 use each of "Christ" and "God" as exclamations.
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • A patient asks Lewis, "Do you get to "f" the actresses?"
  • Another patient does his rendition of a rap song and sings the lines, "Suck my d*ck," "Let's do it doggy style," and "I'm gonna hump my bitch."
  • Doug asks Lewis if Lucy "was a virgin when you did her."
  • We occasionally see Lewis and Lucy in bed, but nothing sexual occurs and no nudity is seen.
  • Ruth says she had sex with a man and then states that "men like sex because they don't have to clean up the mess."
  • There's a line in the play, "Men just want to hop into your pants."
  • Lewis asks Lucy if she's having sex with Nick, which she denies.
  • SMOKING
  • Various patients smoke, as does Nick and a hospital administrator.
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • None.
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • Mental illness.
  • VIOLENCE
  • Cherry attacks a piano playing patient for playing too slow.
  • Roy and Doug fight (wrestling).
  • Roy trips Henry who later trips him back.
  • Doug tells the story about when he was younger and was mad at his mother. He then gathered up five cats, poured petrol (gas) on them, and set them on fire.
  • Doug flicks cigarette ashes on Lewis and at other times throws matches at people.
  • Doug sets fire to a trash can, and later is responsible for burning down the theater building.
  • Roy repeatedly slams his head onto a table.
  • Nick acts in the play, "Diary of a Madman" and in it, he has a little bit of fake blood on him. A nurse character then comes out, grabs his head and shoots him with a handgun and the play ends.
  • Cherry smacks Julie to get her out of bed.
  • Cherry tells Julie (after she's kissed Lewis), "Kiss him again and I'll break your f*cking arm."
  • Henry grabs Nick and squeezes him after talk of the play discusses women being unfaithful.
  • Doug breaks into Lucy's house, throws a match at Nick and says he's there to kill Lewis (although he never does anything).
  • Ruth is ready to slice open her own wrists, but Lewis stops her.
  • Lewis and Roy are accidentally shocked during the performance.
  • Julie hooks up Cherry on a hook that sends her flying over the audience. She then crashes to the floor, but is okay.



  • Reviewed January 24, 1997

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