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"SUNDAY"
(1997) (Lisa Harrow, David Suchet) (Not Rated)

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


QUICK TAKE:
Drama: A woman mistakes a man for a famous director and for just one day their bleak lives are brightened by their chance meeting.
PLOT:
Oliver (DAVID SUCHET) is man whose life has hit rock bottom. Formerly married with a good job as an IBM accountant, he's been the victim of downsizing and now lives in a church sponsored homeless shelter in Queens. He can't stand the other men in the shelter and aimlessly walks the streets during the day, looking forward to the only pleasure in his life -- going to sleep. Madeleine Vesey (LISA HARROW) is a struggling middle-aged English actress who also lives in Queens and spends her time collecting old dilapidated furniture and oversized plants. On one Sunday morning their two lives cross as she mistakes Oliver for Matthew Delacarta, a famous art film director she once met. Oliver's not sure what to make of this, but goes along with it, simply for a change in his life. Later, though, he indirectly tries to tell her the truth, but she so strongly believes he's the director, or doesn't want this fantasy to end -- especially after they have a torrid affair -- that he never gets to reveal his true identity. They run into problems, however, when Ben (LARRY PINE), Madeleine's separated husband, gets suspicious of Oliver and begins to make trouble. From that point on, and for the rest of the day, the two must sort out their new, but strange, relationship.
WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
Unless they like art house films, it's highly unlikely.
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: Not Rated
The film wasn't submitted to the MPAA for a rating, but if it had been, it would have received an R rating for profanity, nudity and sexual situations.
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
  • LISA HARROW plays a middle-aged actress who mistakes Oliver for a famous director, and then plays out her own fantasy by sleeping with him on that first day.
  • DAVID SUCHET plays a man whose life has gone down the tubes. He goes along with Madeleine's mistaken/fantasy and has sex with her.
  • CAST, CREW, & TECHNICAL INFO

    HOW OTHERS RATED THIS MOVIE


    OUR TAKE: 7 out of 10
    Winner of this year's Grand Jury Prize for best drama at the Sundance Film Festival, "Sunday" also won the Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award for James Lasdun and director Jonathan Nossiter's script. None of that's surprising after seeing this compelling film that features great writing and witty dialogue. While there's not actually a great deal to the plot, Nossiter and the cast make do with what they have and turn out a great little film. At first, though, I wasn't sure if I was going to like it. It's dark, gritty and grimy, and the characters aren't overly likeable. But once the situation is set up and the words start flowing from their mouths, the bleakness begins to retreat into the background, which also happens to be occurring simultaneously to their characters. Nossiter ends up taking what could have been a truly depressing and bleak look at two down and out people, and turns it into a ray of sunshine for one day. Of course we realize that things won't stay great, and the characters do the same, but we revel, as do they, in this sudden, unexpected turn of events. The director also diffuses some of the bleakness with an always interesting shooting style, and the inclusion of many small vignettes that showcase -- ever so briefly -- little slices of life in Queens. The greatest joy comes from watching Suchet and Harrow in their respective roles. Knowing full well, or at least suspecting, that the other knows of their ruse, these two performers embody memorable characters who want to live life to its fullest -- at least for this one day. The highlight of the film comes early on when Madeleine, having heard that the famed director is a grand storyteller, begs Oliver to entertain her with a yarn. He's caught off guard, but slowly, and then with growing confidence, begins to tell her his own life story, culminating with the truth. Madeleine's refusal to accept that (covered by her stating that those are the types of stories Matthew would tell) and then the telling of her own somewhat truthful story are small marvels of splendid writing and subtle directing. While some audience members may find the story too simple or too bleak to sit through, others will enjoy the many finely detailed nuances the writer, director and cast bring to this film. It took me a while to warm up to the film, but once I did, I thoroughly enjoyed it and thus give "Sunday" a 7 out of 10.
    OUR WORD TO PARENTS:
    Very few kids will want to see this film, but if you or they do, here's a quick synopsis of the material. There are several sexual encounters between a middle-aged man and woman, including a moderate amount of full frontal (male and female) nudity, and one scene that includes some sexual movement. Male masturbation is implied in two scenes, but isn't explicitly seen. Profanity is extreme with more than twenty "f" words and others being uttered (mainly in and by the men in the homeless shelter), but beyond that (and a quick view of a urine stream falling into a toilet), there's very little to object to. Still, you should read through the listings just to make sure for yourself or your children should you or they wish to see this film.

    ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE
  • Madeleine and Oliver drink wine in her home.
  • BLOOD/GORE
  • None.
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • Some may view Oliver's going along with Madeleine's mistake (acting as if he's the director) and not telling her the truth, as having some of both attitudes.
  • Ben immediately tries to sabotage Madeleine's new relationship.
  • An older man at the shelter tells a joke making fun of Jewish people.
  • Some men in the shelter argue about their personal space and later they divvy up Oliver's belongings when he doesn't return that night.
  • FRIGHTENING SCENES
  • There's a very brief scene where Madeleine and Oliver come home to find the shower running. With a little scary music playing, she approaches the shower and yanks back the curtain, but no one's there.
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • None.
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • Phrases: "Balls" (testicles) and "Jerking off" (sexual).
  • Although he didn't initiate it, Oliver does act like he's the director instead of himself.
  • JUMP SCENES
  • None.
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • There's just a minor bit of suspenseful music in a few scenes.
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • None.
  • PROFANITY
  • At least 22 "f" words (2 used sexually and 2 used with "mother"), 8 "s" words, 2 possible slang terms for female genitals (the "p" word), 5 asses (2 used with "hole"), 2 craps, 1 hell, and 3 uses of "For Christ's sakes" and 1 use each of "Jesus," "Jesus Christ," "Christ," "Oh God," "Christ Almighty," "Swear to God," "God," and "G-damn" as exclamations.
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • A man steps out of the shower in the homeless shelter and we briefly see frontal and rear nudity, but it's mainly out of focus.
  • A TV commercial briefly shows a woman (seen from the rear) in what's nearly a thong bikini bottom.
  • Madeleine and Oliver have sex at the top of her stairwell. We hear her occasional moans and see her movement on top of Oliver, but no nudity is seen.
  • After the above, we see Oliver's full frontal nudity.
  • A homeless man appears to be "playing with himself" (with his hand in his pocket) while watching the ladies walk by on the street.
  • Madeleine sees Ben sitting in his underwear watching TV with his hand down his underwear. Madeleine later tells Oliver that this aroused her.
  • Madeleine and Oliver take a shower together (with some brief nudity before they close the curtain).
  • Madeleine walks down the hallway after showering and we see her bare breasts. Later in her bedroom, she lies fully naked (full frontal) on her bed, waiting for Oliver to join her. He never does.
  • SMOKING
  • Ben smokes in a few scenes and a homeless man does in others.
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • Madeleine and Ben are separated, and they have a daughter who appears to live with Ben, but not too much is made of how this affects the daughter.
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • People who live in homeless shelters (ie. Why they are there).
  • VIOLENCE
  • None.



  • Reviewed September 11, 1997

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