[Screen It]


(1999) (Sarah Polley, Stephen Rea) (R)

Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Tense Scenes
Heavy Minor Extreme Minor None
Mild None Minor None Extreme
Smoking Tense Family
Topics To
Talk About
Extreme Heavy Moderate Moderate Minor

Drama: An insecure young woman enters into a romantic/apprentice relationship with a seasoned photographer, who's more than old enough to be her father, and learns a thing or two about life and love.
Harper Sloane (SARAH POLLEY) is a twenty-year-old, insecure woman who's set to attend Harvard, thus following in the footsteps of her family of lawyers, including mother Deborah (JEAN SMART), father Alan (FRANCIS GUINAN), and sister Susan (EMILY PROCTER).

Yet Harper doesn't feel as if she fits in, so when she meets Cornelius "Connie" Fitzpatrick (STEPHEN REA), the middle-aged photographer working at Susan's wedding, she's swept away by his laid back, self-assured ways and the fact that he doesn't treat her like an inferior.

When Harper visits Connie's office/loft apartment to pick up the wedding photos, he immediately sizes her up and sets out to lure her into his life, slowly but surely. With such low self esteem, she obviously falls for him rather quickly, and lying to her mother that she's moving in with her best friend, Patty (CARRIE PRESTON), instead moves in with Connie. With the only condition being that she pursue some creative endeavor in exchange for staying at his place, the two quickly begin a passionate romance, with her also serving as his photography apprentice.

She soon meets Connie's friends who occasionally meet to discuss philosophical matters. Among them is heavy drinker Zack (TRACY LETTS), as well as Billy (GINA GERSHON), an artist who later informs Harper that she -- like Billy before her -- is just one in a long line of young women to fall for Connie, who gives all of his paramours the nickname, "Guinevere."

As their relationship progresses and goes through its share of ups and downs, Harper must decide how to proceed, especially when everyone from Patty to her mother question the huge age difference between the two lovers.

Unless they're fans of someone in the cast, it's not very likely.
For strong language and sexuality.
  • STEPHEN REA plays a professional but bohemian-style photographer with a penchant for luring in young women to become his lovers. While he does push them to cultivate their creativity, he also sleeps with them, uses strong profanity, and smokes and drinks a great deal.
  • SARAH POLLEY plays one of those young and initially insecure young women who ends up moving in with Connie and having sex with him. She also uses strong profanity.
  • JEAN SMART plays her aristocratic mother who isn't close to her daughter and uses strong profanity.
  • GINA GERSHON plays one of Connie's former lovers who informs Harper about Connie and also uses strong profanity.
  • CARRIE PRESTON plays Harper's best friend who briefly uses strong profanity.
  • EMILY PROCTER plays Harper's snobbish sister.


    Curious if this title is entertaining, any good, and/or has any artistic merit?
    Then read OUR TAKE of this film.

    (Note: The "Our Take" review of this title examines the film's artistic merits and does not take into account any of the possibly objectionable material listed below).

    The following is a brief summary of the content found in this R-rated drama. Profanity is extreme with more than 20 "f" words being used, while other profanities and plenty of colorful phrases are also present. The"Sex/Nudity" category rates as extreme due to several sexually related encounters, dialogue and many views of pictures of women's bare breasts.

    A heavy amount of both drinking and smoking are present, while various characters have bad attitudes, including an older man with a penchant for seducing vulnerable and impressionable young women into becoming his lovers, as well as dysfunctional family members toward the film's female protagonist.

    Beyond that and a few other more benign elements, the film's remaining categories have little or nothing in the way of major objectionable content. Should you still be concerned about the film's appropriateness for yourself or anyone else in your home, however, we suggest that you more closely examine our detailed content listings.

  • People have champagne at a wedding. Harper takes a bottle of her own, and after Connie opens it for her, chugs some of it. Connie then offers her some liquor from his flask, but she declines, stating that she's not much of a drinker and he admits to the same (although we later learn the latter not to be true).
  • Connie and Harper have drinks and she then spills the bottle of liquor onto some of his photos.
  • Harper's family has wine with dinner.
  • Connie and his discussion group have drinks in a bar.
  • Connie and Harper have more liquor back at his place. When he tries to get her to relax by doing a tough math calculation in her head, she says, "I'm not drunk enough for this."
  • Connie and his discussion group have drinks again.
  • We see Zack going through the delirium tremens (alcohol withdrawal) in a hospital. Connie then tells him that this is a good reason never to stop drinking.
  • We see that Billy has a glass of wine out while she's painting.
  • Connie has another drink.
  • Harper's family has wine with her birthday dinner.
  • People have drinks at Connie's birthday party for Harper, and afterwards Connie has another drink.
  • Connie has a drink in a bar.
  • We see Connie walking out of a liquor store having just bought a bottle of booze. Later, Harper returns and finds Connie lying on the floor unconscious, with the now empty bottle beside him.
  • Connie has some booze in a drink someone offers him.
  • In a motel room, Connie states that he could use a drink and Harper agrees that she could as well. He then asks if she could go across the street and buy a bottle of liquor.
  • Connie's former lovers drink at his place.
  • As Harper prepares to photograph Zack's alcohol withdrawal condition in a hospital, we suddenly see a stream of urine hit her (from him, although we only see it hitting her).
  • Harper's fingertips are a little bloody after she runs her hand along the back of Connie's head (after finding him unconscious on the floor).
  • We see Connie's dental bridge (and two teeth) that has fallen from his mouth (and he holds an ever so slightly bloodied towel/napkin at his mouth).
  • Viewers may see Connie as having both for dating much younger women and "preying" on those he finds impressionable and unsure of themselves (in addition to eventually getting all of them to pay for some of his expenses).
  • Harper's family somewhat looks down on her for not being as bright and ambitious as the rest of them (her father wants to know how anyone could get into Harvard without personal opinions). In one scene, their birthday party celebration for her (with Chinese delivery food) is haphazard at best and woefully indifferent at most times. Deborah also mentions that she would have had the Chinese restaurant make a cake but then complains that they were too busy blowing up ducks for dinner.
  • Harper lies to her family about not being accepted to Harvard, and then she and her friend Patty lie about her moving in with Patty (when in reality she's moving in with Connie).
  • Harper calls the police "pigs" when they won't let her and Connie into his building.
  • Deborah is condescending and demeaning toward Connie and Harper. After she leaves, he's mean toward Harper and tells her not to be there when he returns, but she stays and he welcomes her back when he does return.
  • Connie lies to Harper about the reason for their trip to Los Angeles.
  • We see Zack going through the delirium tremens (alcohol withdrawal) in a hospital. The sight of him convulsing and behaving like he's possessed, while strapped to the bed, may be unsettling to some viewers.
  • The same holds true when we see that Harper's fingertips are a little bloody after she runs her hand along the back of Connie's head (after finding him unconscious on the floor with an empty bottle of booze next to him).
  • None.
  • Phrases: "Holy f*cking sh*t," "F*ck up," "F*cked up," "You lucky sh*t," "Blow job" (oral sex), "Shut up," "Idiot," "Loser," "Hang on to your panties," "Pissed," "Slut," "Bastard," and "Kiss my ass."
  • Harper gives Connie "the finger" while he's photographing her.
  • None.
  • A slight bit of ominous music plays in the film.
  • None.
  • At least 22 "f" words (2 used sexually, 1 with "mother"), 6 "s" words, 3 slang terms for male genitals ("d*ck" and "c*ck"), 1 slang term for breasts ("t*ts"), 4 asses, 2 hells, 1 crap, 1 damn, and 5 uses of "Oh God," 3 of "Jesus," 2 of "Oh my God" and 1 use each of "God," "Sweet, suffering Jesus," "Jesus Christ" and "My God" as exclamations.
  • In the film's opening, we see bits of images of black and white photos of Harper's nude body, including part of the side of her breast, several partial views of her bare butt, and a mostly out of focus shot of her breasts (including nipples).
  • Susan shows some cleavage in her wedding dress, while Deborah shows cleavage in nearly every scene she's in.
  • Harper finds a photograph of a woman's bare breasts in a photo book.
  • Patty tells Harper (about Connie), "He wants to f*ck you, for sure."
  • After getting her to drink and relax some, and with her lying on his sofa face down, Connie begins running his hands up her jeans (seen in close-up). He then runs them over her clothed butt and then down under her belly where he undoes them. He then slides her jeans off her (and we see her in her panties). She momentarily stops and asks whether she can change her mind at any moment. When he replies that she's correct, she suddenly moves over to him and begins making out with him, still in her panties. Later, and presumably after sex, we see them lying on the floor next to the couch, covered by blankets/sheets.
  • We briefly see Connie and Harper having sex in his darkroom. As such, we see her legs wrapped around his waist as they passionately make out and he backs her up against a wall and then onto a table (or something similar) where she sits with him still between her legs. Although she's topless, we don't see any nudity.
  • Harper and Patty look at close-up photos of Harper's bare breasts that Connie took. They then find another photo of breasts that they determine are not Harper's.
  • Harper takes that photo to Billy's house (where we see a large painting on the wall that shows bare- breasted women) and asks if the breasts are hers (in the photo). Billy says they aren't.
  • Deborah tells the family that when they read their fortunes from inside their fortune cookies, they should add "in bed" to the end of whatever the paper says. Her son-in-law then reads, "You'll soon experience changes for the better -- in bed." Deborah then reads hers, "A friendly conversation removes any hindrances -- in bed." She then tells her husband, "That's something we haven't tried yet. A friendly conversation." Alan then reluctantly reads his, "Good character guards against temptation -- in bed." Harper then makes up her own and says, "You will soon take a giant twelve-inch c*ck up your ass -- in bed." She then adds, "Somehow, that didn't make mine any funnier."
  • We see Harper lying on Connie's lap as he runs his hand over her clothed breast. He then runs that hand down to her jeans that he unbuttons. As the camera moves back up to her face, he puts his hand inside her jeans (not seen) and manually stimulates her (based on her facial and body reaction). As the scene ends, we see a long shot of them from across the room, and see that his hand is moving around in her jeans with her continuing to react to that.
  • When Deborah finally confronts Connie, she says, "You're older than I am, and you're f*cking my daughter." She then adds (among many things) that she doesn't believe his predilection for Harper doesn't have anything to do with her firm, young flesh. She then tells Harper, "I know what you're doing -- and it makes me sick."
  • Patty tells Harper to make sure she stays available in case some young guy shows up and "wants to lick you all over."
  • Harper jokes to Connie about their relationship in the eyes of others saying, "You're rich and powerful. If I suck your d*ck, you'll put me in your movie."
  • Billy comments (about Connie), "It's not like we're gonna talk about the size of his d*ck." Later, another woman jokingly says that she gave Connie "a blow job."
  • Harper shows Connie a picture of her and his other past lovers, some of whom show their bare breasts.
  • We see another woman whose bare breasts are somewhat visible through her long hair that covers them.
  • Connie smokes more than ten times during the film, while Deborah smokes once and various other people smoke at bars or a party.
  • Harper doesn't get along with her family that well and they don't treat her very nicely. When she tells them that she didn't get into Harvard (a white lie), they begin arguing among themselves, even after she walks out.
  • After everyone gets tired of having to read their fortune cookie fortunes the way Deborah wants them to, Susan tells her to stop, that she's out of control. When Harper then makes a snide remark, Deborah storms out, proving that the family is dysfunctional.
  • Deborah lets Harper know that she doesn't approve of her fling with Connie.
  • The May/December romance between Harper who's twenty and Connie, who's even older than her parents.
  • Harper's initial insecurity about herself and her abilities.
  • We see a person in a hospital going through the delirium tremens (alcohol withdrawal).
  • Harper hears one of Connie's now ex-girlfriends breaking things in his place.

  • Reviewed September 28, 1999 / Posted October 1, 1999

    Other new and recent reviews include:

    [Animal Crackers] [Most Wanted] [Radioactive] [The Rental]

    Privacy Statement and Terms of Use and Disclaimer
    By entering this site you acknowledge to having read and agreed to the above conditions.

    All Rights Reserved,
    ©1996-2020 Screen It, Inc.