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"BLESS THE CHILD"
(2000) (Kim Basinger, Jimmy Smits) (R)

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


QUICK TAKE:
Supernatural Thriller/Horror: A nurse tries to protect her young niece from a Satan worshipper and his followers who plan to turn the six-year-old girl's supernatural powers from good to evil.
PLOT:
Maggie O'Connor (KIM BASINGER) is a single nurse who works in a New York-based psychiatric hospital. Her well-ordered life is suddenly disrupted when her estranged sister, Jenna (ANGELA BETTIS), a heroin addict, unexpectedly drops by and then leaves her week-old infant girl there. Not knowing what else to do, Maggie raises the girl as her own, loving her like the daughter she never had, despite the girl presumably suffering from autism, a mistaken diagnosis for her supernatural powers.

Six years later, Cody (HOLLISTON COLEMAN) is a happy little girl still living with Maggie and attending a special Catholic school where Sister Rosa (LUMI CAVAZOS) and the other nuns tend to their class of mentally challenged youngsters. Despite their challenges, those kids are luckier than the ones who've been murdered in what appears to be a serial killing spree that's drawn in special FBI agent John Travis (JIMMY SMITS). A former seminary student and current specialist in ritual homicides, Travis believes a cult of devil worshippers is responsible for the deaths.

At first that has nothing to do with Maggie and Cody, but when the former meets Cheri Post (CHRISTINA RICCI), a teenage junkie who knows of Cody's special gifts and warns that's what "they" want the girl for, Maggie becomes concerned. Her fears are then realized when Jenna suddenly shows up with her new husband, Eric Stark (RUFUS SEWELL), the founder of The New Dawn, a highly profitable self-help organization, and abducts the girl.

It gets worse when Travis informs Maggie that Stark's organization is really a front for a network of devil worshippers who are searching for a child born on a certain date and predestined to lead the masses to God. Realizing the supremacy he could attain by converting such a power from good to evil, Stark believes he's found the chosen child in Cody and sets out to shatter her belief in God. Realizing that Stark will kill Cody if he can't convert her and her powers to evil before Easter Day, Maggie and Travis race to find Cody and Stark and stop the madman before he does either.

WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
If they're into supernatural thrillers or are fans of anyone in the cast, they just might, but this one seems attractive probably only to teenagers who are into such films.
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: R
For violence, drug content and brief language.
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
  • KIM BASINGER plays a nurse who raises her sister's abandoned baby, essentially becoming her mother. She then proceeds to try to rescue the girl once her birthmother returns, abducts the six-year-old and is involved with others who wish to harm the girl and/or her turn her to evil.
  • JIMMY SMITS plays an FBI agent and former seminary student whose field of expertise in ritual homicides helps him assist Maggie, rescue Cody and stop Stark and his fellow devil worshippers.
  • RUFUS SEWELL plays a new age, self-help guru who turns out to be a Satan worshipping ringleader of an organization that's looking for a special child and killing those who don't fit the bill. He ultimately threatens to kill Cody if she doesn't come over to the "dark side" with him.
  • HOLLISTON COLEMAN plays the six-year-old girl whose supernatural powers help those in need but also attract the attention of Stark and his followers.
  • ANGELA BETTIS plays Maggie's junkie sister who abandons her infant daughter at Maggie's home and then returns six years later, married to Stark (whom she's known for only a month), and wanting her daughter back. She briefly uses some profanity.
  • CHRISTINA RICCI plays a heroin addict who's tried to escape Stark's flock and warn Maggie of the dangers regarding Stark and their interest in Cody. She briefly uses some strong profanity.
  • CAST, CREW, & TECHNICAL INFO

    HOW OTHERS RATED THIS MOVIE


    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).


    OUR WORD TO PARENTS:
    Here's a quick look at the content found in this R-rated, supernatural thriller. Violence is rated as extreme due to several lethal and bloody/gory acts (people shot to death, another one stabbed in both eyes with knitting needles, a person set on fire, a person is decapitated, off screen murders of children), as well as non-lethal action including another stabbing, other fighting and a child repeatedly being threatened with death.

    Many of those responsible for that obviously have bad attitudes (especially since children are threatened and/or killed) and are Satan worshippers (and repeatedly denounce God and those who believe in Him). As such, the film has its share of demonic and other supernatural material for those concerned with such matters. Such related scenes, and others, may also be unsettling, suspenseful or scary to some viewers.

    Profanity is rated as heavy due to 2 uses of the "f" word, while only a small handful of other expletives and colorful phrases are present. Various characters are noted as being heroin addicts, and we briefly see a man finishing shooting up his wife with heroin. A woman abandons her baby (she doesn't know which of various unseen men is the father) and then wants the child back from her sister who's been raising her in the intervening six years.

    Should that summary not appease your concern about the film's appropriateness for yourself or anyone else in your home who may wish to see it, we suggest that you take a closer look at our detailed content listings for specific examples of what occurs in the film.


    ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE
  • We learn that Jenna is a heroin junkie (and gave birth to Cody as such) when Maggie finds her related paraphernalia.
  • We learn that Stark was a former drug user who's now reportedly reformed.
  • We see that Cheri is a junkie (and see the various red & swollen track marks in her arm).
  • Maggie has a glass of wine.
  • Stark tells his assistant to get drinks for him and Maggie, but she replies that she doesn't want one.
  • We see a hallucinatory shot of pills and a bottle of booze on the car seat next to Maggie.
  • Cody walks in and sees Stark finishing shooting up Jenna with heroin.
  • A servant pours wine for Stark and Jenna.
  • BLOOD/GORE
  • We see divers pull a child's body out of the water and we see a bloody cut/branding mark/scar in the form of a trident on it.
  • We see that Cheri is a junkie (and see the various red & swollen track marks in her arm). We then see a non-drug related needle being inserted into her arm.
  • In several scenes, we see some photos of other bloody cuts/branding marks on victims' bodies.
  • Maggie has some small but bloody rat claw scrapes on her wrists.
  • We see a person with some blood on their face and then see their severed head fall from their body (including a very brief glimpse of the bloody stump).
  • A woman jabs her long knitting needles into a man's eyes, killing him (we briefly see them sticking out with bloody results).
  • Blood squirts out when a person is shot and we then see their bloody clothing near the obscured wound.
  • A knife pulled out of a wound has a bit of blood on it.
  • Blood squirts out as another person is shot.
  • A man's face has some blood on it.
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • This film might not be to the liking of those who don't appreciate supernatural-based themes/power and/or Satan worshipping related material. The same holds true for those who object to seeing (or hearing about) young kids being abducted, threatened and/or murdered by adults.
  • Directly related, Stark is the Satan worshipping ringleader of an organization that recruits young people for its evil purposes. Among them is finding a special child with supernatural powers and killing those who don't fit the bill. In addition, once Stark has Cody, he threatens to kill her (in several scenes) if she doesn't abandon her belief in God and accept Satan as her savior.
  • We learn that Jenna continued to use heroin while pregnant with Cody and she then abandons her baby at Maggie's place.
  • Jenna is mean to Maggie, stating that the reason Maggie's husband left her was due to her having several miscarriages.
  • Maggie's date suddenly decides he has to go home once he sees Cody banging her head against the wall (although he doesn't know what's wrong with her, he leaves, stating that he'll call her sometime, but obviously won't).
  • Stark and Jenna essentially kidnap Cody as they covertly remove her from Maggie's care.
  • A cop refers to Maggie as "a piece of tail."
  • Some viewers may not like Stark's various disparaging comments about God. His brochures state "There's no God but you" and there are references to God being a "false idol." In another scene, Stark asks Cody if she believes in God, she says that she does, and he replies maybe that's only because she thinks she's supposed to. He then points out a homeless and apparently crazy man in an alley, stating that God abandoned him. He then adds that death, even a cruel death, would be a kinder end for that man. As such, he then pours gasoline on that man and then puts some sort of demonic spell on him that nearly causes him to light himself on fire. Later, Stark sets the man on fire, killing him.
  • Stark says that God might just be only "a nice idea. Like the Easter bunny."
  • FRIGHTENING SCENES
  • Some or all of the following may or may not be unsettling, suspenseful or scary to viewers, all depending on their age (the younger the child, the more likely they'll be scared) and tolerance for supernatural/Satan-related material.
  • As suspenseful music plays during the opening credits, the camera focuses on various angles of a menacing looking gargoyle.
  • One of Stark's followers lures a young boy into his van via a puppy in a cage and then kidnaps him (we can see what's going to happen before the boy does).
  • During the daytime and while ironing (and as suspenseful music plays), Maggie thinks she hears something and slowly goes looking through her place.
  • Maggie nods off only to awaken to Cody's cries of terror. She rushes to her bedroom door only to find the place literally crawling with menacing-looking rats that surround Cody's bed and jump on Maggie (but this seemingly turns out to be a dream as she awakens, but then hears similar cries again).
  • As Cody kneels in a church, the candles there begin to vibrate and then suddenly start lighting by themselves and tears fall from the face of the Virgin Mary statue.
  • Stark's followers pursue Cheri through the downtown streets of New York with Maggie following them. This leads her into a subway station where she sees the followers repeatedly kicking/beating Cheri (including the sight of demons flying overhead) and then has an encounter with them that results in her falling onto the tracks and just barely avoiding being run over by a train. She then finds a person who's been decapitated (we briefly see the head fall off the body, resulting in a bloody stump).
  • Maggie sees (or imagines seeing) a flock of flying demons circling a building (along with snakes, rats and other supernatural related creatures on the ground).
  • Maggie aims a handgun at Stark and threatens to shoot him (even going so far as to pulling the trigger).
  • Maggie suddenly awakens to find herself in a car headed the wrong way through traffic across a bridge without brakes. Her car eventually smashes through the railing and precariously hangs halfway over the edge as a man tries to get her out before the car falls into the river below.
  • To prove his point about God, Stark pours gasoline on a man and then puts some sort of demonic spell on him, nearly causing the man to light himself on fire. When Cody stops this, Stark then finishes the job himself (we only see the initial burst of flames and don't see the man engulfed in them, although they do kill him).
  • Trying to get her to renounce her belief in God, Stark puts Cody up on the edge of a building rooftop, telling her to jump if she believes that God will save her. When she won't, he grabs her and briefly holds her over the edge, but then pulls her back in.
  • A woman jabs her long knitting needles into a man's eyes, killing him (we briefly see them sticking out with bloody results).
  • A woman's face suddenly turns into that of a monstrous and scary looking demon.
  • A limo chases Maggie and Cody in their car, repeatedly smashing into it.
  • The ending of the film where Maggie and Travis confront and try to stop Stark and his followers and save Cody might be suspenseful to some viewers (including a scene where a stream of rats briefly combine together to form Satan himself).
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • Handguns/Knives/Switchblades: Used to threaten, wound or kill people. See "Violence" for details.
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • Phrases: "I don't give a f*ck," "Sick f*cks," "Piece of sh*t," "Pissed," "Piece of tail" (for a woman) and "Bastard."
  • It's possible that the cult-like material involving Devil worship might be enticing to some impressionable kids.
  • Trying to get her to renounce her belief in God, Stark puts Cody up on the edge of a building rooftop, telling her to jump if she believes that God will save her. When she won't, he grabs her and briefly holds her over the edge, but then pulls her back in.
  • To prove his point about God, Stark pours gasoline on a man and then puts some sort of demonic spell on him, nearly causing the man to light himself on fire. When Cody stops this, Stark then finishes the job himself (we only see the initial burst of flames and don't see the man engulfed in them, although they do kill him).
  • A young man has a pierced nose and ear that are connected via a chain.
  • JUMP SCENES
  • A window blind suddenly opens up.
  • Someone suddenly shows up behind Maggie.
  • A man suddenly grabs Maggie.
  • A woman jabs her long knitting needles into a man's eyes, killing him.
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • An extreme amount of ominous, suspenseful and scary music (occasionally accompanied by standard supernatural thriller chanting) plays throughout the film.
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • None.
  • PROFANITY
  • At least 2 "f" words, 3 "s" words, 2 hells, 1 damn and 1 use of "Oh my God" as exclamations.
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • Maggie asks about the identity of Cody's father and Jenna says that it beats her as it could be any number of men.
  • Cheri shows some cleavage.
  • A cop refers to Maggie as "a piece of tail" and identifies that as being the reason that Travis is interested in her case.
  • SMOKING
  • Cheri smokes once and we see a brief shot of Groucho Marx holding a cigar in a movie playing on TV.
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • Jenna abandons her baby at Maggie's place and then returns six years later to reclaim the daughter she hasn't seen since.
  • We learn that Maggie's husband left her sometime in the past.
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • The whole good vs. evil theme that runs throughout the film and the various analogies to Jesus.
  • Drug addicts.
  • Autism (which is what the doctors think Cody has).
  • One of Stark's followers lures a young boy into his van via a puppy in a cage.
  • VIOLENCE
  • Maggie slaps Jenna.
  • Although we don't see them, we hear that someone has already killed several kids.
  • A bird flies into a window, breaking its neck, and dies (but only temporarily).
  • A person hits or zaps Maggie, momentarily stunning her.
  • A group of people chase, catch and then beat Cheri, repeatedly kicking/beating her.
  • A man grabs Maggie and she pushes him away, but ends up falling onto some subway tracks where's she momentarily knocked unconscious.
  • Maggie finds a person who's been decapitated (she sees the head fall off the body).
  • Maggie aims a handgun at Stark and threatens to shoot him (even going so far as to pulling the trigger).
  • A man grabs Maggie and knocks her out with something soaked in a cloth he puts over her nose and mouth.
  • A car explodes before it falls/crashes into a river.
  • To prove his point about God, Stark pours gasoline on a man and then puts some sort of demonic spell on him, nearly causing the man to light himself on fire. When Cody stops this, Stark then finishes the job himself (we only see the initial burst of flames and don't see the man engulfed in them, although they do kill him).
  • We see some of Stark's followers aggressively poking something in an alley with sticks, etc.
  • A woman jabs her long knitting needles into a man's eyes, killing him (we briefly see them sticking out with bloody results).
  • A car smashes into a person (severely injuring or killing them).
  • A limo smashes into the side of another car and then smashes into a cop (severely injuring or killing him). It then tears off a door on another car.
  • Maggie breaks some glass to enter a house.
  • Travis and another man roll down a staircase and he then gets into a fight with that man and another man (they hit him over the back/head and kick him).
  • A man holds a large knife to Cody's throat and Stark holds a gun to Maggie's head.
  • As a church catches on fire, one person stabs another with a knife but is then shot several times.
  • Another person is shot several times.
  • A man tries to attack another man who punches and then shoots the first man dead.
  • A young man pulls out a switchblade as if he's going to use it on someone, but he changes his mind.



  • Reviewed August 7, 2000 / Posted August 11, 2000

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