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"THE GIFT"
(2001) (Cate Blanchett, Giovanni Ribisi) (R)

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


QUICK TAKE:
Suspense/Thriller: A small town psychic finds herself thrust into the middle of a harrowing experience when she's asked to help find a missing and presumably dead woman.
PLOT:
In the backwoods town of Brixton, Georgia, Annie Wilson (CATE BLANCHETT) is known for her psychic visions. Recently widowed and trying to support her three young sons, Mike (LYNNSEE PROVENCE), Miller (HUNTER MCGILVRAY) and Ben (DAVID BRANNEN), Annie has taken to card readings for the locals.

Among them is Buddy Cole (GIOVANNI RIBISI), a disturbed and seemingly suicidal mechanic who's troubled by thoughts of looking into a mysterious diamond. Then there's Valerie Barksdale (HILARY SWANK), a battered woman who can't find it in herself to leave her abusive husband, Donnie (KEANU REEVES), who isn't particularly pleased to hear that Annie's told Valerie to leave him.

Annie is sweet on high school principal Wayne Collins (GREG KINNEAR), but he's engaged to the wealthy, but promiscuous Jessica King (KATIE HOLMES), who's seeing various men in town including lawyer David Duncan (GARY COLE). When she turns up missing and her well-to-do father, Kenneth King (CHELCIE ROSS), and Sheriff Johnson (J.K. SIMMONS) have run out of ideas, they reluctantly turn to Annie hoping that she can "see" what happened, although the sheriff remains skeptical about that possibility.

Soon, however, Annie begins having various mysterious and disturbing visions, all of which lead her to believe that foul play was involved. Searching for the missing woman, Annie and other locals soon dredge up a discovery that sets into motion a series of supernatural occurrences where any number of people may be the prime suspect.

WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
If they're fans of anyone in the cast, director Sam Raimi ("A Simple Plan," "Darkman") or of Southern Gothic style suspense thrillers, they just might.
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: R
For violence, language, and sexuality/nudity.
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
  • To avoid giving away the ending of the film, the character who turns out to be a murderer won't be listed as such in the following section.
  • CATE BLANCHETT plays a single mother who's been supporting her family via psychic readings ever since her husband died a year earlier. Asked to help in a case involving a local woman, she finds herself embroiled in a harrowing and spooking situation as she tries to figure out what happened to the woman and has various frightening/disturbing visions. She briefly uses some profanity.
  • GIOVANNI RIBISI plays the local mechanic who's suicidal and otherwise emotionally disturbed due to having been sexually abused at some point earlier in his life. He uses strong profanity and attempts to enact revenge upon his father.
  • KEANU REEVES plays an abusive, adulterous husband, who threatens Annie and her family and uses strong profanity.
  • HILARY SWANK plays his wife, an abused woman who won't leave him despite the beatings and disparaging remarks & behavior.
  • GREG KINNEAR plays the local school principal who's distraught over the disappearance of his fiancée. He uses strong profanity.
  • KATIE HOLMES plays a high society young woman who's extremely promiscuous despite being engaged to someone else.
  • KIM DICKENS plays a friend of Annie's who smokes and uses some profanity.
  • GARY COLE plays a local lawyer who was having an affair with Wayne's fiancée.
  • J.K. SIMMONS plays the local sheriff who doesn't believe in any of what he thinks is psychic mumbo jumbo.
  • LYNNSEE PROVENCE plays Annie's oldest son who's become withdrawn and confused since the death of his father a year earlier.
  • 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:
    The following is a brief summary of the content found in this R-rated suspense/thriller. Profanity is listed as extreme due to at least 12 uses of the "f" word, while other expletives, colorful phrases and some sexually explicit dialogue also occur. A young woman is noted as being promiscuous and is briefly seen fooling around with a man other than her fiancé, and is seen mostly nude (in her just her underwear) in another. A dead woman's bare breast is also seen.

    Violence consists of that woman's death, domestic abuse (wife beating), brief psychic visions/dreams of violence, a homicidal threat with a gun that then turns into a brief suicidal plea, a person being set on fire, and other hitting and struggling. Some of those scenes have bloody results and they, some supernatural moments, several "jump scenes" and some traditional "creep through the house" moments may also be unsettling, suspenseful or downright frightening to some viewers.

    Various characters have varying degrees of bad attitudes, including that of a murderer, the wife beater, the promiscuous young woman, etc. and some may see the protagonist's dabbling in psychic/supernatural matters as having both as well. Some tense family matters/"topics to talk about" material is present, including the psychic matters, the wife beating, incest/molestation from the past and a family missing their dead husband/father.

    Beyond that, several characters smoke and drink, including one who appears to have been on a several day drinking binge. Should you still be concerned about the film and its 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 more specific examples of what occurs in the film.

    For those concerned with bright flashes of light on the screen, some instances of that occur late in the film during a thunderstorm.


    ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE
  • Various people have drinks at a country club, including Annie and a friend of hers. We then see Jessica with a drink and Wayne with a beer.
  • Annie goes to see Wayne and discovers that he's been heavily drinking for several days (we see many empty bottles).
  • Duncan has a drink and then pours himself some more.
  • BLOOD/GORE
  • We see Valerie with a very black eye (from where Donnie hit her - not seen).
  • We see a brief image of what looks like bloody (but possibly just dirty) feet in one of Annie's visions.
  • Annie has a brief vision that includes some form of violence and the very brief shot of some blood.
  • Annie has another vision where we briefly see some blood dripping off a chain.
  • We see some bloody scratches on Donnie's arm.
  • A man's face is somewhat bloody as he's beaten with a strap.
  • Annie has a vision of water dripping into a sink turning into blood doing the same (with lots of blood splattering into it).
  • Annie has several visions of a dead woman (whose skin is somewhat unnatural looking and has an eye that has something wrong with it).
  • Annie has a vision of a woman's face with a stream of blood running down it. We later see this in reality, and then see her holding a slightly bloody towel to her wound.
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • The person who kills a woman obviously has extreme cases of both types of attitudes.
  • Some may see Annie as having both for dabbling in/making money from supernatural readings.
  • Donnie has extreme cases of both for mentally and physically abusing his wife (and otherwise being demeaning toward her and having an affair) and for threatening Annie and her children for trying to intervene. He also tells Annie that she's no better than a "Jew or nigger" for her Satan worshipping (psychic readings, etc.) and tries to scare one of Annie's boys by telling him that she's a witch that's going to be burned.
  • We learn that Jessica was promiscuous and sleeping around with other guys despite being engaged to Wayne. Those who slept with her (knowing about her engagement to someone else) obviously have the same as well.
  • Donnie states that he killed a stray cat, but we don't know if that's true or not.
  • FRIGHTENING SCENES
  • Scenes listed under "Violence" and "Blood/Gore" may also be unsettling, suspenseful or scary to some viewers.
  • Annie has a brief vision of what looks like bloody (but possibly just dirty) feet.
  • Donnie gets Annie to let him into her house only to act menacingly toward her (threatening her and her kids).
  • Annie has a somewhat spooky vision of her grandmother approaching her during the day while hanging laundry.
  • At night, Annie arrives back home with her boys, but discovers the front door open and the TV loudly playing. Making them stay outside, she slowly makes her way through the house with a baseball bat as she hears more noises coming from within the house.
  • Donnie calls and threatens Annie and her children over the phone.
  • Annie awakens to find a man's hands around her neck, strangling her (but this turns out to be a nightmare/vision).
  • Donnie pulls up next to one of Annie's sons and acts somewhat menacingly toward him (telling him he'll be without both a father and mother). Buddy drives up and sees this, and so takes a tire iron and begins smashing Donnie's truck with it (cracking the windshield, etc.). In turn, Donnie aims a handgun at Buddy who then takes the gun and puts it to his head, screaming for Donnie to kill him. Instead, Donnie speeds away.
  • Annie has another vision that's accompanied by spooky music and the sight of some flowers that suddenly turn black, some blood dripping from a chain, and a weird fiddle player in the middle of a swamp.
  • Annie has another vision of a body floating above her outside and one of the body's eyes suddenly open.
  • As workers dredge a pond looking for a body and suspenseful music plays, a man starts to pull up something from beneath the surface.
  • We see that Buddy has tied up his father in a chair and is repeatedly hitting him with a strap of some sort (for previous sexual molestation). Buddy then pours gasoline on his father and hits Annie with his strap when she tries to intervene. He then pulls out a lighter that drops to the ground, ignites the gasoline and partially catches his father on fire (but doesn't kill him).
  • After starting to fill the tub to take a bath, Annie suddenly finds that the water has spilled over and flowed out into the hallway. She then slowly creeps toward the bathroom, opens the door and sees a dead girl sitting in the tub covered in chains. That girl then suddenly turns her head toward Annie (with only one eye open) and then appears on the other side of Annie when she turns away.
  • Annie has another brief vision of a mallet or something similar being raised up into the air at night as if to strike someone.
  • Annie has a vision of a body standing in the rain at night.
  • We see the shadow of a person cross behind Annie's window at night when she's in the house alone.
  • The killer slowly walks toward Annie on a dock above a pond at night as she slowly tries to back away from them.
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • Handguns: Worn by the local police and briefly aimed by Donnie at Buddy (see "Violence").
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • Phrases: "F*cker," "F*ck you," "Get your ass out of my house," "Nuts" (testicles), "Shut up," "Bitch" and "Bastard."
  • It's possible some kids could want to get into psychic readings or other supernatural material after seeing the film.
  • JUMP SCENES
  • A sudden clap of thunder might startle some viewers (as accompanied by a very brief image of a body).
  • During a tense scene, Annie suddenly kicks a toy on the floor while slowly making her way through her house.
  • During another suspenseful scene, a dead girl suddenly looks at Annie and then suddenly shows up on the other side of her when she turns away.
  • Annie turns and runs into someone.
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • An extreme amount of suspenseful, ominous and frightening music plays during the film.
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • None.
  • PROFANITY
  • At least 12 "f" words (5 used sexually), 2 "s" words, 7 damns, 3 asses, 2 S.O.B.s, 1 hell, 9 uses of "G-damn," 4 of "Oh my God," 2 of "Swear to God" and 1 use of "Jesus" as exclamations.
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • One of Annie's young sons suddenly (and innocently) asks her, "What does f*ck mean?" She replies that it's a bad word for something nice, that it means making love, and it's how she and their daddy made him and his brothers.
  • Jessica shows cleavage in a very sheer dress.
  • Annie opens a door to discover Jessica fooling around with a man up against a wall in a closet/small room. They don't see her, but we hear the man say that somebody might come in and Jessica replies, "You better f*ck me fast." We later see a flashback to that scene and that dialogue.
  • We see a bare breast as a woman's partially clothed body is pulled from a pond.
  • Buddy confronts Annie and desperately asks her why he touches himself when he thinks about his father (we later learn it was because of sexual child abuse).
  • Donnie admits to having sex with Jessica. When asked why she would pick a guy like him, he states that he asked her the same thing and that she answered that he was the only man in town "who knew how to f*ck."
  • Annie asks a man how it's going to look when people learn he had sex with the victim the night before she was killed.
  • Annie has a vision of a dead or unconscious woman splayed out on the ground at night. Her robe is open and we can see her bare breast and underwear.
  • We see a flashback of a man telling Jessica to take off her clothes and we then see her in just her underwear (we see her bare breasts). The man then asks, "You just f*cked him, didn't you?" We then see a few more shots of her that way.
  • SMOKING
  • A friend of Annie's (Linda) smokes several times, as does Wayne, while Sheriff Johnson is seen with a cigar.
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • We learn that Annie's husband was killed in an explosion a year before the story starts and that both she and her children still miss him terribly. Various scenes involve just that, with her oldest son asking why they never visit his grave or talk about him.
  • A father learns that his daughter has been murdered.
  • Valerie is a battered wife who can't bring herself to leave Donnie, her verbally, emotionally and physically abusive husband.
  • We learn that Buddy's father evidently sexually abused him as a boy and that such matters still affect Buddy as an adult, eventually causing him to seek revenge on his father.
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • Psychics and psychic readings through cards, etc.
  • Valerie is a battered wife who can't bring herself to leave Donnie, her verbally, emotionally and physically abusive husband.
  • Sexual molestation within families.
  • VIOLENCE
  • We see Valerie with a very black eye (from where Donnie hit her - not seen).
  • Donnie shows up at Annie's house, throws her to the floor, overturns a table or chair, and then grabs Valerie and shoves her. He then drags her along the floor and out of the house by her hair and then throws her to the ground.
  • Annie has a brief vision that includes some form of violence and the very brief shot of some blood.
  • We hear that Annie's husband died in an explosion.
  • Annie awakens to find a man's hands around her neck, strangling her (but this turns out to be a nightmare/vision).
  • Donnie pulls up next to one of Annie's sons and acts somewhat menacingly toward him (throwing his hat at him and telling the boy he'll be without both a father and mother after he's through with her). Buddy drives up and sees this, and so takes a tire iron and begins smashing Donnie's truck with it (cracking the windshield, etc.). In turn, Donnie aims a handgun at Buddy who then takes the gun and puts it to his head, screaming for Donnie to kill him. Instead, Donnie speeds away.
  • Donnie states that he killed a stray cat, but we don't know if that's true or not.
  • Donnie punches Annie in the gut. Wayne then punches him in the face and the sheriff holds his gun on Donnie to stop him from doing anything else.
  • We see a body being pulled from a pond, and learn that the victim was murdered.
  • We see a flashback to Donnie slapping Jessica quite hard to the ground after she scratches him. We see this again in another flashback where she hits her head on a car while falling.
  • We see that Buddy has tied up his father in a chair and is repeatedly hitting him with a strap of some sort (for previous sexual molestation). Buddy then pours gasoline on his father and hits Annie with his strap when she tries to intervene. He then pulls out a lighter that drops to the ground, ignites the gasoline and partially catches his father on fire (but doesn't kill him).
  • Annie has a vision of a person hitting someone and then of a woman's face with a stream of blood running down it.
  • We see a flashback of a man slapping Jessica and her pushing him backwards. That man then struggles with her, she slaps him, and we then see him strangling her.
  • Annie throws something at the killer who then hits her with a flashlight (and we see a stream of blood run down her face). The killer then prepares to hit her again, but someone else stops that and punches the killer.
  • We hear that a person committed suicide by hanging.



  • Reviewed January 9, 2001 / Posted January 19, 2001

    Other new and recent reviews include:

    [Darkest Hour] [Just Getting Started] [The Shape of Water]

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