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"HOUSE OF SAND AND FOG"
(2003) (Jennifer Connelly, Ben Kingsley) (R)

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


QUICK TAKE:
Drama: After wrongly being evicted from her home, a troubled young woman tries to get it back from an Iranian immigrant who's moved in with his family in hopes of making a big profit from it.
PLOT:
Kathy Nicolo (JENNIFER CONNELLY) is a troubled young woman whose husband has left her to sit in her house and ponder her existence. Her distracted state results in ignoring her mail that includes notice of a delinquent business tax bill and subsequent eviction. She doesn't realize this until Deputy Sheriff Lester Burdon (RON ELDARD) and his partner arrive to escort her out.

Learning that she has no friends or nearby family, Lester takes pity on her and finds a place for her to stay. With him being unhappy in his role as husband and father, that soon turns into attraction and he leaves his wife and kids for her.

At the same time, Iranian immigrant and former military colonel Massoud Amir Behrani (BEN KINGSLEY) moves into the house - after buying it at a bargain price - with his subservient wife, Nadi (SHOHREH AGHDASHLOO), and more westernized son, Esmail (JONATHAN AHDOUT). Disillusioned with his failure to live the American dream, Behrani hopes that he can sell the house and make a quick and large profit.

As Kathy tries to make inroads through the tangle of bureaucratic red tape with the help of lawyer Connie Walsh (FRANCES FISHER), she can't stay away from her former home. That eventually leads to confrontations with Behrani. When Lester decides to get involved and push around his weight, things turn decidedly ugly. As both parties remain intent on claiming the house as theirs, little do they realize the pending ramifications of their acts and stubbornness.

WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
Older teens might be interested in it, but unless others are fans of someone in the cast, it doesn't seem too likely.
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: R
For some violence/disturbing images, language and a scene of sexuality.
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
  • JENNIFER CONNELLY plays a troubled young woman and former alcoholic who finds her life turned upside down when she wrongly loses her home. As she tries to get her house back and Behrani and his family out of it, she falls for Lester, has sex with him, returns to drinking, uses strong profanity and becomes so despondent that she tries killing herself.
  • BEN KINGSLEY plays a proud and traditional Iranian immigrant and former military colonel who hopes to use the recently purchased house to make a huge profit and thus return himself and his family to a higher standard of living. He loves his wife but sees her as subservient in a traditional fashion, is defiant and ultimately reacts to the events in a shocking fashion.
  • RON ELDARD plays the deputy sheriff who isn't happy in his marriage, and thus befriends and ultimately has an affair with Kathy. He drinks, uses strong profanity and ultimately goes off the deep end in dealing with the housing situation.
  • SHOHREH AGHDASHLOO plays Behrani's compassionate but subservient wife who knows her place in their relationship but nevertheless occasionally stands up to him.
  • JONATHAN AHDOUT plays their more westernized son.
  • FRANCES FISHER plays a lawyer who tries to help Kathy with her housing matter.
  • 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 brief summary of the content found in this R-rated drama. Profanity consists of at least 12 "f" words, while other expletives and colorful phrases are used. Two sexual encounters are seen with movements, sounds and some nudity in one. A woman is seen in small and tight-fitting clothing, in her bra and briefly topless in silhouette.

    Violence consists of a person being shot to death (with bloody results), a murder (poisoning) and a suicide (by suffocation), while another person twice attempts suicide (gun and pills) and some threatening occurs. A scene featuring some nails in a foot at a construction site also has bloody results. Those scenes and others may be unsettling or suspenseful to some viewers.

    Various characters have varying degrees of bad attitudes, while tense family material includes a death, murder and suicide in a family, a broken marriage where young kids are involved, some husband and wife arguing (with some violent actions), and a woman whose husband left her some time ago.

    Various characters smoke and/or drink, with one noted as being an alcoholic who resumes drinking. Meanwhile, some potentially troublesome imitative behavior is also present. If you're still concerned about the film and its appropriateness for yourself or anyone else in your home who may be interested in seeing it, we suggest that you take a closer look at our detailed listings for more specific information regarding the film's content.


    ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE
  • People have a champagne toast at a wedding.
  • Kathy receives a call from her mom who mentions Kathy being on a program (presumably rehab) and that she must take one day at a time.
  • Lester brings a beer over for Kathy and himself and then apologizes when she states that she hasn't had a drink in 3 years (although he drinks his).
  • Lester has wine and Kathy then has some as well (breaking her 3 year stint of not having any alcohol).
  • We see a photo of Behrani and the Shah holding wine or champagne.
  • Lester has a beer.
  • Behrani and his family, friends and/or relatives have champagne.
  • We see wine in front of Kathy as she waits with dinner for Lester.
  • Kathy buys many mini-bottles of booze. Kathy then drinks and drives. When she arrives at her destination, she guzzles down another and we see that she's had many.
  • BLOOD/GORE
  • We see some blood on Esmail's legs (from falling from his skateboard -- not seen).
  • Kathy, who's barefoot, steps down off a ladder and onto a board with nails sticking up from it. At least 1 nail then impales her foot (attaching the board to it), with blood then dripping from that onto the ground, while the board and her foot are bloody. We then see more blood on her foot when Nadi washes it off in the bathtub.
  • Behrani physically escorts Kathy off his property, grabbing her arm hard while doing so (we later see bruises on her arm).
  • We hear the sound of Kathy vomiting. We later hear the same again (but don't see the actual act).
  • Forced to stay in a locked bathroom with his parents, Esmail says that he has to go and then pulls down his pants and sits on the toilet (right next to his father, but we don't hear or see any related bodily function).
  • We see a great deal of blood on a person who's been shot, on the steps below him, and on others who try to help him.
  • We see another person's dried blood on a man's hands and shirt.
  • We see blood stains on a sheet covering a recently deceased person as well as some on a surgeon's surgical gown.
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • Kathy lies to her mom about her life and husband (that he's still with her and will be out of town when her mom visits).
  • Nadi (who's Iranian) states that she didn't come to America to live like an Arab and gypsy (meaning constantly moving from home to home). After she storms out, Behrani responds by throwing something that breaks near her head (before speaking his mind).
  • Behrani tells his wife there's nothing more to discuss and that for her not to open her lips. He later backhands her when she confronts him with her anger and has other violent outbursts at her.
  • We learn that Lester isn't happy in his marriage (he says he hasn't wanted to give his wife more than a hug or peck the past number of years) and then see him having an affair with Kathy (they move in together in a cabin in the woods).
  • Kathy gets mad at her lawyer and tells her, "I expect you to do your f*cking job."
  • Lester breaks the law and uses a fake name when confronting Behrani and trying to put a scare into him (saying he knows people who could deport Behrani and his family).
  • Kathy buys a small gasoline container and a book of matches as she heads for her old house (seemingly intent on burning it down). When she finds Lester's handgun in the trunk, however, she leaves the gas container.
  • Lester kidnaps Behrani and his family and threatens them with his gun.
  • FRIGHTENING SCENES
  • Scenes listed under "Violence" and "Blood/Gore" may be unsettling or suspenseful to some viewers.
  • Distraught over what's occurred, Kathy holds a handgun to her chin, in her mouth and then against her head, repeatedly pulling the trigger (but the gun doesn't fire). Behrani then finds her, grabs the gun and then helps her.
  • Lester arrives at Behrani's house, breaking a window to get in, and believes he and his wife have done harm to Kathy (they haven't). He then holds his gun on Behrani and makes him put Kathy down.
  • A young man grabs another man's gun and holds it on him as a third grabs the gunman around the neck. The gunman then elbows the third man in the gut and the first backs away and into the sight of other cops who then shoot him several times (with very bloody results).
  • We think that Kathy is going to jump from a pier to her death, but she doesn't.
  • A husband poisons his wife's tea with prescription medication (in a mercy killing sort of way, and she seems to know or guess what's occurring). He then sees her die.
  • A man commits suicide by placing a plastic bag over his head and then wrapping thick tape around his neck. He then lies back and we see his labored breathing and then eventual death (in a disturbing moment).
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • Handguns: Used to threaten others, shoot and kill one person, and by another in an attempt to commit suicide (but the gun doesn't fire). See "Violence" for details.
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • Phrases: "What the f*ck are you doing?" "I expect you to do your f*cking job," "F*ck these people," "F*ck it up," "Sh*t-storm," "That's bullsh*t," "Are you out of your mind?" what sounded like "Whores," "You son of a bitch," "Old man" (father) and "Shut up."
  • Kathy buys a small gasoline container and a book of matches as she heads for her old house (seemingly intent on burning it down). When she finds Lester's handgun in the trunk, however, she leaves the gas container.
  • Kathy smokes while pumping gasoline.
  • Kathy drinks and drives.
  • Kathy tries to kill herself first via shooting and then by an overdose.
  • A husband poisons his wife's tea with prescription medication (in a mercy killing sort of way, and she seems to know or guess what's occurring).
  • JUMP SCENES
  • None.
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • A mild amount of suspenseful music plays in the film.
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • None.
  • PROFANITY
  • At least 12 "f" words, 5 "s" words, 1 damn, 1 S.O.B., 5 uses of "Oh God," 3 of "G-damn," 2 of "God" and 1 use of "Jesus."
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • Kathy shows a little cleavage, while some miscellaneous women show some earlier at a wedding.
  • We see various shots of Kathy in some small and tight fitting jean shorts that show a lot of thigh (that the camera seems to focus on).
  • We see Kathy in her bra while she shaves her underarms.
  • We see quick shots of Lester and Kathy having sex, with shots of her bare breasts and butt, him moving between her legs (no sounds, but some movement) and both alternating being on top.
  • We see alternating side (in silhouette) and top views (head and shoulders) of Behrani having sex with his wife. There's subdued movement and then the quiet sounds of him climaxing.
  • We see a brief silhouette of Kathy's bare breast as she puts on a top.
  • We see Kathy's bare back as she vomits into a toilet.
  • SMOKING
  • Kathy smokes more than 5 times, while some miscellaneous people smoke in other scenes.
  • Kathy's mom asks if Kathy is still not smoking. Kathy doesn't reply and instead hangs up at the end of their call.
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • Kathy lies to her mom about her life and husband (that he's still with her and will be out of town when her mom visits).
  • Nadi (who's Iranian) states that she didn't come to America to live like an Arab and gypsy (meaning constantly moving from home to home). After she storms out, Behrani responds by throwing something that breaks near her head (before speaking his mind).
  • We hear that Kathy's father died in the past and she's upset about being evicted from the home he left her and her brother.
  • We hear that Kathy's husband left her some time ago (for not wanting kids, while she did).
  • We learn that Lester isn't happy in his marriage (he says he hasn't wanted to give his wife more than a hug or peck the past number of years) and then see him having an affair with Kathy (they move in together in a cabin in the woods).
  • Lester says that his "old man" walked out on him when he was a kid and he swore he wouldn't do the same to his kids, but has now done so.
  • Nadi is upset with him over problems with the house and then says that he's the reason they had to leave Iran. In response, Behrani backhands his wife, prompting their son to struggle with him and some furniture is broken in the process.
  • Kathy says that she misses her dad.
  • Lester's wife confronts him in a parking lot in front of their car holding their kids (who are visibly upset). The mother grabs and slaps at Lester, and one of the girls cries out, "Don't go." Later, Lester and Carol briefly talk about their differences.
  • Nadi is concerned about being deported, saying that the Iranians will shoot her children if they return.
  • Kathy calls her brother for help, stating she feels lost, but he doesn't have time to help her.
  • A man must deal with his son's shocking death and briefly visits him in a hospital after he's just died. He then commits a shocking family act.
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • Life for immigrants in the U.S.
  • How such a housing issue could occur.
  • Cultural differences between Americans and Iranians. In one scene, Behrani proudly states that he and his family are not like shallow Americans.
  • Government mistakes and how they can harm people's lives.
  • Alcoholism.
  • Kathy tries to kill herself first via shooting and then by an overdose.
  • VIOLENCE
  • Nadi (who's Iranian) states that she didn't come to America to live like an Arab and gypsy (meaning constantly moving from home to home). After she storms out, Behrani responds by throwing something that breaks near her head (before speaking his mind).
  • Kathy, who's barefoot, steps down off a ladder and onto a board with nails sticking up from it. At least 1 nail then impales her foot (attaching the board to it), with blood then dripping from that onto the ground, while the board and her foot are bloody.
  • Behrani physically escorts Kathy off his property, grabbing her arm hard while doing so (we later see bruises on her arm).
  • Nadi is upset with him over problems with the house and then says that he's the reason they had to leave Iran. In response, Behrani backhands his wife, prompting their son to struggle with him and some furniture is broken in the process.
  • Behrani once again physically escorts Kathy off his property by the arm and she bangs her head when he forces her inside her car.
  • Distraught over what's occurred, Kathy holds a handgun to her chin, in her mouth and then against her head, repeatedly pulling the trigger (but the gun doesn't fire). Behrani then finds her, grabs the gun and then helps her.
  • Kathy finds pills in a bathroom, and then takes many (drinking bathwater to down them) in an unsuccessful suicide attempt.
  • Lester arrives at Behrani's house, breaking a window to get in, and believes he and his wife have done harm to Kathy (they haven't). He then holds his gun on Behrani and makes him put Kathy down.
  • Lester overturns a table in anger.
  • A young man grabs another man's gun and holds it on him as a third grabs the gunman around the neck. The gunman then elbows the third man in the gut and the first backs away and into the sight of other cops who then shoot him several times (with very bloody results).
  • A husband poisons his wife's tea with prescription medication (in a mercy killing sort of way, and she seems to know or guess what's occurring). He then sees her die.
  • A man commits suicide by placing a plastic bag over his head and then wrapping thick tape around his neck. He then lies back and we see his labored breathing and then eventual death (in a disturbing moment).



  • Reviewed November 25, 2003 / Posted December 26, 2003

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