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"ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE MIDLANDS"
(2003) (Rhys Ifans, Shirley Henderson) (R)

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


QUICK TAKE:
Drama: A meek tire store manager must deal with the return of his live-in girlfriend's ex-husband who's plotting to win her back.
PLOT:
Dek (RHYS IFANS) is a mild-mannered tire store manager who takes a big chance when he proposes to his live-in girlfriend, Shirley (SHIRLEY HENDERSON), on national TV. In front of their friend, Carol (KATHY BURKE), her estranged husband Charlie (RICKY TOMLINSON), and everyone else, Shirley crushes Dek by turning down his offer.

One of those watching is Shirley's deadbeat husband, Jimmy (ROBERT CARLYLE), who up and left years ago and currently works as a thug, robbing people with his mates. Feeling that she's too good for a milquetoast like Dek, Jimmy sets out to return home and win back Shirley and their 12-year-old daughter, Marlene (FINN ATKINS).

From that point on, and as Jimmy's mates, including Billy (JAMES KOSMO), come looking for him and their share of their recent loot, Dek tries to ward off the romantic assault, fully aware that Shirley seems to be falling back under Jimmy's spell.

WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
Unless they're curious older teenagers or fans of someone in the cast, it doesn't seem too likely.
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: R
For language.
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
  • RHYS IFANS plays a decent and mild-mannered tire store manager who's still reeling from his live-in girlfriend turning down his proposal for marriage. He must then contend with Jimmy returning to the scene and wanting to win her back. While he ends up nearly giving up, he eventually fights his way back.
  • SHIRLEY HENDERSON plays his live-in girlfriend who turns him down and then ends up falling once again under Jimmy's spell.
  • FINN ATKINS plays their 12-year-old daughter who doesn't like Jimmy or want him to replace Dek in her and her mom's lives.
  • ROBERT CARLYLE plays a thug and deadbeat father and husband who returns home to try to win back Shirley, despite Dek being her live-in-boyfriend. He drinks and uses strong profanity.
  • JAMES KOSMO plays one of Jimmy's criminal acquaintances who roughs up some people while looking for Jimmy and his share of their loot. He uses strong profanity.
  • KATHY BURKE plays Jimmy's sister who tries to balance her familial and friendship-based relationships upon her brother's return. She uses strong profanity.
  • RICKY TOMLINSON plays her estranged husband who lives nearby, befriends Jimmy, and gives him a place to stay upon his return home.
  • CAST, CREW, & TECHNICAL INFO

    HOW OTHERS RATED THIS MOVIE


    OUR TAKE: Coming Soon
    OUR WORD TO PARENTS:
    The following is a brief summary of the content found in this R-rated drama. Profanity consists of at least 74 "f" words, while other expletives and colorful phrases are also uttered. Some non-explicit, sexually related dialogue is present and is non-sexual and brief/partial nudity, while a couple is briefly seen fooling around.

    Various characters have varying degrees of bad attitudes, while they and others drink and/or smoke. Violence consists of several fights, hitting and property damage, while some tense family material is also present. Should you still be concerned about the film's appropriateness for yourself or anyone else in your home, you may want to look more closely at our detailed listings for more specific information regarding the film's content.


    ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE
  • We see beer on a table near Jimmy as he sleeps.
  • Dek returns home with a bottle of wine.
  • Shirley and others have drinks.
  • Dek has a beer in a club where others drink.
  • A person comments that Shirley is "pissed" (drunk) and she appears to be that way.
  • Dek drinks from a mini-bottle of booze.
  • Jimmy and others have beer.
  • BLOOD/GORE
  • We see Charlie sitting on the toilet talking on the phone (but don't see any nudity or see/hear anything crude). We later see the same in another scene.
  • Jimmy has a tiny bit of blood on his mouth after being punched.
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • Jimmy and his three companions confront two clowns, hoping to rob them. Punching, hitting and struggling (including jumping on a back) ensues, with Jimmy kicking one man (we don't see the impact).
  • Jimmy then leaves the others in the lurch and races off with their stolen money.
  • We learn that Jimmy left Shirley and Marlene several years ago. He then returns and attempts to get back into their lives despite Dek's role with them.
  • Jimmy's former associates stole a van and apparently later steal other vehicles. They also act menacingly toward Dek.
  • FRIGHTENING SCENES
  • It's possible that some scenes listed "Violence" might be unsettling or suspenseful to some more sensitive viewers.
  • Jimmy's former associates storm Shirley's house looking for him and one acts menacingly toward Dek. Dek then asks the guy when he's leaving not to "do anything sexual" (played for laughs due to Dek's nervousness and that notion is the farthest thing from the hoods' minds).
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • None.
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • Phrases: "F*ck off," "F*ck this," "You f*cking bastard," "F*ck it," "Are you f*cking joking?" "Don't f*ck me around," "What a f*cking mess," "You're a f*cking disgrace," "Who f*cking asked you?" "Piece of sh*t," "Give a sh*t," "You twat," "Piece of nice ass," "Scumbag," "Don't be stupid," "Bloody" (adjective), "You bloody swamp monster," "Bimbo," "Bloody sue me," "Bloody hell," "What the hell is going on?" "You big fat liar," "Welsh wanker," "Pissed" (drunk), "Flip off," "Bollocks," "Piss off" and "Idiot."
  • Kids pile all sorts of things onto the covers over a sleeping teenager.
  • Marlene has Dek look through some binoculars after putting black shoe polish (or something similar) on the eyepieces so that they leave black rings around his eyes.
  • Jimmy has a tattoo on his neck.
  • It looks like Jimmy gives "the finger" to his former crime associates.
  • JUMP SCENES
  • The sudden sound of a baseball bat smashing a car window might startle some viewers.
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • None.
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • None.
  • PROFANITY
  • At least 74 "f" words, 5 "s" words, 1 slang term using female genitals ("tw*t"), 5 hells, 3 asses, 1 bollocks, 1 wanker, 10 uses of "Oh my God," 3 of "Oh God," 2 of "Jesus" and 1 use each of "For God's sakes," "God," "Jesus Christ," "Sweet Mother of God" and "Virgin Mary, Mother of God."
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • A TV talk show host asks Carol about how things are in the bedroom. She replies that she won't let Charlie into the house, let alone the bedroom.
  • We see what looks like the side of a bare breast on a small poster in the background of a shot (of a nude woman from the side).
  • It sounded like Dek comments on Shirley being a "piece of nice ass."
  • We see most of a 17-year-old guy's bare butt in his thong bottom as others get him out of bed.
  • As they passionately kiss (with some heavy breathing), Shirley tells Dek to come upstairs, but they're interrupted before that can happen. As they stand, Dek holds/adjusts his clothed crotch.
  • A miscellaneous young woman shows some cleavage in a revealing top.
  • While onstage, Charlie jokes about a vasectomy.
  • We briefly see Shirley with just a towel wrapped around her.
  • When Carol apparently invites her ex-husband Charlie to spend the night, she tells him to get no ideas. He replies that he won't "rummage" (sexual).
  • SMOKING
  • Jimmy smokes around 5 times, Dek smokes once and some miscellaneous characters smoke.
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • We learn that Jimmy left Shirley and Marlene several years ago.
  • Carol and Jimmy have some tense sister/brother moments and she tells him to leave.
  • Marlene is not happy that Jimmy (her biological father) is back in the picture or that Dek (her surrogate father figure) is going to run away.
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • Broken families.
  • Standing up to bullies.
  • VIOLENCE
  • Jimmy and his three companions confront two clowns, hoping to rob them. Punching, hitting and struggling (including jumping on a back) ensues, with Jimmy kicking one man (we don't see the impact).
  • A person causes something to hit Carol at a bingo parlor.
  • While upset at him, Carol jumps on Dek while he's in a recliner and then later kicks at the chair when she passes by.
  • While angry and driving, Dek accidentally smashes into and rips off Charlie's open car door and then crashes into a pole (he's okay but both cars are damaged).
  • Jimmy pushes Dek backwards and then grabs him by the jacket.
  • Carol whacks Jimmy on the head in a sisterly fashion.
  • A big thug punches Charlie (while looking for Jimmy). Charlie then pushes him back, but the thug and his two associates storm Charlie's place and struggle with and hit him (and overturn and/or break things in his place in the process). The big thug then kicks Charlie (possibly in the crotch) and then punches him on the floor.
  • Carol repeatedly bashes various parts of Dek's car with a baseball bat (damaging it quite a bit) while mad at him for being responsible for Charlie getting beat up.
  • Dek punches Jimmy and sends him to the ground.



  • Reviewed July 31, 2003 / Posted September 26, 2003

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