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(2000) (Ed Harris, Marcia Gay Harden) (R)

Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Tense Scenes
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Mild None None None Extreme
Smoking Tense Family
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Drama: A famous abstract painter tries coping with the various, conflicting aspects of both his personal and professional lives during the 1940s and '50s.
It's Greenwich Village, 1941 and Jackson Pollock (ED HARRIS) is an American painter who's been working under the WPA Federal Art Project and living with his brother, Sande (ROBERT KNOTT), and his family. Inspired by surrealism, Pollock has begun to adopt a free, abstract style of painting that's drawn the attention of fellow painter, Lee Krasner (MARCIA GAY HARDEN).

Months later, the two are living together and one day Pollock's friend, Reuben Kadish (MATTHEW SUSSMAN) shows up with Howard Putzel (BUD CORT), the "front man" for art collector and gallery owner, Peggy Guggenheim (AMY MADIGAN). Howard is impressed with Pollock's work and soon has his boss meet the painter. Equally impressed, she agrees to put on a one-man show for him in exchange for an amorous encounter and his agreeing to paint a mural in the entryway of her house.

Despite the support of friends such as architect Tony Smith (JOHN HEARD) and artist Willem DeKooning (VAL KILMER), Pollock's show doesn't go over very well, with potential buyers and critics such as Clement Greenberg (JEFFREY TAMBOR) not sure of what to make of his work.

Despite that and his drinking problem, Pollock's mural in Guggenheim's home is a success, and soon he and Lee move to Long Island for inspiration and an escape from the city. There, his work flourishes, although his drinking and temper put a strain on their relationship and occasionally his work. From that point on, and as the years pass, Pollock becomes involved with another women, Ruth Kligman (JENNIFER CONNELLY), while trying to deal with his relationship with Lee as well as his fame and popularity and their inevitable waning.

Unless they're fans of someone in the cast or artist Jackson Pollock, it's not very likely.
For language and brief sexuality.
  • ED HARRIS plays the famous abstract painter who uses strong profanity and is a chain smoker and alcoholic. He has sex with several women (including an affair while still married), lives with Lee before marrying her, and is often self-absorbed and surly (particularly when drunk).
  • MARCIA GAY HARDEN plays his lover and then wife who mostly gives up her career to support and promote his. She smokes and briefly uses strong profanity.
  • AMY MADIGAN plays a famous art collector and gallery owner who often has a surly and conceited attitude and has sex with Pollock in one scene.
  • JENNIFER CONNELLY plays a young woman who has an affair with Pollock in his later years.
  • JEFFREY TAMBOR plays an art critic who helps and then befriends Pollock and uses some strong profanity and is apparently drunk in one scene.


    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 listed as extreme due to at least 18 uses of the "f" word, while other expletives and colorful phrases are also used. A few sexually related comments are made, while a sexual encounter is seen (somewhat graphic with movement), as is the beginning of another one and other sex is implied/suggested.

    The protagonist is an alcoholic and is often seen drinking and/or drunk (when he's surly and disrespectful to others such as when he urinates in a fireplace during a party), while others also drink. He also smokes throughout the film, while various other people also smoke.

    Various characters have varying degrees of bad/disrespectful attitudes (some of them being strong), while some tense family moments involve a husband and wife in a strained marriage. A few moments of violence are present, including a scene where several characters are killed in a car crash. While we don't see their actual deaths, the out of control moments leading up to them may be tense to some viewers.

    Should you still be concerned about the film and its appropriateness for anyone in your home who may want to see it, we suggest that you more closely examine our detailed content listings for more specific examples of what occurs in the film.

  • Pollock and another man stumble up some steps, apparently drunk.
  • Lee says that when she first met Pollock, he was "six sheets to the wind" (drunk).
  • Sande has what looks like a beer with dinner.
  • People have drinks at a reception.
  • Pollock and others drink in a club.
  • Pollock shows up late and stumbling drunk for a meeting with Guggenheim.
  • People drink at a reception, where Pollock is drunk (and relieves himself in the fireplace).
  • Jackson and his brother drink and appear to be drunk. We later see him waking up in an alley after apparently having passed out there.
  • Sande drinks a beer.
  • Lee brings Jackson a beer.
  • Jackson drinks a beer and Lee then joins him in doing so.
  • Clem drinks liquor and appears a bit intoxicated, while Jackson has a beer and others also drink.
  • Jackson has a beer.
  • Jackson and some of his buddies drink while playing poker.
  • We see Jackson trying to transport a case of beer via a bicycle. After he opens and starts to drink one, he crashes and many of the bottles break.
  • After that, we hear Jackson state that he's given up drinking for three weeks (and we see his hand twitching from the withdrawal), and Lee gives him several pills (of unknown content) to take care of that.
  • People have drinks at a reception.
  • Some people gathered at Pollock's home drink. He then comes in and pours himself many drinks that he quickly consumes (after 2 years of being sober).
  • Many years later, Pollock's back on the bottle and is mean and surly toward others, including Lee.
  • Pollock gets up in the morning and immediately has a beer.
  • Pollock drinks a beer while driving and after picking up Ruth and a friend of hers.
  • Pollock drinks more and then drives out of control (with Ruth and her friend in the car).
  • We briefly see Pollock sitting on the toilet (with his pants down), but don't hear or see any scatological material (or see any nudity).
  • While drunk at one of Peggy's parties/receptions, Pollock walks up to her fireplace and relieves himself in it in front of others (we see his urine stream).
  • Pollock is self-centered and often surly toward others throughout the film, especially when drunk.
  • Guggenheim occasionally has a surly/conceited attitude toward others (such as "I am Peggy Guggenheim!").
  • Pollock shows up late and stumbling drunk for a meeting with Guggenheim.
  • While drunk at one of Peggy's parties/receptions, Pollock walks up to her fireplace and relieves himself in it in front of others (we see his urine stream).
  • Pollock has sex with Guggenheim despite being involved with Lee.
  • In the presence of Lee who's in an adjacent room, Jackson gets too friendly with a young woman (nuzzling her neck, heavy flirting, etc.).
  • At a big family get-together, Jackson is more interested in the press about him than with his family.
  • While drunk (apparently a near constant state now), Pollock is mean, nasty and threatening to Lee.
  • Pollock has an affair with Ruth.
  • Pollock's violent outbursts (that occur in several scenes) might be unsettling or a bit tense to some viewers.
  • As Ruth and her friend become more upset and yell at him to slow down and then stop, Pollock - who's drunk - drives like a madman down the road at night, completely out of control.
  • None.
  • Phrases: "F*ck 'em," "You f*cking c*nt whore," "Go f*ck yourself," "Bullsh*t," "What the hell?" "Whore," "Crazy bitch," "Shut up," "Kiss ass" and "Bitch."
  • The film might inspire some kids to take up abstract painting.
  • While drunk at one of Peggy's parties/receptions, Pollock walks up to her fireplace and relieves himself in it in front of others.
  • None.
  • None.
  • None.
  • At least 18 "f" words (1 used sexually), 8 "s" words, 2 slang terms using female genitals ("c*nt"), 7 hells, 6 damns, 1 ass, 1 S.O.B., 5 uses of "G-damn," 2 each of "My God" and "Oh God" and 1 use of "For God's sakes" as exclamations.
  • Pollock shows up at Lee's place and, after having coffee and spending time together, they return to her place where she starts to undress, obviously as an invitation for him to stay and have sex. As such, we see her silhouette off in the distance as she gets undressed (we briefly see her in her bra in the light of her bedroom) and then see him starting to undress as he slowly approaches her room where she removes his shirt in silhouette (but the scene ends before we see anything else, although it's implied they have sex). Later, we see that they're living together.
  • We briefly see a painting that shows bare-breasted women.
  • Sensing that he owes something to Guggenheim for her support of him, Pollock asks if she wants to go to bed and she replies that she had something like that in mind. He then starts to undress (with Guggenheim undoing his pants) and then jumps on top of her on a bed. We then see him between her spread legs and she tells him to wait, but he appears to have sex with her for just a moment until he's done (we see him in his boxers moving between her legs, but we don't see any explicit contact or nudity).
  • Lee makes a sarcastic comment about "I guess it doesn't hurt that his wife is f*cking the critic."
  • During an interview and after being asked how he knows he's finished with a particular painting, Pollock replies, "How do you know when you've finished making love?"
  • A woman shows cleavage in a low-cut dress.
  • Ruth shows cleavage (and does so in other scenes in various outfits). Later, we see her in bed with Pollock, but other than that suggesting sex, we don't see any activity or nudity.
  • Pollock smokes throughout the movie (around 30 times), Lee smokes more than 10 times, while Howard, Peggy and Clem smoke a few times, Ruth and Sande smoke once, and various miscellaneous/background characters also smoke.
  • Jackson's behavior (especially when drunk) puts a progressive strain on his marriage with Lee (but no children are involved).
  • They also argue about having a family and she later gets jealous of him heavily flirting with a younger woman.
  • The historical accuracy of the real-life events as they're portrayed here.
  • What constitutes art (as in traditional vs. abstract paintings, etc.).
  • The artist as the tortured soul.
  • Pollock breaks the lock off a barn door to take a look inside (of his barn).
  • Mad at Lee for not wanting to have kids, Pollock slams his beer bottle across a table.
  • Tired at/jealous of Pollock and a young woman heavily flirting with each other, Lee rushes up and violently pushes them apart.
  • Jackson violently overturns the table at Thanksgiving (after starting to drink once again).
  • Later, while also under the influence, he smashes a chair to the floor and verbally threatens to kill Lee if she opens her mouth again.
  • We see a car crash off the road and into the woods and then hear that two of the occupants were killed in the crash (but we don't see anything beyond the car flying off the road).

  • Reviewed November 27, 2000 / Posted February 23, 2001

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