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Parents' Guide to

The English Patient

By Sarah Orrick, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 16+

Stunning, complex mature emotional drama.

Movie R 1996 160 minutes
The English Patient Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 14+

Based on 1 parent review

age 14+

English Patient

This movie is one of my favorites. Ralph Fiennes perfectly conveys an unhappy man unhappily in love with someone else's wife at the start of the war. It's not a love story per-say, but definately has a star-crossed lovers theme you can feel through the screen. Meanwhile, there is some gore and some sex, involving a character getting his thumbs lopped off in an interrogation room, and adulterate intercourse. You see a woman's body completely naked in a sexual manner. But it's still very much worth it for the inspiring plotline and amazing characters.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (1 ):
Kids say (1 ):

Despite Oscar wins and high praise, THE ENGLISH PATIENT requires a certain type of viewer to appreciate its plot. There are copious flashbacks, and the often dark story unfolds slowly. Based on a novel, the film suffers from a simultaneous lack and abundance of detail. Some scenes fail to further the plot, while others need more explanation. The film could go in a million directions, but it floats through the material to arrive at an unfulfilling ending. All of this, however, is easy to overlook because the film is so visually stunning.

The supporting cast is brilliant – Juliette Binoche and Kristin Scott Thomas in particular give excellent performances, and Colin Firth leaves an indelible mark. Ralph Fiennes imparts to his character a distinct emotional distance, which works well to establish the character, but makes it hard for him to gain the viewer's sympathy, or even explain how another character falls in love with him.

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