A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that 360, which is loosely based on the 1900 play La Ronde, follows different pairs of characters, usually before, during, or after a sexual encounter. With sexuality the unifying theme in the international drama, the movie definitely isn't meant for anyone but adults and the most mature older teens. The sexual content includes nudity, fairly graphic displays of prostitution, adultery, and even the emotional turmoil of a sexual offender trying to control his urges. Language is strong -- "f--k," "a--hole," "s--t" and more -- and violence includes aggressive sex and a bloody double murder.
What's the story?
Brazilian director Fernando Meirelles adapts the themes from playwright Arthur Schnitzler's fin de siecle play La Ronde, in which 10 pairs of characters meet before and after sexual encounters. Like a Viennese waltz, the story shifts from pairing to pairing but always connects with a previously met duo. The story begins and ends with Mirka (Lucia Siposova), a beautiful Eastern European woman auditioning to become a high-end call girl in Vienna. Her first client, English businessman Michael (Jude Law), chickens out before they can meet -- while, unbeknownst to him, his wife, Rose (Rachel Weisz), is having an affair back in London with Brazilian photographer Rui (Juliano Cazarre). Other pairings include Rui's jilted ex, Laura (Maria Flor), who connects with an older man (Anthony Hopkins) on a plane trip and comes on to a mysterious guy (Ben Foster) who's actually a reformed sex offender trying to change his life. The action moves from the Old World to the New and back again before following Mirka's exploits one final time.
Is it any good?
Meirelles is a specialist in stylized, well-acted dramas like The Constant Gardener and City of God, and 360 continues in that vein but isn't quite as compelling a story as his previous work. It's not all the globe-trotting that makes the story feel disconnected -- the director has a gift for showing the intimacy of moments that take place in crowded cities or airports -- but the fact that some storylines are riveting and tender while others are confusing and left dangling.
It's also disturbing that sexuality is explored more for its power to alienate and injure than to unite and empower. Although Rose and Michael reconnect, nearly everyone else has a tragic ending. The saddest subplot, by far, is the Paris vignette: A widowed Algerian dentist falls for his Russian hygienist, a lonely woman completely unappreciated by her husband, who's low-level henchman of sorts. After his imam implores him to do the right thing, the dentist unexpectedly fires her, despite their obvious chemistry and camaraderie. This is an ensemble worth watching, but it's not a fully satisfying film.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about what they think the filmmaker is trying to say about the global reach of our actions. Is sexuality the driving medium of communication between people? How can parents and teens communicate better about sex and relationships?
Which vignette impacted you the most? Why do some stories seem to connect more than others? Did the fact that 360 took place in various cities around the world make it more difficult to understand?
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