No worthy role models in De Palma's erotic thriller.
What parents need to know
Positive role models
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Passion is an erotic thriller from director Brian De Palma. There's one murder, with neck-slicing and some spurting blood, as well as some other scenes of simmering violence. But sex is the biggest issue; both female leads are sleeping with the same man, and the sex scenes are fairly strong, with some nudity (breasts). Various women are shown kissing. Language isn't constant but includes a few uses of "f--k," plus "c--t," "bitch," and "s--t." Several brands are shown, including Apple, Panasonic, and Coca-Cola. Characters drink a great deal and are sometimes drunk. One main character smokes cigarettes, and the other pops prescription pills. Although the movie focuses on powerful female executives, they're cruel and manipulative and can't be considered positive role models for teens.
What's the story?
High-level advertising executive Christine Stanford (Rachel McAdams) cultivates a close relationship with her assistant, Isabelle James (Noomi Rapace). But when Isabelle comes up with a great idea for an ad campaign, Christine blatantly steals and takes credit for it. Though Isabelle isn't entirely innocent, herself: She's secretly sleeping with Christine's boyfriend (Paul Anderson). As tension in the workplace increases, so does the subtle one-upsmanship between the women. It grows to public humiliation and blackmail, and, eventually, murder. Is Isabelle responsible, or are there even more sinister forces at work?
Is it any good?
One of the most brutally powerful of all American directors, Brian De Palma is also one of the most despised. And, as with his last several movies, PASSION is bound to be misunderstood and dismissed. Yet for more adventurous moviegoers, his intense style and charged atmosphere, as well as old-fashioned suspense, will be enough to entertain.
Remaking a 2010 French movie that starred Ludivine Sagnier and Kristin Scott Thomas, De Palma takes a relatively thin and somewhat nonsensical story and gives it everything he has. He uses heavy blues, dark shadowy slashes, split-screen, nightmares, and sudden shocks, all for maximum effect. Much like Hitchcock and Polanski -- to whom De Palma is often, unfavorably compared -- this veteran filmmaker seemingly has a plan for every shot. Nothing feels arbitrary or uncertain. Though it doesn't quite rank with De Palma's best, Passion is far better than the ordinary.
Families can talk about...
- Families can talk about how Passion's portrays sex. In this movie, is sex about love or about power? What's the difference? Parents, talk to your teens about your own values regarding sex and relationships.
- Are Christine and Isabelle strong female characters? Are they interesting? Are they positive role models? Why or why not?
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