War, The

MPAA Rating: PG-13

Entertainment: +4

Content: +1/2

Once in a blue moon comes along an inspirational film recommendable in spite of some offensive elements. The moon must be blue this November. The Simmons, a poor family living in rural Mississippi, have lost their home. Stephen, the father (Kevin Costner), can't hold a job because of mental problems resulting from his recent experiences in Viet Nam. His wife, Lois (Mare Winningham), works two jobs to put food on the table in their pathetic little shack. For all their poverty, however, the Simmons family is rich in love. Stephen is determined to make a difference in the world by teaching his two children, Stu and Lidia (Elijah Wood and Lexi Randall), that they can make a difference. Stu and Lidia spend the summer building a magnificent treehouse in a majestic tree near their home. Conflict arises, however, when the Lipnicki family, consisting of a mean-spirited father and five equally hateful children, makes life miserable for the Simmons kids. While all this sounds depressing, the film is not. The children are hilarious, especially Amber and Elvadine, Lidia's delightful black friends. Adventure and danger create suspense as the kids try to outsmart the bully gang. You'll laugh, cry, gasp and sigh as you watch THE WAR. Don't miss it.

Considering the uplifting nature of this film and the absence of any degenerate messages, its juvenile crudities, some obscenities and a few profanities seem overshadowed by this powerful love story. Though Stephen has problems supporting his family, his sense of responsibility to ensure his kids have a better life and a strong faith in God reveal remarkable inner strength. He tells Stu that love, not fighting, is the only thing that keeps people safe and happy. Lidia stands up for Elvadine, who is badgered by a bigoted teacher. Stu risks his life to save a young boy caught in a terrifying whirlpool. Fighting among the children includes kicking and blows to the stomach and face, with a few bloody noses shown. Flashbacks of the Viet Nam battle scenes are fairly intense as well. Ultimately, however, THE WAR becomes a story about peace, faith in God and loving thy neighbor as thyself. It has enough foul language to make its acceptability questionable, but we feel this outstanding film deserves a positive rating along with a word of caution.

Preview Reviewer: Mary Draughon
Universal Pictures, 100 Universal Blvd., Universal City, CA 91608

The following categories contain objective listings of film content which contribute to the subjective numeric Content ratings posted to the left and on the Home page.

Crude Language: Many (32) times - Mild 17, Moderate 15

Obscene Language: Many (10) times (s-word 3, other 7)

Profanity: Several (9) times - Regular 2 (G-d, slang term for J), Exclamatory 7

Violence: Several times - Moderate (Viet Nam battle scenes; children fighting with kicks, punches in stomach and face; men injured in collapsed mine; bloody faces; near drowning)

Sex: None

Nudity: Near nudity once (teacher in low-cut dress)

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: Some slang references to genitals

Drugs: Few times (children smoke)

Other: Children believe humans can become angels; children steal back their stolen property; strong family values taught; ethnic slur

Running Time:
Intended Audience: Teenagers and adults

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