United States of Leland, The

MPAA Rating: R

Entertainment: +2

Content: -2 1/2

Leland Fitzgerald (Ryan Gosling) is a 16-year-old who struggles with the realities of life and has a somewhat intermittent and detached relationship with his father, Albert Fitzgerald (Kevin Spacey). Evidence suggests Leland killed an autistic child out of sympathy, causing unimaginable grief and fracturing the family of the murdered victim. He ends up in a juvenile hall, where he meets teacher Mr. Pearl (Don Cheadle). Intrigued and stirred in his heart by Lelands crime, Mr. Pearl sets out to discover why Leland committed such a horrific act. Through many discussions about life, peoples mistakes and evil in the world, Mr. Pearl begins to discover the answer. The discovery is shocking and sends him on an introspective journey, which leads him to see life through a new lens.

The film addresses the pain of this world and how people choose to cope with it. It grapples with the sanctity of human life through its depiction of real-life events having to do with euthanasia. The movie is not as clear as the Bible in the recognition that the value of a living soul, whether perfect or imperfect in the worlds eyes, is valued greatly by God who is the creator of all souls. The main character makes a big mistake in thinking that the life of someone with autism is less sacred than the life of another without such a challenge, be it physical, mental or emotional. Drug use and drinking occurs throughout the film but is depicted as destructive. And there is unfortunately an excessive use of crudities and obscenities that while real to life could have been toned down. The United States of Leland raises good issues for discussion but fails to take a biblical stand on the matter and contains too much inappropriate material for a Preview approval.

Preview Reviewer: Troy Dandrea
Paramount Classics

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 (13) times mild (damn 3), moderate (bastard 4), strong (ass 4, bitch 2)

Obscene Language: Many (37) times strong (f-word 25, s-word 12)

Profanity: Few (2) times strong (GD 1, JC 1)

Violence: Many times moderate (stabbing of a man, mild scenes of blood, child kicked several times in ribs, blood dripping from a mans hand from an implied stabbing)

Sex: Few times mild (two scenes of couple in bed kissing with only bare backs showing)

Nudity: Few times mild (two scenes of teenage girl in bra)

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: Several times moderate (explicit references to having sex)

Drugs: Many times mild (cigarette smoking because of grief, implied use of alcohol and illegal drugs shown as destructive); moderate (drinking portrayed as cool); strong (graphic use of drugs by needle injection but shown as depressive and destructive)

Other: Appropriate use of God 5 times

Running Time: 100 minutes
Intended Audience: Adults and Young Adults

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