Gothika

Posted on November 17, 2003 at 6:50 pm

C
Lowest Recommended Age: Mature High Schooler
Profanity: Some very strong language
Alcohol/ Drugs: Smoking
Violence/ Scariness: Graphic and grisly images of violence; creepy and very scary peril, murders
Diversity Issues: None
Date Released to Theaters: 2003

Dr. Miranda Gray (Halle Berry) explains that “Logic is overrated” in the middle of a climactic confrontation. It feels like a last-minute attempt to justify the resolution of a movie that begins as a promisingly creepy thriller but then falls apart.

Miranda is a psychiatrist at a facility for the criminally insane. The director of the facility is her husband, Doug (Charles S. Dutton). Driving home on a dark and stormy night, Miranda swerves to avoid hitting a girl standing in the road. When she gets out of the car, she sees that the girl is badly hurt. Miranda tries to talk to her. The next thing she knows, she wakes up in the mental hospital, but now she is on the other side of the glass wall. She is a patient. Doug has been murdered, and all of the evidence points to Miranda as the killer. How can she find out what really happened if everyone thinks she is crazy?

Director Mathieu Kassovitz (who played the love interest in Amelie) creates a nicely creepy feeling, though he overdoes the flickering lights and the guess-what’s-just-out-of-her/our-field-of-vision surprises. But the last half and especially the last half hour are both predictable and presposterous.

Parents should know that this movie has intense peril and disturbing, graphic, and grisly images of violence. There are references to extremely violent crimes. There is nudity in a scene of a group shower and a joke about circumcision. Characters use very strong language. One positive note is the portrayal of a strong, intelligent, resourceful black woman.

Families who see this movie should talk about Pete’s comment that “the ability to repress is actually a vital survival tool.” What other survival tools did Miranda demonstrate?

Families who enjoy this movie will also enjoy Alfred Hitchcock’s Spellbound.

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