MOVIEmeter
SEE RANK
Up 1,335 this week

Holy Smoke (1999)

 -  Drama | Comedy  -  22 February 2000 (USA)
5.9
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 5.9/10 from 10,701 users   Metascore: 57/100
Reviews: 186 user | 88 critic | 30 from Metacritic.com

While on a journey of discovery in exotic India, beautiful young Ruth Barron falls under the influence of a charismatic religious guru. Her desperate parents then hire PJ Waters, a macho ... See full summary »

Director:

Watch Trailer
0Check in
0Share...

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 23 titles
created 23 Oct 2011
 
a list of 39 titles
created 23 Feb 2012
 
a list of 28 titles
created 26 Jun 2012
 
a list of 28 titles
created 7 months ago
 
a list of 47 titles
created 5 months ago
 

Connect with IMDb


Share this Rating

Title: Holy Smoke (1999)

Holy Smoke (1999) on IMDb 5.9/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of Holy Smoke.
3 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

In Mexico, two teenage boys and an attractive older woman embark on a road trip and learn a thing or two about life, friendship, sex, and each other.

Director: Alfonso Cuarón
Stars: Maribel Verdú, Gael García Bernal, Daniel Giménez Cacho
Wag the Dog (1997)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

Shortly before an election, a spin-doctor and a Hollywood producer join efforts to fabricate a war in order to cover up a presidential sex scandal.

Director: Barry Levinson
Stars: Dustin Hoffman, Robert De Niro, Anne Heche
Election (1999)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

A high school teacher's personal life becomes complicated as he works with students during the school elections.

Director: Alexander Payne
Stars: Matthew Broderick, Reese Witherspoon, Chris Klein
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

An estranged family of former child prodigies reunites when one of their member announces he has a terminal illness.

Director: Wes Anderson
Stars: Gene Hackman, Gwyneth Paltrow, Anjelica Huston
Wonder Boys (2000)
Drama | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

An English Professor tries to deal with his wife leaving him, the arrival of his editor who has been waiting for his book for seven years, and the various problems that his friends and associates involve him in.

Director: Curtis Hanson
Stars: Michael Douglas, Tobey Maguire, Frances McDormand
Happiness (1998)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

The lives of many individuals connected by the desire for happiness, often from sources usually considered dark or evil.

Director: Todd Solondz
Stars: Jane Adams, Jon Lovitz, Philip Seymour Hoffman
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

Satirical comedy follows the machinations of Big Tobacco's chief spokesman, Nick Naylor, who spins on behalf of cigarettes while trying to remain a role model for his twelve-year-old son.

Director: Jason Reitman
Stars: Aaron Eckhart, Cameron Bright, Maria Bello
Together (2000)
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

Elisabeth leaves her abusive and drunken husband Rolf, she packs her bags, takes the kids and goes to her brother Göran. The year is 1975 and Göran lives in a commune called Together. ... See full summary »

Director: Lukas Moodysson
Stars: Lisa Lindgren, Michael Nyqvist, Emma Samuelsson
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

A movie crew invades a small town whose residents are all too ready to give up their values for showbiz glitz.

Director: David Mamet
Stars: Philip Seymour Hoffman, William H. Macy, Rebecca Pidgeon
About Schmidt (2002)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A man upon retirement embarks on a journey to his estranged daughter's wedding only to discover more about himself and life than he ever expected.

Director: Alexander Payne
Stars: Jack Nicholson, Hope Davis, Dermot Mulroney
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

Based on the true childhood experiences of Noah Baumbach and his brother, The Squid and the Whale tells the touching story of two young boys dealing with their parents' divorce in Brooklyn in the 1980s.

Director: Noah Baumbach
Stars: Owen Kline, Jeff Daniels, Laura Linney
The Idiots (1998)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

The group of people gather at the house in Copenhagen suburb to break all the limitations and to bring out the "inner idiot" in themselves.

Director: Lars von Trier
Stars: Bodil Jørgensen, Jens Albinus, Anne Louise Hassing
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Julie Hamilton ...
Mum
Sophie Lee ...
Yvonne
...
Robbie
...
Tim
Tim Robertson ...
Dad
George Mangos ...
Yani
Kerry Walker ...
Puss
Les Dayman ...
Bill-Bill (as Leslie Dayman)
...
Prue
...
Stan (as Austen Tayshus)
Simon Anderson ...
Fabio
...
Eva Martin ...
Devotee
Edit

Storyline

While on a journey of discovery in exotic India, beautiful young Ruth Barron falls under the influence of a charismatic religious guru. Her desperate parents then hire PJ Waters, a macho cult de-programmer who confronts Ruth in a remote desert hideaway. But PJ quickly learns that he's met his match in the sexy, intelligent and iron-willed Ruth! Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

cult | india | sydney australia | guru | sect | See more »

Taglines:

Sex captive in desert hideaway...young beauty seduced by macho American twice her age. See more »

Genres:

Drama | Comedy

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong sexuality and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Country:

|

Language:

Release Date:

22 February 2000 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Holy Smoke!  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

£66,542 (UK) (7 April 2000)

Gross:

£138,350 (UK) (7 April 2000)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

According to an interview following the shoot, Kate Winslet admitted that in the urination scenes there was bag taped to her leg to pull off the effect. Finally she got frustrated and asked Jane Campion if she could just urinate herself. Campion did one take this way, but the urine was harder to control than Winslet had thought, and the take was scrapped. See more »

Goofs

As the pickup truck with Ruth and PJ pulls away near the end of the film, the camera rig and crane are reflected in the truck's rear window. See more »

Quotes

PJ: I don't hate women. I love ladies.
Ruth Barron: Ha! Ladies! You wouldn't know any. I bet you date little Barbie dolls, don't you? "Oh, you're so brainy, you're so big! Can I suck your dick?" Can I be alone now?
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Eisai to tairi mou: Episode #1.2 (2001) See more »

Soundtracks

I Put a Spell on You
(Screamin' Jay Hawkins (as J. Hawkins))
© 1956 EMI Unart Catalog Inc.
Administered by EMI Catalogue Partnership Australia Pty Ltd
Licensed by EMI Music Publishing Australia Pty Ltd
Performed by The Angels
Courtesy of Shock Records
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
Can Kate deprogram the deprogrammer?
15 March 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Kate Winslet plays Ruth Barron, a young Australian woman who goes to India and becomes smitten with the touch of a charismatic guru, so much so that she changes her name and forsakes her family to stay in India and attend to and worship the guru. Her parents become alarmed. Her mother goes to India to trick her into coming back to Australia so that she can be deprogrammed by a professional from the United States that they have hired (P.J. Waters as played by Harvey Keitel).

What director Jane Campion does with this once familiar theme is most interesting. She puts the deprogrammer to the test, so to speak, and initiates a struggle of will between the deprogrammer and his young charge. The key scene arrives as Ruth comes naked into P.J.'s arms in order to test his professionalism (and her sexual power). I don't know about you but I think a naked and passionate Kate Winslet would test any man's motivation and make him think twice about what he really wants to do.

The psychological idea behind the story is this question, What is the nature of the guru's hold on his flock? Is it spiritual or is it profane? Do the young women who follow him desire him as an alpha male or is it spiritual deliverance they seek? Naturally Ruth believes the latter and the deprogrammer the former. But what is the deprogammer's motivation? Is this just a job for him or does he feel he is helping to free his clients from some kind of mental slavery? Or is he just another sort of phony guru himself? Keitel in black hair and black moustache and devil's mini goatee dressed in black with a menacing look and a lot of physical energy (despite being 60-years-old when this film was released) contrasts sharply with Winslet's youthful beauty and beguiling voluptuousness. Strength of character is something Kate Winslet brings to any role, even including her outstanding performance as Ophelia in Kenneth Branagh's Hamlet (1996), a role that is usually played wiltingly. Here one senses that her strong will and determination are going to be quite a match for the deprogrammer who gives himself three days alone with her to break her attachment to the guru.

Two questions: One, if he is successful, will that just mean that she has transferred her allegiance from the Indian guru to him? Will it mean that his psychological strength is greater than that of the guru in far-off India? Two, in what respect is such a forced confinement with someone who is in physical control going to lead to a variant of the "Stockholm syndrome" experienced by some women held hostage, e.g., flight attendants on hijacked planes, and the famous case of Patty Hearst? Will the captive become enamored of her captor? Campion handles this most interesting theme by focusing on the sexual and carnal nature of the relationships. The test of will between P.J. and Ruth becomes a question of Can she seduce him and thereby strip him of his professionalism? The movie is candid about sex and sexuality in a way that emphasizes the power dynamics of sexual relationships. There is some full frontal nudity and the sex scenes are steamy beyond what one usually sees in an R-rated film. (If seeing Kate Winslet naked might offend you, I recommend you close your eyes.) Harvey Keitel did an outstanding job in a very demanding role and was entirely convincing (despite being a little too old for the part); but as usual Kate Winslet completely took over the film with her commanding countenance, her superior acting skills, her great concentration and her mesmerizing charisma. If there is a better, more captivating young actress working today, I don't know who she is.

Her role here might be compared with her performance in Hideous Kinky (1998) in which she goes to Morocco to find enlightenment among the Sufis. That is a more charming film, and she is outstanding, but this one gives greater range to her skills.

Notable (and watchable!) as a counterpoint to Winslet's Ruth is sexy and sleazy Sophie Lee as Yvonne who is so taken with P.J. that she fairly begs him to make love to her. Also impressive is Julie Hamilton as the woebegone and stumbling mother.

Of course I would say see this for Kate Winslet, and if you are a fan, you sure don't want to miss Holy Smoke since it includes one of her best performances; however, what really impressed me is the original and daring conception and direction by Jane Campion who is best known for The Piano (1993), a film that received an Oscar nomination for the best direction and starred Holly Hunter, Harvey Keitel and Sam Neill.

So see this for Jane Campion who is not afraid to show human nature in the raw.

(Note: Over 500 of my movie reviews are now available in my book "Cut to the Chaise Lounge or I Can't Believe I Swallowed the Remote!" Get it at Amazon!)


37 of 50 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Why did PJ.... emmaclarke781
Australians gabefan
One of the best Aussie Accents done by a none Aussie Vokerz
peeing on self puzzle_queen
God! This film was really bad...Wasn't it? ryan_gosling
Jane Campion's love of Harvey Keitel phoenix1570
Discuss Holy Smoke (1999) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?