5.9/10
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193 user 89 critic

Holy Smoke (1999)

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 »

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2 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

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

Taglines:

He had only one thing on his mind... but so did she! See more »

Genres:

Drama | Comedy

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

|

Language:

Release Date:

18 February 2000 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Holy Smoke!  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$33,307 (USA) (3 December 1999)

Gross:

$1,758,780 (USA) (7 April 2000)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film could had ended with Ruth falling pregnant with PJ's baby. 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 Waters: I was young once, too, and handsome. You'd have been impressed.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Jersey Girl (2004) See more »

Soundtracks

Walking Through the Fire
(Geneviève Lemon (as G. Lemon) / C. Wilson)
Performed by Geneviève Lemon (as Genevieve Lemon)
See more »

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User Reviews

Smoked Poison
30 December 2008 | by (Fraggle Rock) – See all my reviews

Jane Campion takes us to dark territory again in 'Holy Smoke' but this time with a touch of comedy. I am surprised at the negative response so many have claiming that it is anti-feminist blah blah blah or that it is a comedy with no substance. On the contrary, I find 'Holy Smoke' to be a provocative piece full of substance.

The refreshing novel concept is pretty daring and Campion balances both dark humour and intensity. She tackles various relevant themes such as respect and care within the family (the mother is the only one who seems to be concerned about what happened to her daughter in India while the father is totally indifferent), sexual manipulation, spirituality vs brainwash, power control and so on. The viewer is totally absorbed on how the de-programmer 'saves' Ruth but things take unexpected turns and we start questioning who exactly this PJ Waters is. The relationship between PJ and Ruth gradually becomes reminiscent of that between Lolita and Humbert (from Kubrick's 'Lolita'). The dysfunctional family is portrayed in a funny light but the characters's (especially the women's) despair and struggle is evident such as Mom being concerned about her daughter and Yvonne who is unhappy with her sex life. Campion, with the help of the actors, creates this whole mysterious atmosphere through the characters. We are given some nice glimpses of the isolated dry Australian landscape.

The performances are terrific. Kate Winslet, even though occasionally switches back to her own British accent, acts phenomenally. She already made a brave choice by choosing such a risky role and the actress just shows how comfortable she is in the skin of her character and mesmerizes the viewer. Harvey Keitel does nothing short of a fine job but he is obviously overshadowed by Winslet. The supporting cast, especially Sophie Lee (as Ruth's desperate and sleazy sister-in-law) and Julie Hamilton (as the concerned and loving mother).

'Holy Smoke' is a well-made and brave film. Clearly it is not for everyone. There are very few movies that are both funny and thought-provoking. 'Holy Smoke' is one such captivating film.


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