7.3/10
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34 user 24 critic

Drowning by Numbers (1988)

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1:24 | Clip
Three generations of women all share the same problem: marriage woes, and they want to put an end to it.

Director:

Peter Greenaway

Writer:

Peter Greenaway
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3 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Joan Plowright ... Cissie Colpitts 1
Juliet Stevenson ... Cissie Colpitts 2
Joely Richardson ... Cissie Colpitts 3
Bernard Hill ... Madgett
Jason Edwards ... Smut
Bryan Pringle ... Jake
Trevor Cooper ... Hardy
David Morrissey ... Bellamy
John Rogan John Rogan ... Gregory
Paul Mooney Paul Mooney ... Teigan
Jane Gurnett Jane Gurnett ... Nancy
Kenny Ireland Kenny Ireland ... Jonah Bognor
Michael Percival Michael Percival ... Moses Bognor
Joanna Dickens Joanna Dickens ... Mrs. Hardy
Janine Duvitski Janine Duvitski ... Marina Bellamy
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Storyline

Tired of her husband's philandering ways, the mother of two daughters drowns her husband. With the reluctant help of the local coroner, the murder is covered up. Her daughters are having similar problems with relationships, and tend to follow their mother's example, and the coroner becomes reluctantly involved in their murders as well. As the plot progresses, visual and spoken numbers appear in the scenes, counting from one to 100. Written by Ed Sutton <esutton@mindspring.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The great death game.

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for numerous scenes of nudity and sensuality | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK | Netherlands

Language:

English

Release Date:

June 1991 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Conspiración de mujeres See more »

Filming Locations:

Suffolk, England, UK

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Box Office

Gross USA:

$424,773
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The painting in Madgett's room is that of Peter Bruegel's 'Children's Games (1560)'. See more »

Quotes

Smut: The object of this game is to dare to fall with a noose around your neck from a place sufficiently high enough off the ground, such that the fall will hang you. The object of the game is to punish those who have caused great unhappiness by their selfish actions. This is the best game of all, because the winner is also the loser, and the judge's decision is always final.
See more »


Soundtracks

2nd Movement of Mozart's Sinfonia Concertante for Violin, Viola and Orchestra K354
Music by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (as Mozart)
Performed by Alexander Balanescu (violin) and Jonathan Carney (viola)
See more »

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User Reviews

Good surprise.
5 December 2001 | by arkadin-1See all my reviews

In "Drowning by Numbers" Peter Greenaway managed to find the thin line between the art movies and the audience-pleasing comedies. His other films, like "The Draughtsman's Contract" are visually arresting but very hard to understand and to stay with. I worried a little bit before I sat down watching this film but I spent a cheerful evening in front of the TV. Hilarious dialogues and monologues are matched with Sacha Vierny's beautiful photography and Greenaway's distinctive and moody sets and atmosphere. Plowright, Stevenson and Richardson are equally terrific, not to mention Bernard Hill as the corny coroner. The debuting Jason Edwards is one of the highlights of the film. His strange behaviour and explanations of the newly invented games are the funniest moments in the film. The final scene is one of the most bizarre closing ever put on screen. Unfortunately, this film was faded by the other commercially successful English films of the late 80s, early 90s (e.g. The Fish Called: Wanda), but if you have the opportunity to watch this film don't miss it. It's highly recommended.


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