5.9/10
13,125
193 user 92 critic

Holy Smoke (1999)

Trailer
1:41 | Trailer

Watch Now

From $2.99 (HD) on Prime Video

ON DISC
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 P.J. Waters, a macho ... See full summary »

Director:

Jane Campion
2 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Hideous Kinky (1998)
Adventure | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

Hideous Kinky is the story of two sisters (seven and five years old) traveling with their hippie mother from London to Morocco. They encounter many adventures, new experiences, and ... See full summary »

Director: Gillies MacKinnon
Stars: Kate Winslet, Bella Riza, Saïd Taghmaoui
Jude (1996)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

A stonemason steadfastly pursues a cousin he loves. However their love is troubled as he is married to a woman who tricked him into marriage and she is married to a man she does not love.

Director: Michael Winterbottom
Stars: Christopher Eccleston, Kate Winslet, Liam Cunningham
Sweetie (1989)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

An introspective young woman's life is upturned by the arrival of her maladjusted sister.

Director: Jane Campion
Stars: Geneviève Lemon, Karen Colston, Tom Lycos
Iris I (2001)
Biography | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

True story of the lifelong romance between novelist Iris Murdoch and her husband John Bayley, from their student days through her battle with Alzheimer's disease.

Director: Richard Eyre
Stars: Judi Dench, Jim Broadbent, Kate Winslet
Biography | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

In 1920s and 1930s New Zealand, Janet Frame grows up in a poor family with lots of brothers and sisters. Already at an early age she is different from the other kids. She gets an education ... See full summary »

Director: Jane Campion
Stars: Kerry Fox, Alexia Keogh, Karen Fergusson
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

An American girl inherits a fortune and falls into a misguided relationship with a gentleman confidence artist whose true nature, including a barbed and covetous disposition, turns her life into a nightmare.

Director: Jane Campion
Stars: Nicole Kidman, John Malkovich, Barbara Hershey
Comedy | Musical | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

A down-and-dirty musical set in the world of working-class New York, tells a story of a husband's journey into infidelity and redemption when he must choose between his seductive mistress and his beleaguered wife.

Director: John Turturro
Stars: James Gandolfini, Susan Sarandon, Kate Winslet
Quills (2000)
Biography | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

In a Napoleonic era insane asylum, an inmate, the irrepressible Marquis De Sade, fights a battle of wills against a tyrannically prudish doctor.

Director: Philip Kaufman
Stars: Geoffrey Rush, Kate Winslet, Joaquin Phoenix
The Piano (1993)
Drama | Music | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A mute woman is sent to 1850s New Zealand along with her young daughter and prized piano for an arranged marriage to a wealthy landowner, but is soon lusted after by a local worker on the plantation.

Director: Jane Campion
Stars: Holly Hunter, Harvey Keitel, Sam Neill
In the Cut (2003)
Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.3/10 X  

New York City writing professor, Frannie Avery, has an affair with a police detective, who is investigating the murder of a beautiful young woman in her neighborhood.

Director: Jane Campion
Stars: Meg Ryan, Mark Ruffalo, Jennifer Jason Leigh
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

The lives of two lovelorn spouses from separate marriages, a registered sex offender, and a disgraced ex-police officer intersect as they struggle to resist their vulnerabilities and temptations in suburban Massachusetts.

Director: Todd Field
Stars: Kate Winslet, Jennifer Connelly, Patrick Wilson
Biography | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

Two teenage girls share a unique bond; their parents, concerned that the friendship is too intense, separate them, and the girls take revenge.

Director: Peter Jackson
Stars: Melanie Lynskey, Kate Winslet, Sarah Peirse
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Kate Winslet ... Ruth
Harvey Keitel ... PJ Waters
Julie Hamilton ... Mum
Sophie Lee Sophie Lee ... Yvonne
Dan Wyllie ... Robbie
Paul Goddard ... Tim
Tim Robertson Tim Robertson ... Dad
George Rafael ... Yani (as George Mangos)
Kerry Walker Kerry Walker ... Puss
Les Dayman Les Dayman ... Bill-Bill (as Leslie Dayman)
Samantha Murray Samantha Murray ... Prue
Sandy Gutman ... Stan (as Austen Tayshus)
Simon Anderson Simon Anderson ... Fabio
Pam Grier ... Carol
Eva Martin 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 P.J. Waters, a macho cult de-programmer who confronts Ruth in a remote desert hideaway. But P.J. quickly learns that he's met his match in the sexy, intelligent, and iron-willed Ruth.

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:

View content advisory »
Edit

Details

Official Sites:

Miramax | Official Facebook

Country:

USA | Australia

Language:

English

Release Date:

18 February 2000 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Holy Smoke! See more »

Edit

Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$33,307, 5 December 1999, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$1,758,780, 9 April 2000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

One of three theatrical feature film collaborations [to date, June 2018] of actor Harvey Keitel and director Jane Campion. The films are: 'The Piano' (1993), 'Holy Smoke' (1999), and 'In the Cut' (2003) (with Keitel acting in the first two). See more »

Goofs

When at first Ruth is in the middle of a circle of her relatives, she has a jewel in the middle of her forehead. Then the jewel disappears for a while and then reappears for the remainder of the scene. See more »

Quotes

PJ Waters: You know, you'd be better off crying.
See more »

Alternate Versions

The sex scene between Keitel and Winslet has been trimmed in the U.S version. On the Australian VHS, Keitel is seen putting himself between Winslet's legs and reaching down to his crotch before thrusting. As they are making love, Winslet says "Don't come, don't come", then there is the sound of Keitel doing so. He stops, and Winslet moans for a bit before the film cuts to the next scene. In the U.S version, they trim Keitel getting inbetween her legs and reaching for his crotch. The scene plays out as normal just until Keitel "comes" and the sound of Winslet moaning is also trimmed. The U.S version also misses some of the thrusting and related sounds. See more »

Connections

Featured in Zomergasten: Episode #17.1 (2004) See more »

Soundtracks

Maya, Mayi Ma - The Celebration
(Angelo Badalamenti & Chloe Goodchild)
Performed by Chloe Goodchild
Arranged by Angelo Badalamenti
Produced by Angelo Badalamenti
Anlon Music Company / ASCAP
Courtesy of MCA Music International
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
Can Kate deprogram the deprogrammer?
15 March 2006 | by DeeNine-2See 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!)


44 of 60 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 193 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Stream Popular Action and Adventure Titles With Prime Video

Explore popular action and adventure titles available to stream with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed