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Holy Smoke (1999)

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Ruth's been brainwashed by a guru in Delhi, India. Her parents in Sydney hire a specialist in reversing this. Ruth is tricked to return to Australia and is isolated in an outback cabin with the specialist. It gets messy.

Director:

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

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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 ... Dad
George Rafael ... Yani (as George Mangos)
Kerry Walker ... Puss
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
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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 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 »
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Details

Official Sites:

Miramax | Official Facebook

Country:

USA | Australia

Language:

English | Hindi

Release Date:

18 February 2000 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Holy Smoke! See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$33,307, 5 December 1999

Gross USA:

$1,765,545

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$1,765,545
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 »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film was nominated for the Golden Lion Award at the Venice Film Festival in 1999 but lost to Zhang Yimou's Not One Less (1999). 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: 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 »

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

Referenced in Jersey Girl (2004) See more »

Soundtracks

Indian Ashram Music
Composed by Shiva Vyas
Performed by Shiva Vyas and Company
See more »

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User Reviews

Great Performances, Strange Story
6 March 2009 | by Michael_ElliottSee all my reviews

Holy Smoke (1999)

** 1/2 (out of 4)

Extremely bizarre story of a young woman named Ruth (Kate Winslet) who gets involved in an Indian cult, which worries her family. The family brings in a deprogrammer (Harvey Keitel) who is a specialist at breaking young woman who have fallen under the spell of cult members. I can't say this is a totally winning film but it did keep me entertained from start to finish and just when you thought it couldn't get any stranger it certainly does in its second half. This film really isn't about cults but instead the struggles between men and women. The first film has Keitel pulling his magic on Winslet who, in the second half, gets her revenge by putting her hooks into him. Whereas the first film has some sort of religious undertone the second half is a weird sexual journey, which includes Winslet in a full nudity scene, one with her kissing a woman and we even get to see Keitel in a dress walking around a desert in one boot. I'm really not sure what the film is trying to say or if its even trying to say anything at all. Campion is best known for The Piano, which also had Keitel but that film seems normal compared to this one. I've heard people call this a feminist movie, which might be correct but again the ending would lead you to believe this isn't correct. The movie is all over the map in terms of what it's trying to say and do so I guess it's going to be up to the viewer to try and make up their own mind. I'm sure many people will find the film slow and boring but the pacing is what dragged me into the movie and got me caught up with the characters. I think fans of Keitel and Winslet will be the ones walking away entertained because both give great performances and really work well together. Both are so deep into their roles that you can't help but be fascinated by each step they make and in the end they're what saves an otherwise pointless film.


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