What You Need To Know:
(HHH, LLL, VVV, SS, NNN, A, M) Heavy socialist worldview with fatalist outlook--no hope, no justice, no end to suffering, no recognition of God, & the idea that poor people will always be oppressed by the rich; 27 obscenities, 3 profanities & several vulgarities; violence depicted as only effective answer to injustice, workers killed in mining disaster, brutality, fighting, murder, shooting, beatings, abuse of woman, young woman strangled by senile old man, man falls to his death from roof top & then is beaten by angry crowd, his mouth stuffed with dirt & his genitals cut off by an irate old woman; adultery, promiscuity, brief marital intercourse, fornication, rape, man attempts intercourse with dying woman but is killed by another man; full male & female nudity; alcohol use & abuse; and, deception, deceit & strong class-envy.
Attempting to extol the virtues of socialism, the French film GERMINAL instead portrays a bleak, hopeless world where sorrow and suffering never end, the poor are always oppressed and the only thread of hope is to unify the working class and overthrow the abusive rich who hold all the power, wealth and resulting happiness, which is, of course, none other than the flawed and failed system of socialism. This adaptation of Emile Zola’s novel stars Gerard Depardieu and tells the story of a French miners’ strike that leads to disaster and destruction when the workers attempt to force better working conditions and higher pay.
Plagued by unbearable length and flat acting, the film also fails to support its own premise. Seemingly unaware of this failure, it also neglects to present any alternative. The workers are oppressed. Socialism and anarchy fail to relieve their plight. Many people die, pointlessly. The rich remain rich and the workers remain poor and oppressed. Yet, the film ends with a voice-over extoling the true virtues of socialism and describing the hero’s resolve to continue the fight to unite the workers of the world to obtain justice. GERMINAL is a depressingly sad commentary on humanity offering no hope and a badly flawed solution. Obscenity, violence, sex, and nudity only add to the failure of GERMINAL.