What You Need To Know:
GREENFINGERS is a delightful, redemptive comedy. Clive Owen does a fine job as Colin, as do his fellow actors. The movie is heavily marred, however, by gratuitous strong foul language and some brief but intense sexual content, especially a gratuitous sex scene between one other convict and a young woman.
(CC, Pa, LL, V, SS, NN, A, D, M) Redemptive worldview with a couple brief, but undeveloped references to God, marred by some pagan sexual elements; 20 obscenities, 2 profanities, man splashes himself when cleaning a toilet, & urinals shown; mild violence such as smashing window, police chase thief & some fighting; one scene of depicted fornication, which results in pregnancy, & one scene of implied fornication; upper female nudity in photo, obscured upper female nudity during fornication & partial male nudity in a couple scenes; alcohol use; smoking; and, stealing & vandalizing to go back to prison.
English comedies can be wacky and charming at the same time, especially the great comedies of the 1950s and 1960s made by Ealing Studios. Although it concentrates mainly on being charming, GREENFINGERS, a new R-rated comedy from England, does have its wacky moments.
The story in GREENFINGERS focuses on a young hardened prisoner, Colin, played by Clive Owen of CROUPIER. After about 15 years in jail for committing some dastardly crime, prison officials decide that Colin has been enough of a model prisoner to be sent to a minimum security prison with a rehabilitation-minded warden. Colin, however, definitely plans on not fitting in, the reason for which turns out to be an intense sense of guilt for the awful crime he committed. Colin intends not fitting in, that is, until he meets up with Fergus, a sickly elderly inmate, who introduces Colin to the joys of gardening, the traditional English past time. Colin’s talent for gardening catches the eye of the redemptive-minded warden, who thinks he’s just hit on a new work program for the inmates. It also catches the eye of a horticultural expert. Both of these situations lead to surprising, comical developments for both Colin and his fellow convicts.
GREENFINGERS is a delightful, redemptive comedy about overcoming adversity and finding your place in society. Clive Owen does a fine job as Colin. The other actors also handle their parts well, especially Helen Mirren as Georgina Woodhouse, the horticulturalist, David Kelly as Fergus, Warren Clarke as the warden, and Natasha Little as Colin’s love interest, Primrose Woodhouse. Although the basic structure of the movie is predictable, the delight comes in watching the details evolve, including the relationships between the characters and some of the wackier developments in the story.
GREENFINGERS is heavily marred, however, by gratuitous strong foul language and a gratuitous, overly graphic sex scene with nudity between one of the other convicts and a pretty young woman who works at the prison. The movie also implies that Colin has a sexual rendezvous with Primrose, although the scene where this occurs is not graphic like the other scene. Without the depicted sexuality, nudity and profanity, GREENFINGERS could very well have been rated PG instead of R. One can only conclude that the filmmakers behind this movie have no inkling whatsoever of current movie economics in the United States, or the benefits of reaching a broad audience. To paraphrase Yul Brynner in THE KING AND I, “Tis a puzzlement.”