What You Need To Know:
PERFECT STRANGER stretches credulity at times and could use a better performance from Halle Berry, but it has some intense drama and suspense once the ad executive appears. There are also some nifty twists at the end. PERFECT STRANGER is, however, a humanist movie with strong pagan content and no positive references to morality or God. It also has lots of strong foul language and some racy sex photos. It deserves extreme caution.
(H, PaPa, PC, Ho, LLL, VV, SS, NN, AA, D, MM) Light humanist worldview with strong pagan content, a politically correct, introductory moment that's brief and that attacks the family values movement for being "intolerant" of "gays," and a minor character is a lesbian who goes off with another woman at a party; at least 75 obscenities (including many "f" words), three strong profanities, six light profanities, obscene gesture; strong violence includes images of corpse picked up from water, character stabbed in chest, character hit with poker with blood smearing on wall, angry man starts to hit woman but stops, and man violently throws another man out of office; strong sexual content includes implied adultery, still photos of man with women having fornication, and married man passionately kisses unmarried woman after pursuing her and other women, including online; upper female nudity in shots of murdered woman, shot of woman's whole dead nude body but genitals obscured in shadow, rear nudity, and implied homosexuality; alcohol use and drunkenness; smoking; and, reporter lies and goes undercover to get stories, blackmail, man framed for murder, miscellaneous lying, murder covered up, etc.
PERFECT STRANGER is a secular psychological thriller that has some uneven qualities. It gets off the ground when Bruce Willis shows up as the heroine’s antagonist, but the ending has a few unintentional laughs that dilute its power.
Halle Berry stars as investigative reporter Rowena Price. Giovanni Ribisi is her computer hacking assistant, Miles, who is secretly in love with her. After their New York editors nix their scandal piece on a family values politician who has secret homosexual affairs, Rowena quits the paper. When her estranged girlfriend, Grace, is found murdered, she goes undercover as a temp worker at the agency run by Harrison Hill, a powerful ad executive played by Bruce Willis. Before she died, Grace suddenly showed up and told Rowena she had slept with Hill, a notorious playboy with a wife, who actually owns the agency. Rowena thinks Hill just may have murdered Grace to keep his affairs secret.
PERFECT STRANGER stretches credulity at times, but it has some intense drama and suspense once the ad executive appears in the story. There are also some nifty twists at the end. Halle Berry, however, is not that gifted an actress despite her Oscar®, which was undeserved. She needs someone of superior talent like Bruce Willis to play off well. The movie also has a couple shots at the end that are unintentionally laughable. Despite that, the ending is pretty good.
PERFECT STRANGER is, however, a humanist movie with strong pagan content and no positive references to morality or God. There is also that brief introductory sequence about the family values politician who secretly has homosexual affairs. In one scene, the heroine attacks him for being a hypocrite because he has sponsored legislation that’s “intolerant” of homosexuality. Of course, this pro-homosexual, immoral segment, though brief, is politically correct and shows the movie’s basically humanist, pagan character. Thankfully, however, there are no more politically correct moments. The rest of the movie plays like the typical psychological thriller with the archetypal plot twists.
PERFECT STRANGER also has lots of strong foul language, including some frank sexual dialogue. In addition, it has some sexual photos during one of several plot twists at the end. The rest of the movie’s sexual content is implied.
Ultimately, PERFECT STRANGER is a lightweight homage to the master of suspense and psychological thrillers, Alfred Hitchcock. It’s not without its own merits. For instance, one of the movie’s nods to Hitchcock is a strong visual motif regarding eyes, which harkens back to Hitchcock’s obsession with voyeurism. Voyeurism is a very cinematic psychological malady that can have many, different profound meanings beyond its sexual aspects. After all, moviegoers are like vicarious voyeurs spying on the private lives of fictional characters. A voyeur exposes secrets for his own amusement. An investigative journalist like the heroine here exposes secrets for the amusement of other people.