THE BENEFACTOR

"Physician, Heal Thyself"

Quality: Content: -2 "EXTREME CAUTION"
NoneLightModerateHeavy
Language
Violence
Sex
Nudity

Summary:

THE BENEFACTOR is the story of a wealthy physician addicted to painkillers, who blames himself for the car crash death of his best friends five years earlier, and then tries to make up for their loss by over-involving himself in the lives of their now-grown daughter and her husband. THE BENEFACTOR is well acted, especially by Richard Gere, and tells a compelling story of redemption and forgiveness, but there’s plenty of foul language and scenes of substance abuse, so extreme caution is advised.

Review:

THE BENEFACTOR is the story of a wealthy physician addicted to painkillers who blames himself for the car crash death of his best friends five years earlier, and then tries to make up for their loss by over-involving himself in the lives of their now-grown daughter and her husband. THE BENEFACTOR is well acted, especially by Richard Gere, and tells a compelling story of redemption and forgiveness, but there’s plenty of foul language and scenes of substance abuse, so extreme caution is advised.
The movie stars Richard Gere as Franny, a wealthy doctor, who’s single but happy around his two best friends, a married couple. In the opening moments, Franny rolls a marijuana cigarette and hands it to the wife, distracting her husband from driving and leading to a crash that kills them and hobbles Franny. After they die in his arms, Franny is devastated and is next seen five years later, a mess from addictions to multiple prescription painkillers and disheveled in appearance.
He finally has a chance to meet the couple’s daughter, Olivia (Dakota Fanning), again, and finds she’s pregnant and married to a young doctor named Luke (Theo James). While they’re struggling to pay off their bills, they are happy, and Franny stuns them by paying off Luke’s college bills and hiring him at the children’s hospital he runs as its benefactor.
Franny gets ever closer to Luke, taking him out on the town and leaving Olivia behind, home alone. Ultimately, he starts pressuring Luke for illegal prescriptions to feed his addictions, and Luke has to decide whether to risk his reputation and job to help this high-class junkie, or whether Franny will finally decide to break his addictive behavior.
THE BENEFACTOR is extremely well acted by Gere especially, and Theo James as the husband is involving to watch as well. Dakota Fanning as the daughter isn’t given as much to do, however. Writer/Director Andrew Renzi has noble intentions of exploring how tragic mistakes can lead to emotionally and physically devastating consequences if not dealt with properly.
Franny is a mess of a human being, but he has a great heart, and THE BENEFACTOR will move adult audiences, who are interested in a compelling tale of forgiveness, redemption and reconciliation. As Luke and Olivia have to decide how close to get to Franny, how much to help him, and how much to stand on their own two feet without his money, the movie provides a string of interesting ethical dilemmas that are usually handled in a moral fashion.
That said, there’s plenty of foul language in THE BENEFACTOR. That and the movie’s depiction of a troubled man having problems with substance abuse warrant extreme caution.

Content:

(C, B, PaPa, LLL, VV, S, AA, DD, MM) Light redemptive, moral worldview with some messages about forgiveness, reconciliation, and changing bad habits and immoral behavior, including rich doctor tries to help the daughter of two close friends who were killed in an accident the rich doctor caused, but doctor goes too far and has an addictive personality, so the question becomes, will he realize he needs to get help to change his ways; at least 37 obscenities and profanities (including some “f” words and some GD profanities), plus man throws up from alcohol; violence includes a mostly implied car crash which kills one person instantly, and another victim drifts into death while third character survives with injuries, images of bloody bodies after crash, and man addicted to painkillers cuts off tip of his finger with a knife to trick his way into a hospital and get pain medication; no sex scenes, but a visit to a club with scantily clad women, who perform for customers though nothing further happens; no explicit nudity; alcohol use and some drunkenness; smoking tobacco, reference to marijuana, man addicted to painkillers, use of Ecstasy in one scene; and, lead character has temper tantrums, is deceptive and engages in other scary behavior that facilitate his drug habit, plus he shows up intoxicated one time at a children’s hospital ward and scares the children and the doctors, and fights with a pharmacist and doctor friends about getting illegal prescriptions, but this behavior is rebuked, and [SPOILER FOLLOWS] eventually he decides to get help for his problem, and movie shows him preparing for a long stay in a rehab facility.

In Brief:

THE BENEFACTOR stars Richard Gere as Franny, a wealthy doctor, who’s single but happy around his best friends, a married couple. In the opening, Franny rolls a marijuana cigarette and hands it to the wife, distracting her husband from driving and leading to a crash that kills them and hobbles Franny. Five years later, Franny tries to help their married daughter, who’s pregnant, and her husband, a doctor. However, he overdoes it, and his addiction to painkillers and alcohol gets in the way.
THE BENEFACTOR is well acted, especially by Richard Gere, and Theo James as the husband is involving to watch as well. Writer/Director Andrew Renzi has noble intentions of exploring how tragic mistakes can lead to emotionally and physically devastating consequences if not dealt with properly. Gere’s character is a mess of a human being, but he has a great though troubled heart. So, THE BENEFACTOR will move adult audiences interested in a compelling tale of forgiveness, redemption and reconciliation. There is plenty of strong foul language, however, and depictions of substance abuse and bad behavior. So, MOVIEGUIDE® advises extreme caution.