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Aug 16, 2004

MPAA Rating:


Run Time:



Greg Kinnear

Rebecca Romijn

Robert De Niro


2004 Lions Gate Films

Still shot from the movie: Godsend.

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Reviewed by

Overall D+
Run Time102

Making the Grades

Moving out of the city into a nice country house with their eight-year-old son seems like the perfect plan for Paul (Greg Kinnear) and Jessie Duncan (Rebecca Romijn-Stamos). But when Adam (Cameron Bright) is tragically killed in a freak accident, the world crumbles around the young couple.

Struggling to accept their loss, the grieving parents are guarded when a former acquaintance of Jessie's approaches them before the funeral. Promising to assuage their grief, Dr. Richard Wells (Robert De Niro) explains his findings in cell research and cloning. Using a single cell from Adam's lifeless body, he can reproduce their son and give them back their child. Although they know the procedure is illegal, dangerous and ethically questionable, the distraught parents can't resist. Swearing Paul and Jessie to strict confidentiality, the secretive physician whisks them off to his high tech medical facility in a small rural town.

Nine months later, a bouncing baby boy is placed in their arms.

This Adam looks just like his predecessor with a quick smile and infectious giggle. And his life seems to play out with an uncanny predictability. But as the years pass they realize he's becoming very different--eerily distant and racked with night terrors. His vacant stares and frightening trances leave his parents terrified.

Turning to Dr. Wells for answers, they stumble upon dark secrets about their little boy and the doctor who played God.

While the unfathomable pain of the couple can't be questioned, the actions of the doctor seem suspect from the first. Once Paul and Jessie agree to undergo the procedure, the doctor puts them up in a classic manor with a winding staircase and a dark basement that spawns instant misgivings. Set deep in a wooded lot along a gravel road, the new residence is ominous even before the obviously menacing music begins to play. It doesn't take much imagination (even if you didn't see the trailer) to realize things aren't going to bode well for the young tenants.

Relying heavily on the ?jump in your seat? factor to advance the story, the script probes the ethics that should accompany an accelerating ability to reproduce life in the scientific world. While that question is a good one, it (along with other queries) is left unanswered in favor of disturbing dream sequences and a passionate encounter, including some nudity, between husband and wife.

Unfortunately, the plot holes add up after a while and the element of surprise begins to wear thin. Giving birth to evil isn't a new story line, and maybe like the Duncan's boy-child duplicate, clones aren't quite as good the second time around.

Discussion Ideas After The Movie

Teaching ideas and topics to discuss about Godsend.

Dr. Wells believes that having the ability to do something, also gives him the right to do it. Do you agree with his logic? Do we have scientific and technological capabilities that should not be used because of moral and ethical reasons?

How did the Duncan’s decision to work with Dr. Wells interfere with their ability to grieve for their loss?

What ingredients do this movie’s producers use to create a thriller? What factors make for a movie scary for you?

Canadian Movie Ratings

PG Frightening Scenes, Coarse Language
AB 14A
MB 14A Frightening ScenesControversial Subject Matter-----
ON 14A Frightening Scenes, Mature Theme, Not Recommended for Young Children
QC 13+

Canadian Home Video Rating: 14A

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