But there's no getting around it: Birthoffers the nuttiest apologia ever for pedophilia. If the sexes were reversed, it's doubtful the movie would get a wide U.S. release; imagine the outcry if a director were to show a 10-year-old girl stripping off her clothes and climbing into a bath with a nude man in his late 30s. That scene, disturbing as it is even in context, is not reason to loathe the movie. What's troublesome is that the filmmakers want to have it both ways: They do everything to convince Anna and the audience that this kid isSean, and that it might indeed be OK to run off with a 10-year-old if you're in love, then cop out just before Anna's about to throw away her life. They simply let her off the hook by waving away the entire plot as though it were bothersome cigarette smoke. You're almost tempted to laugh at Birthby the end, but by then you're too busy cursing it to bother.
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