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Not-so-Merry Holiday Films

Genocide, abortion and child abuse are not the most uplifting themes for the holiday season, but those subjects are exactly what Hollywood is delivering to theaters this year. NPR's Bob Mondello has a look at the dark side of filmdom's seasonal blitz.

Closer: An all-star cast of characters who lie, cheat and commit adultery.

Hotel Rwanda: "The story of a family man, his wife and kids. It's genuinely a thrill a minute..." But it's about genocide.

The Woodsman: A child molester is released back into the community after serving his time in jail.

The Sea Inside: A quadriplegic spends 30 years trying to win the right to die with dignity.

The Assassination of Richard Nixon: A man, played by Sean Penn, is so humiliated by life that he decides to kill the president.

Moolaadé: Explores tensions in an African village between traditional practices, such as female circumcision, and Western ideas of gender equality.

Bad Education: Pedro Almodovar's film about priestly abuse.

Vera Drake: An intimate look at abortion in the 1950s.

I Am David: A homeless 12-year-old flees a concentration camp.

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Bob Mondello, who jokes that he was a jinx at the beginning of his critical career — hired to write for every small paper that ever folded in Washington, just as it was about to collapse — saw that jinx broken in 1984 when he came to NPR.