3 Needles (2006) - Rotten Tomatoes

3 Needles (2006)



Critic Consensus: In getting its message about the AIDS epidemic across, the film unfortunately sacrifices story and character.

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Movie Info

"Three Needles" is a drama that visits rural China, a plantation in South Africa, and Montreal's porn industry, to tell three separate yet universal stories, rooted to struggles with the HIV pandemic. In China, Ping is a pregnant young woman running a black market blood collection scam that creates a mini epidemic in a rural village. In Montreal, Denys is a porn actor hiding his positive HIV status in order to continue working and supporting his mother--who herself goes to extreme lengths to provide for the family's future. And, in Africa, Sister Clara is a young novice nun, driven to convert the rapidly dying Africans to Catholicism before it's too late; she makes a desperate bargain with a corrupt plantation owner to help prevent the spread of HIV in the region, bringing two nuns, who are of her same order, to accompany her on the journey.
R (adult situations)
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:


Sandra Oh
as Mary
Lucy Liu
as Jin Ping
Mabel Adams
as Nahmnru
Isabelle Cyr
as Canadian Health Care Worker
Wentahawi Dionne-Elijah
as Native Porn Actress
Thierry Fargeau
as Porn Cinematographer
Gary Farmer
as Olive's Date
Jessie Gabe
as Waitress
Simone-Elise Girard
as Porn Actress
Thantokazi Guili
as Klipikwela
Tyson Hall
as Zulu
Chin Han Ng
as Soldier Xuan
Roc LaFortune
as Porn Director
Li Li
as Walla sounds (voice)
Siv Mbelu
as Bongile
William Mtakati
as Fater Dahmnu
Ian Roberts
as Hallyday
Ian Sternthal
as Bug Chaser
Akarin Tungboriboonkit
as Provincial Representative
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News & Interviews for 3 Needles

Critic Reviews for 3 Needles

All Critics (38) | Top Critics (17)

The situations are contrived, the ironies are cheap, and the dialogue is overly blunt.

December 2, 2006
AV Club
Top Critic

If nothing else, [director Thom] Fitzgerald has demonstrated how huge a challenge the AIDS epidemic is on a worldwide scale, and how it will take a concerted, intelligent effort to solve it. It'll take a lot more than throwing money around.

Full Review… | December 1, 2006
San Francisco Chronicle
Top Critic

Only the African story feels complete, while the Chinese story is gloomily hopeless and the Montreal story is just a bad idea. 3 Needles is not about AIDS; it's about the exploitation of it.

December 1, 2006
New York Daily News
Top Critic

Broad in scope and at times visually stunning, [director Thom] Fitzgerald's project is ambitious but lacks cohesion.

Full Review… | December 1, 2006
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

It's hard to know what exactly the movie means with a lot of the choices it makes, even if, ultimately, it means well.

Full Review… | December 1, 2006
Boston Globe
Top Critic

Though not as coherent as it might be, 3 Needles, with its stunning cinematography by Thomas M. Harting, is never less than engaging and suggests powerfully the myriad reasons why AIDS, after a quarter of a century, remains so difficult to combat.

Full Review… | November 30, 2006
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for 3 Needles


I thought all 3 stories were done excellently. Stockard Channing broke my heart in her portrayal of the Mother who gave her all. I think Olympia Dukakis is one of the best, although not a personal favorite role.

Steven Espinosa
Steven Espinosa

My review back in 2007: Although this movie is filled with good actors, it falls very short of a captivating, inspiring, or intelligent story on the AIDS crisis. I was not fan's of any of these actors or the director, but due to the story subject I was willing to give it a try. The best story was the intial full story ripped from the headlines about AIDS being passed onto innocent Chinese rural citizens. What I was surprised at was that they do not touch on the cover up. After an initial sad, but very truthful story the movie goes quickly downhill from there. The second story is an idiotic and selfish story, that puts in a twist, but doesn't pay off and only is weird. I felt no sympathy for any of the characters in that second story. The third story show's the writer and director's total misunderstanding of Catholic theology, nuns, and their views. Then essentially makes a saint out of a Nun who pimps herself out to a rich western business man for the sake of the dying AID's children to make her out as some saint. It ends up being a sad and idiotic moral to a very real crisis in Africa. This story is not like Babel other than being a losely connected story in various countries. Babel shockingly showed human connection through pain, but this story instead shows nothing of the sort. Instead, it uses a very real crises as a backdrop to some interesting story telling and outright mischaracterization of a faith and promotion of some Unitarian feel good afterschool hogwash.

Ted Rohe
Ted Rohe

3 Needles is a great discussion tool for World AIDS Awareness Day that never achieves coherent shape as a three-paneled drama.

Lee Mayo
Lee Mayo

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