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I went to the "Spiked" website and read the article mentioned in the
previous post. That article is a fancy bit of rationalization. The
bottom line is you don't promise anyone hope in the face of possible
death when that hope was nothing more than a lie to begin with. That is
the heart and soul of why this movie is so important. It does expose a
terrible lie perpetrated upon unsuspecting people. If they had been
told the truth, it would have been morally different. In fact, the
eventual monetary compensation the men and families received was too
small for a lifetime of hopes and deception.
The article on "Spiked" only made me appreciate the movie and the excellent acting all that much more.
The acting was powerful, and it looked like a labor of love. I think everyone involved with this film must have felt the weight of purpose for getting out the truth of what had happened. It is one of the best acted, most well written movies ever and I encourage people to see it.
First of all, I must say that this was one of the best TV movies I've ever
seen. Not only were there quality actors (Alfre Woodard, Laurence Fishburn,
Joe Morton), but the people involved succeeded in making this an honest
drama and not one where the schmaltz comes dripping out of your screen. As
for the film itself I must say that all the cast and crew were great and I
had no complaints about the film, but one. I really missed that sarcastic
edge in the end. I mean, if I was a director I would have blacked out the
screen in the end and would have inserted the conclusion of the experiment
there. You know a black screen with something like: Compared to whites,
blacks do not react differently to syphilis.' taken from
and so on. I
would have really liked that, because I (as a first year psychology student)
have read about a lot of experiments even now, some of which were morally
more acceptable than others, but never in my life have I read something as
terrible as this. Do not get me wrong, I understood the intention at the
beginning of the experiment, but I think it was unhuman to go along with it.
Even if some men had died from getting pene - something (an anti biotic), it
would have been better than the terrible death they faced through syphilis.
But what about science you ask? Screw the data!
7 out of 10
It was hard for me to sympathize with the central character, Nurse Evers, portrayed by Woodard. I thought that she betrayed the men and was in denial. Subsequently, she was locked in because of the lying and deceit and tried to make up for it by dedicating her life to the men she helped deceived. That only resulted, however, in two more wasted lives, hers and the man that loved her.
I kept wondering, what is wrong with this woman, is she nuts or what?! As far as I am concerned with the study conflicted with their true "calling" as health care professionals. During the senate investigation Ms. Evers (Woodard) was asked "What in the world did you think you were doing??!! My sentiments, exactly.
Wow!! What a real eye-opener!! I had to watch this movie for a medical
bioethics class and I really learned a lot from watching it. I thought
the way things were presented were done quite well. It really showed me
how cruel things were back in that time frame and opened my eyes to
watch things around me in the present. What a shame that this event
took place. How unfair it was to these poor men and their families. It
makes me appreciate even more the stand that people take on behalf of
I have to commend Miss Evers' for her dedication to these men and all that she tried to do to help them regardless of the consequences. It is too sad that she was not able to do more. As far as Dr. Brodus and the other Dr. goes, it is a shame that they were coerced into thinking that in just 6 mos to a year the funds would become available to give real treatment to these men.
At the end, when there were so few men left alive, I am grateful that they were compensated somewhat for the suffering they had to endure. At the same time, it saddens me that so many had to die from this horrible disease to begin with even when the medication became available.
My condolences to the families for sure and my gratitude to the AP for bringing this to the forefront.
"MEB" tells the story of the infamous "Tuskeegee Syphilis Study" by building the docudrama around a black nurse (Woodard) who hailed from the black community which was the focus of the study. The polished and well crafted film spends equal time with the lives of the Macon County black sharecroppers and the questions of medical ethics the study raised resulting in an entertaining as well as informative watch. A nice mix of docu and drama, fact and fiction.
I have seen this film several times and use it as a teaching aid when I teach my high school psychology class, as it brings up issues concerning unethical treatment as well as brain disorders (in this case syphilis). The film is VERY moving and you can't help but get absorbed into the film due to its excellent writing and characterizations. About the only reason the film doesn't merit a 10 is that the background for the movie is vague and I needed to research on my own. I found that the movie was based on a play which was a fictionalized account of a true study done in the Southern US. Like the real case, the participants were lied to and told they were getting treatment. As a result, most died a long and horrible death due to a slow disintegration of the brain. The character of Miss Evers, by the way, was fictional as were the names of the other participants. However, despite this, this in no way minimizes the horror of the real-life tale. This is a sad and moving must-see film.
I had extreme doubts before watching this movie. I mean, it's a made
for TV film, and I was assigned to watch it for an ethics portion of my
It is hands down the best movie I've ever seen made for television (although I admit I haven't seen all that many). It has excellent acting, and it deals with the subject from an interesting point of view-- instead of coming from the eyes of a patient, it's from that of a caregiver. It's historically accurate, but it still tells a compelling story.
While it illustrates how far the United States has come (in terms of minimizing racism), it still is an example of how racism is prolonged in the media. Had this movie gotten more funding and gone to the big screen, I'm sure it would've won some awards. But I suppose America still isn't ready to face its gruesome past.
Most viewers agree that the betrayal of Nurse Evers and Dr.Brodus was heinous. Regardless of whatever medical oath is taken, God's Commandments come first. And that goes for the military also. What makes Nurse Ever's and Dr.Brodus's actions more fiendish is the fact of allowing these men to live normal lives while participating in this study. Normal as being, continuing to have sexual relations with their unknowing wives, as well as other women in their community. Giving birth to children from those sexual relations in which those children entered the world infected over a 40 year period. They speak of numbers (412), but in fact , it really numbered into the thousands considering that several generations of men, woman, and children were infected through this study. In my eyes, that amounts to genocide which was sanctioned by the CDC.
Eunice Evers is a nurse who gets involved in treatment trials of
Afro-Americans in the south for syphilis. She helps the doctors treat many
hundreds of men but then the Government cuts the funding and replaces it
with funding for a study that the disease works the same in blacks as much
as whites. However the study removes the treatment for a set period and
lets the men slowly fade away.
From the HBO stable of TV movies, I was attracted by the fact that it was based on a true story that I was not aware of, plus it had a few good actors in the lead roles. The story is potentially quite moving and I don't know why the tvm didn't manage to bring that across very well. It was told reasonably well but it never had me really touched or moved. That said the story was still quite good, even if it could easily have lost a bit of running time the senate hearing was a good frame for telling the story. It was just a major problem for me that the film wasn't gripping and wasn't powerful, I mean, the Government sanctioned these men's deaths for the greater good why isn't this film setting TV sets alight!?
The cast are pretty good in the main roles but not as strong in support. In support the actors mainly just do some mugging and play African-American workingmen stereotypes. Woodard is a good actress and gives a great performance in the lead. Fishburne and Morton lend support with small but important roles and the support cast have a few nice character pieces.
Overall this is an uninvolving film and I don't really understand why at all; the story is true and powerful and the cast are all reasonably good. However the film is flat for most of the telling it's worth seeing once but it is more of a slog than it should be.
I bought this together with "A Lesson Before Dying" by the same director and whilst I found the latter well-filmed, engrossing and very good on character analysis, I found Miss Evers' Boys to be a bit of a disappointment. You don't really get taken up into the story. Picture quality is hazy and fuzzy and you end up wondering really where Miss Evers was going in life ........... nowhere ! When you read the synopsis, you think you're in for a good, emotional, heart-rending story. However, that is not the impression which was conveyed to me. Miss Evers' even refuses romance, which could have been a saving grace. Why didn't she subtilise more penicillin if she was so concerned ? I tend to like these "racial" dramas, even though they are over-romanticized, but this one left me pretty near cold !
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