Fact-based story about the court proceedings that followed Cincinnati art museum director Dennis Barrie after his decision to display a controversial art exhibit by photographer Robert Mapplethorpe. The proceedings start with an inflamed County Sheriff who is determined to put Barrie in jail. A grand jury established to determine whether the sexually explicit photographs were obscene found seven of the pictures to possibly be obscene. The seven pictures depicted nude children, a man ramming his fist up another man's anus, and man with his finger in his penis. Other pictures in the exhibit did depict explicit nudity and sexual connotation. An obviously biased judge made derisive decisions throughout the trial. The strain of the trial also placed Barrie's marriage under duress, which ultimately led to his wife divorcing him, and led to Barrie's children being derided and physically attacked by their classmates. Written by
John Sacksteder <firstname.lastname@example.org>
This is a very engaging movie that centers around an individual's right to personal taste. It does a fine job in getting the viewer thinking. It begs definitions of community standards, personal freedoms, pornography, obscenity and first ammendment protection.
I share my grandfather's take on this subject by one of his favorite sayings: '"To each, his own," said the man who kissed the cow.' There are exhibits and shows I wouldn't go to see on a bet, but I recognize there are many that would. Fortunately, we have to right to boycott or walk out if we don't like what we see.
As far as the movie itself, it's a lot like Mapplethorpe's work. He dealt with lighting, composition and mood. Granted, some of his subjects were disturbing but the total impression was masterful. This film asks and allows us to overlook the surface matter (the actual story, direction and script) and deal with the deeper aspects of the piece. I suggest you give it a view.
As always, James Woods was wonderful.
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