|Index||5 reviews in total|
The Heart of the Beholder is the story of a dreamer who finally
achieved one of his dreams: his own business, a chain of video stores
in St. Louis, Mo, only to be driven out of business by a group of
fanatics who are outraged when he won't remove The Last Temptation of
Christ from the shelves of his stores. It is, as they say, based on
real events. In fact, the movie was written and directed by the man
himself on the advice, he says, of Robert Wise. Undertaking the project
helped in his recovery process. At the time I write this, he is having
trouble getting distribution for the movie.
This is a story that needed to be told. The trouble is that the movie isn't very good, more like a worse than average TV movie. The actors in the main roles don't quite pull it off. Michael Dorn in wasted in a small role. Greg Germann's performance is the best in the movie.
This is definitely a movie to see on DVD because all the background information is what makes it interesting. We learn that the most unlikely things depicted in the movie actually did happen. Freedom of speech is everywhere under threat so everybody should either see this movie or read about the story on-line.
Since this movie deals with the controversial issue of freedom of expression of even disagreeable subject matter, it is bound to elicit extreme views on all sides of the issue. HEART OF THE BEHOLDER successfully deals in a humanistic way with the controversy surrounding one business and it's belief in the free market system of making video tapes of commercial movies available for sale to those who were interested. This did not mean pornography, but rather several main stream movies that aroused objections because they dealt with subject matter that often challenged certain strongly held beliefs. While the movie definitely has a point of view, it fairly deals with all facets of the controversy and delivers an emotional impact in telling it's heartbreaking story.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
When people's control issues get mixed up in their religion, then it is
trouble for anyone who does not agree with their rigid, jargon based
belief system. This is well illustrated in "Heart of the Beholder."
Well worth the viewing. The script, however, though chock full of
possibilities, came off a bit shallow in the story-telling. I believe
this was due to the fact that there is so much of the story to tell and
you only have two hours to tell it. There are some great scenes
throughout the film where each actor gets their moment to shine.
This is a great film to see on how NOT to behave as a Christian. "Heart of the Beholder" illustrates that fundamentalist terrorism exists in every religion. There is no 'right' in ruining someone's life, livelihood, or terrorizing their family and saying that God says it's okay. One cannot say that God is love and then behave with violence, verbal or otherwise, to prove it.
I happened to have seen "Last Temptation of Christ" when it came out in the '80's and found it a great film bringing home the fact the Jesus was human, he had doubts and he most likely went to the bathroom just like the rest of us. Funny how Jesus never terrorized people into seeing things his own way. His temper tantrum in the temple was based on the fact that the vendors had turned sacred ground into a market place. In that cast he became what one might call "A Holy Terror," but never when he was teaching or healing did he behave with verbal/emotional/physical abuse. Neither should we.
I was very interested to learn about this supposed based-on-real-life
story of censorship campaign by religious folks, but was completely
unprepared for the porn content. It was such a disappointment! It may
very well have been intended to highlight an important cultural issue,
but I could not stomach the rest of the film - nor can I recommend it
Surely any corruption that may have led to the banning of Martin Scorcese's "The Last Temptation of Christ" in the community in question could have been portrayed better and without putting younger viewers at risk. As a teacher, I would have liked to had the film as a resource to spark discussion of the issues in class, but this film - sadly - would be completely inappropriate and unusable in that context. Such a wasted opportunity!
The mood of the film was also very heavily negative and one-sided, reminiscent of a political campaign rather than an educational or informative film. A better film would have compassionately portrayed both sides of the issue well enough to have sparked true debate. A documentary or docudrama, this is not.
Based on real events, yes. Based on the actual facts of those real
This movie, according to the principals, was the darling of the film festival circuit for almost three weeks. The term "film festival," again according to the principals, is any event in which four or more people watch a movie.
The movie takes the odd stance of championing freedom of speech and suppression of speech -- both under the guise of the First Amendment. Apparently, if you are "in the right," you should be able to say whatever you want, but if you are "in the wrong," anything you say is oppressive and illegal. In this movie, one group is definitely pegged as being "in the right."
Personally, I like the rules in America that say nobody has to shut up. Everybody gets to speak their mind. Even those with ugly, revolting points of view get to say what they want. That's America.
People are allowed to say "Don't shop at XXXXX. They do things we don't like. Go ask Wal-Mart, Sony, Disney, Burger King, etc. All of them have had campaigns against them.
And people are allowed to sell anything legal despite protests. Again, go ask Wal-Mart, Sony, Disney, etc.
And no crime has been committed by these protests even if one party feels "forced" to withdraw a product. They can still sell it. It's their choice.
Disney is a perfect example. They have top movies and cartoons that will never be seen again because of protests over 50 years ago. It's their choice. No law is being broken because of the protests.
In America, people are allowed to say, Don't shop at XXX, their commercials are xxx. People are allowed to say, Don't shop at XXX, they made fun of xxx. People are allowed to say, Don't shop at XXX, they sell a T-shirt with a slogan that offends us.
The oil companies, Big Tobacco, automakers, chain stores, restaurants, Wall Street -- all have endured fanatical protests of a much higher and more strident nature. Are they victims also?
The actual facts would have made an accurate, but boring, portrayal of the down-and-dirty dealings of activists versus business. Accurate and boring, yes, but quite a bit better than horribly slanted and boring.
The saving grace of this movie, unlike other doggie doo, is that you won't run across it unless you actively search for it. It has never risen to "discount bin" status.
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