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I was invited to a screening of The Peaceful Warrior in NYC Thursday
April 13th, having just learned of this film's existence a few days
I was looking forward to the film, but with some trepidation, considering that prior attempts at communicating spiritually oriented books or ideas had fallen short of my expectations and had fundamentally failed to convey to the audience a transforming inner experience; witness What the Bleep, Siddhartha, Little Buddha, and others.
Let me say this, simply and directly. They got it right this time, and they did it in a way which could be embraced by crowds at the multiplexes. By impressing the discovery of bona fide spiritual truths on a recognizable sports template, the movie makers will be carrying under-appreciated ideas and experiences to the masses. At least I hope so! I actually woke up early the morning after seeing this, with my mind full of things I might say in an exhaustive review. Never in my life have I felt that way about a movie before.
The reason this movie succeeds is that it follows one of the most basic rules for good story-telling: it shows rather than tells. Although some fundamental spiritual ideas are described with words, it is the plot and character development that proves the truth of those words. You see the transcendence and the realizations in the faces of the characters, and you are not left to wonder why. You understand.
The story, based on a book by Dan Millman, follows a college gymnast who has great potential but whose desire for success is one of the main obstacles standing in the way of that potential. In his mindless pursuit of a goal, he becomes sucked into the deep dark hole of life-is-what-happens-while-you're-making-other-plans. In its simplest message, our hero's real challenge is to find happiness by being present and finding interest and love for what's right in front of him.
The film doesn't try to oversimplify the content of a spiritual path into a single dogma; there are many other seeds of thought strewn along the path by Socrates, each of which could have been the basis for a different struggle to transcend relative unconsciousness.
For many years I have been convinced that non-religious spiritual thought and experience could be something to drive the world in a new direction. This movie provides an example of what life can be like if we ponder these thoughts and implement them in our lives in a concrete and practical way. It's not necessary to be a champion gymnast to derive the fundamental teachings from this film. It is a teaching that anyone can understand. This is why I see that The Peaceful Warrior can inspire those who embrace the possibilities which it offers to become peaceful guerrilla warriors, working tirelessly underneath the radar, changing the world.
This is not only a good movie, it's an important one.
I've long been a fan of the book upon which this film is based -- Dan
Millman's The Way of the Peaceful Warrior.
If you've read the book, you know its central lesson is learning how to live in the moment.
Filled with memorable aphorisms, the book is part novel, part autobiography, and part spiritual guidebook -- and I have to admit that I was nervous about how the book would translate to the big screen.
But I was lucky enough to catch an advance screening of the film. And for fans of the book like me -- and people who've never read it -- this film delivers.
Nick Nolte's performance as Socrates is one of the best he's ever given. Scott Mechlowicz does a great job showing us the transformation of Dan Millman. And the feeling one has when one walks out of the theater-- of wanting to seize every moment that life offers you-- is a feeling that we don't get often enough. That feeling is worth the price of admission alone.
Peaceful Warrior is that rare film that manages to be hugely inspirational without being cheesy. It's well worth seeing.
I saw this movie at a screening,(ironically at UCLA) and I really liked
it. The only part I didn't like about it was the odd editing they did
to make UCLA look like Cal. Of course, I'm a Bruin, so maybe I could
tell the differences more.
The movie itself was sad, but at the same time, inspiring. One of the best parts of this movie is the student-teacher relationship between Dan and Socrates, his mentor. This movie hits home because it almost portrays the classic American Dream and the many people who chase it. Dan Milliman, the main character, is living the good life: he's one of the best athletes on the team, popular with the girls, still gets excellent grades. In all, his life is perfect. Yet, in a strange way, he's not entirely satisfied with his life, and you can see that the way he is living isn't good for his well-being. When he meets his mentor, he goes through an entire mental cleansing that is portrayed with humor and poignancy.
In the end, the point of this movie is not whether he reaches his goal or not, but the process of going there, and thats what makes this movie worthwhile.
I've appreciated Dan Millman's work for many years, and I have looked
forward to seeing how well this film would be done. I saw it last night
at a preview screening, and I was very pleased, and very moved, by it.
The message is profound and important. While at one level it might be
dismissed as something "we already know", when we look around our
society, it's obvious we don't. Last night the actors themselves in a
live teleconference after the screening shared how -- unlike most of
their work -- being involved in THIS film changed their own lives too.
There are many moments which are quite funny. There is much that is quite moving. If you are at all open to the real story in the film, you will not walk out of the theater thinking only of your next snack.
There is not a classic battle between good guys and bad guys here. Rather it gives us some tools and insight to deal with the conflicts within ourselves. I hope that many, many people get to see this film.
I read the book back in the mid '80s and at that time there was much I
did not understand fully,I may have thought I did however as the last
20 years have bloomed in my life I know that my views were clouded by
what I thought I knew rather than the experiences and revelations which
come to a life consciously lived.
That is what this movie is all about,breaking free from all the misconceptions we have and living in the moment,a moment that is rich with all the things we think are missing and in actuality are present in every heartbeat,so close and in our face that most of us miss it.
Its what Socrates calls being asleep while walking around living our lives and missing the fullness of life which surrounds us completely.
I saw this movie then re-read the book and while I would recommend the book over the Movie,if you go into the theater with a mind willing to see something new about yourself,as opposed to being a critic,then it is possible to come away with a new prospective about your place in this world.
Of course letting go of what we call mind would be even better.
If anyone has ever read "The Art Of War" by Sun Tzu then you know what the Peaceful Warrior concept is all about. The greatest warrior of all is one who has resolved the battle within oneself.
That is what this Movie is showing us and in my view the human race would be far better if all did this work.
Very few movies actually leave you with something to consider about how we run our lives in the way this one does and if you are willing to be open to these lessons,then you will get far more than the price of admission.
This one is worth 10 stars,for what it shows us about ourselves.
I highly recommend this movie. Actually there are two movies, an excellent sports movie, and and even better movie about the human spirit. There are many important messages. It really is amazing what you can do when you are truly in the now, completely present. Nick Nolte plays a very grounded sage who's ability to teach Dan with out preaching could get him nominated for best supporting actor. I loved Scott Mechlowicz as Dan. He surely is one of then best young actors in the business. The fact that you still love him in the beginning when he is so full of himself and his self importance is a tribute to Scott as a person and his acting ability. And who wouldn't want Amy Smart to heal his or her broken heart.
A truly inspiring movie that everyone can relate to in some way. This movie is not going to please everyone because you have to see it for what it is, a movie about self awareness, its not a typical 'lets go out on a Friday night to be entertained' kind of movie. It's not just about gymnasts; anyone can relate to it. Take this movie for what it is, don't read too far into the message and you will enjoy it. Some people are saying it's a cheesy movie with an overplayed message, but I say that those people don't even see what the movie is about. Maybe it didn't speak to them, and maybe their expectations were off. The message is certainly not over-played, and there needs to be more movies of this up-coming genre.
I read the Novel in year 2000. The book literally changed my DNA. There
is such magic in the way the story is told it really sinks into your
fibers. The movie is exactly the fantasy I saw in my head as I read
each page of this inspired book. The biggest thing that hit home is how
our Ego can run our lives and trick us into believing it is actually
who we are. There is a powerful scene in this film around the above
comment on Ego. For that reason alone, it should not be missed and will
be remembered for a lifetime.
When the student is ready the teacher will appear, and vice versa.
I highly recommend it. Kate Romero President-CEO Guardian Angel Ent., Inc. www.guardianangelmanagement.com
I have seen Peaceful Warrior three times and get more out of it with each showing! Everyone who has come to see it plans on seeing it again and they are bringing more friends. I think this is the summer time "sleeper" hit. It has opened in limited release on the West coast, but will get a wider release in the upcoming weeks. Not only is it entertaining, it is loaded with great messages without being preachy and saccharine-laced. The camera-work, editing, direction, and acting are all first rate. It is clear that this film is a labor of love as opposed to a labor of over the top, slam-bang, car chasing, explosion laced commercialism. If you are looking for a true feel good movie for a change, get out and see this one.
As a huge fan of this book, I applaud Nic, Scott and the production team involved in getting this movie off the ground. This story must not have been easy to get made. But this is the most important movie of today, for today. I did find the musical cues to be overly used and not as dramatic as they could've been, but aside from this I was at the edge of my seat, waiting for NIc to add some wisdom to my life, so that I can go out there and be a better person. Nic, as the character of Soc does just that. The movie delivers where it should, straight to your heart. In this day of the much necessary age of awareness I HIGHLY recommend anyone who wants to be better and even be the best they can be to go and watch this film, recommend this film, watch it again, buy it on DVD and support these types of projects in any way you can. Imagine if we can get the kids of today to truly understand the lessons presented in this movie - it could change the world and the medium of film reaches enough people to do just that.
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