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As I started watching, it seemed very cheesy at first: clips are shown
of group seminars and the very small parts of the speech we are shown
don't seem to make much sense.
However, once the flashbacks start it totally blew me away! The depictions of homeless life and the struggles to regain your life are all too real and identifiable.
The emotion here and throughout the film is very strong at many parts and you can feel the silence in the room, and the tears start to form in your eyes. Now, I'm not the emotional type, however seeing Henry trying not to lose it the first time he's forced to eat out of the dumpster is hands down one of the best acting performances I've ever witnessed on the big screen!
Also this movie kept you on the edge of your seat the whole time, just to see how the main characters' life changes so drastically from beginning to end. After witnessing the flashbacks, the rest of the movie begins to make more sense.
It does not matter if you believe in God, or if you believe God speaks to Neale. The words expressed in the 'Conversations with God' books and in the film are "take at face value". We are asked to question our beliefs about the world and find our own inner truth.
This is not a movie only for the 'religious' or 'spiritual', quite the contrary this film reaches all people and walks of life and opens the questions in life that we all can identify with.
I highly encourage EVERYONE to see this film. There's something for everyone. I do not doubt that this film and the books will change lives. After seeing the ending, it makes you want to see it from the start once more. Definitely a film to be watched again and again for all age groups, for ages to come!
10 stars for the book, 9 for the movie.
(please keep in mind that my vote pertains to the dramatic presentation
of the movie, and not my feelings about the book)
I was lucky to see a sneak preview of this movie in Kansas City. It's based off of the books by Neale Donald Walsch about a different way of looking at life, god, love, and religion. It was professionally produced by Stephen Simon, the same man who produced Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure, What Dreams May Come, and a few others about which I was less familiar. There were probably five-hundred people there at the sneak preview - I was impressed.
Good Movie! The acting and production were all well-done. The presentation of a spirituality inspired by an experience Neale had after some real down points in his life (including being homeless for about a year) was engaging and succinct, yet not too pushy (gentleness being at the core of his beliefs anyway).
I say see it. If you disagree on a religious/spiritual level, then at least it will be a way for you to confirm the beliefs you hold and why you hold them. If you find something to agree with in the movie, then perhaps it has something for you and perhaps the books (Conversations with God, Communion with God, Home with God - etc) will be a helpful tool for you. They were for me.
And finally, after the movie both Neale Walsch and Stephen Simon spoke. Both were very kind and fielded questions from the audience. Their only request was that when the movie opens on a National Level (and it will here in the next few weeks I believe), that anyone inspired or affected by the films/books do their best to inform their friends and neighbors, enemies and strangers to see the movie, and send a message in the only media Hollywood understands, the message of money, stating clearly that we as a people are tired of being fed the same formula of Sex, Violence, Fear, and Hate and wish to be shown more films about the importance of compassion and love.
Thanks for reading.
I was very familiar with much of the subject matter of the books by Neale Donald Walsch whose "human story" is portrayed in this movie. I was very curious to see how this mass of spiritual material would be integrated into a story based on the trans-formative phase of his life. What I found was a story that I could identify with and which had many of the universal elements of despair, cry for help, and a response. There was no element of preaching , but rather the message to look inside oneself to the answers which abide. The acting and the cinematography was exquisite in bringing out the depths and extremes of the human experience. These were/are real everyday people with real experiences with whom any one who has ever had a sense of hopelessness can identify. The movie left me touched and uplifted and open to possibilities.
I saw a preview of this movie on Oct 22nd and very much enjoyed it.
Except for the main character's fake beard which I also found distracting (see someone else's post on this), this was a good, thought-provoking film. The overall theme should resonate with people who feel there's more to our existence and for that matter, what God is, than what we've been taught to believe in church. Probably not a movie for the extreme religious zealots out there or atheists either.
But, this is not some sort of exploitative, religious flick. You won't be hit over the head with a holier-than-thou guilt trip. And I'm not sure this or any other movie can change anyone's life either, as some may suggest. It is inspirational, though.
I've never read the books, but the author truly believes what happened to him and the movie simply chronicles his story. This sort of movie is a good way of sharing such a story with lots of others and hopefully this one was not produced just to pocket more profits.
I hope it is well-received and stays at the theaters for a long run.
Before seeing the movie, I have read Conversation with God written by
NEALE DONALD WALSCH. Although I always had a very high spiritual life,
these (3) books were a revelation to me. I was also talking to God but
only in a form of monologue. The movie and the books show otherwise;
God can actually make dialogs with you if only your heart is receptive.
I was in that state of mind when I saw the film. A great story (like I
was expected) in a small film. Being an independent low budget movie
directed by a not very skilled director (S. Simon) did not bother me at
all, because the emotion and the message went through and made this
story as one of the most important film of the decade. To me the other
great movie similar to this one is THE TRUMAN SHOW. None of these has
or will make money. But that is not important. I am persuaded the
CONVERSATION WITH GOD will touch thousand of people and that's the most
important mission for this story. Figures set up to 7 million people,
(and still counting) who read the books. My feeling is that at least
several thousand of people will be deeply touched by the movie. As a
viewer I believe in this s touching story for two reasons: the magic
writing of Neale Donald Walsch but more than that the credibility of
the character personified by a great actor Henry Czerny. ( Mission
Impossible /Boys of St-Vincent) Neale Donald Walsch in real life was 50
years old with a broken neck when he first started living homeless. And
Henry Czerny played that with a rare sensibility and a true conviction.
Thanks to both Neale and Henry. Please go see that movie who ever you
are either you read or not the books. You too can talk with God because
God will always be there for you and
9/10 Roger Cardinal Canada.
For the millions of readers of Neale Donald Walsch's superb trilogy,
"Conversations with God" and his sequel, "Tomorrow's God," this film
might have special meaning.
It chronicles in dramatic form, highlights from Author Walsch's rise from a struggling wannabe to a best-selling writer.
I've no idea how much of this is fact and how much dramatic license that Scriptor Eric DelaBarre took in fashioning his screenplay. However, I'm sure that structurally he spent too much time with Neale's rags and not enough with the transition to riches.
For over an hour our hero struggles bitterly, becoming an outcast homeless person. Then rather abruptly he's getting his writing inspiration and turning into a great success. This imbalance is probably because Eric saw the poverty part as more dramatic and emotion-driven.
Still, for those unfamiliar with Walsch and his writings, the movie may come off as not too interesting. Only when one is familiar with the writing product (for myself, the books should be included in "Great Books of the Western World" Series) that the bio takes on special meaning.
Fortunately, fine Canadian actor Henry Czerny is cast in the lead role. (Who can forget his mesmerizing performance in "Boys of St. Vincent"?) Yet, Czerny can't save the tedium of DelaBarre's script.
As for the film title, it has little to do with the book per se (how can one make a film of a book that consists entirely of dialog . . . Qs&As?).
In the end, it's appropriate that the film be judged as film and, according to that criteria, it deserves a less that satisfactory rating.
What an uplifting and life changing film. If you are tired of typical Hollywood movies (fear and violence)and want to watch something meaningful and uplifting. Then this movie is a must see. The acting was great. The writing fantastic. You will walk out of the theater feeling better about yourself and humanity. You will feel capable of accomplishing your every dream. Bring the family. Bring anyone you want to feel better about themselves and other people. This movie is quite simply amazing. In the screening I went to the film received a standing ovation. Here is an opportunity to understand the true wisdom and love of God.
Proving the so-called spiritual genre still has an awfully long way to
go before feeling half has meaningful as underlying content would
suggest, this quest for meaning and purpose remains ironically dull for
it's intended purpose. Rather then adapting Neale Donald Walsch's
massively successful spiritual dialogs, the film version of
Conversations with God plays more like a biography, detailing the
catalyst behind this reluctant author's unique journey which saw him
living on the streets to becoming an international bestseller.
In a film plagued with bad choices, choosing to go the docudrama route proves one of the only wise decisions, producing a few of the Lifetime-worthy affair's only authentic and moving sequences. It is a testament to the inept direction then, when any and all emotional sincerity takes place during the initial struggling and unanimously subsides when relaying the inspirational turn of events that will fail to inspire the viewer. Proving quite contradictory indeed, the more Conversations with God presses on the book's inspirational themes of love, surrender, and other random insights, the less impact any previously watched glimmer of truth seems to reap.
There is just a massive divide between parlaying this intensely personal information in a way that does not feel trite, even laughably condescending, to all but the most ardent of sheep-fans... Meaning, until dedicated efforts into this budding genre begin translating our inner spiritual discussions more believably by refining their techniques into many more subtle shades of consciousness, they will continue to bare the new-age brunt of jokes, contradict what they so earnestly try to capture, and give moviegoers every which reason to extract spiritual qualities from other genres that unconsciously produce this sentiment so much clearer, with a lot less strain. For the few heartfelt moments that detail Walsch's struggle with homelessness, the film rises above the emotional sterile, Hallmark-prone manipulation that the majority seems to be. However, anyone who is not already begging to enjoy this movie, having been a rabid fan of the author's work, has every right to leer in cynical jest at the film's unintentionally ironic tone of detached insincerity.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This is an abridged version of a review being published at
What if you sneezed, and God blessed you in your own voice?
This is the relationship with the Divine posited by Conversations with God (hereafter "CWG"), a new movie directed and produced by Stephen Simon and based on Neale Donald Walsch's well-loved series of books of the same name. Rather than focusing on kernels of divine wisdom that fans of the books might have expected, the film takes a biographical route. We follow Walsch's involuntary displacement from normal life, his descent into despair and the dark night of the soul and then his ultimate resurrection after he finds the inner voice he identifies as God.
Henry Czerny stars as Walsch, and there are few moments in the film in which he is not center stage. He is at his best when, recognizing just how far he has fallen, he desperately gulps a half-eaten hamburger he has rescued from a garbage dumpster. He just as easily slips into the persona of a slicker version of Walsch on the New Age talk circuit.
CWG takes a non-apologetic approach to the possibility that we each can find and depend upon a loving, guiding and nurturing inner voice. Just in case any member of the audience thinks that the movie is designed merely as a love-note to Neale Donald Walsch, in a brief coda following the closing credits the filmmakers ram home the point that we each can have these divine conversations on our own.
Some critics may quarrel that it is either arrogance or madness to claim that a person's inner voice is God. Yet even the staunchest atheist would have to admit some truth to the principle that problems cannot be resolved from the same state of consciousness in which they were created. This in turn implies that there exists a possibility, accessible to each of us, to find ever-expanding perspectives and states of consciousness from which we can express wisdom far beyond the limits of our ordinary lives. When someone is capable of reaching such a place, it hardly matters whether you call it "God," "Divine Mother," "myself" or "George Washington."
Some of the elements of the philosophy of Walsch's God may be difficult to swallow, even for card-carrying members of the New Age. For instance, the thought is expressed that when choosing how to make a living, the highest good is to do what you love. Contrast this with the fundamental message of love-what-you-do from Peaceful Warrior, another spiritually oriented film this year based on a semi-autobiographical bestseller.
There is certainly something to be said for CWG's approach of don't-do-it-if-it-doesn't-feel-good. However, one can imagine many who would rely on this value as justification for avoiding the commitment to confront and work through a difficulty and instead attempting to seek happiness by shifting from job to job and location to location and flitting from mate to mate.
Interestingly, the movie makes recurring reference to Walsch's own difficulties with love and commitment to the people for whom he cares. He acknowledges these problems and admits to his past and continuing mistakes. One wonders whether these recurring patterns in his life might have been influenced by responses he received from his inner voice that he wanted to hear, rather than what he needed to hear. This issue of wants versus needs means that anybody who seeks to embark on a path of developing such an inner dialogue must also develop the power to discern between which responses serve well and which responses are merely self-serving.
Another philosophical premise that the film presents with difficulty is a disquieting approach to the economics of spiritual life. With Neale Donald Walsch as the center of attention in this autobiographical film, we are witness not only to his wanderings through a life of poverty but also to his emergence into a world of economic plenty and riches which are awarded to him in direct response to his ability to express himself to an audience interested in spirituality. The implicit message is that spiritual pursuits bring, or can be converted into, material rewards.
While on the speaking circuit, Walsch comments to a friendly group, "Imagine a world where money was given to people who give us the biggest gifts." The problem is that most of us are taught, and believe, that a gift is given freely, with no strings, and not with a view towards measuring the return on investment. Walsch's statement conflicts with this basic understanding of what it means to give a gift. How can these two thingsthat we let go of gifts without control versus getting money for our giftsbe reconciled?
Contrast CWG's concept of being paid for gifts with the sense of offering presented in Peaceful Warrior. In that movie, protagonist Dan Millman questions the apparent lack of success of Socrates, the gasoline station attendant who becomes his mentor. "You know so much, how come you're working at a gas station?" Millman asks. Without an ounce of defensiveness, Socrates responds, "This is a service station. We offer service. There's no higher purpose."
In spite of doubts about some of the spiritual messages conveyed by CWG, viewers looking for inspiration will certainly be rewarded by a sprinkling of teachings in the film. For instance, God tells Walsch as he walks out of his bedroom, "To live your life without expectation, without the need for specific results, that is freedom." Perhaps this thought is the antidote for those who would seek to engage in spiritual pursuits for the hope of some reward.
Few can doubt the sincerity with which Walsch and director/producer Stephen Simon (producer of Somewhere in Time and What Dreams May Come and co-founder of the Spiritual Cinema Circle DVD subscription service) bring to their project. Yet as a film-going experience independent of its message, CWG is not entirely satisfactory.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This Christian had to force himself to watch what was otherwise a poorly acted, turgid film so riddled with holes it was laughable--just to see what all the fuss was about. The answer: A quest for a sugar-coated spirituality in which we make God in our image. Every 45 seconds, it seemed, we were sledge-hammered with another psycho-babble-larded lecture about self-fulfillment. Consider, for instance, the theology of money presented in this film: It's phony and self- serving. Early in the film Walsch asks why the people who give the most to the world don't receive the most $$$$. Fair enough; who wouldn't agree? But it's a setup to paper over the bankruptcy of the much later scene in which his agent arm-twists another half-million out of his publisher. Question: If the writer had become so connected to God, why did he sit so quietly during the extortion scene? For that matter, why didn't he give his advice away for free, as, say, Jesus did? In fact, that was my biggest problem with the movie: I found nothing likable about the main character (or the others, for that matter, who came across as codependent losers). By the time he got around to distributing those fat cash-packed envelopes, he had lost me. This movie purports to convey that God is with you in your worst moments and will help you lift yourself up. That's a message worth telling over and over. But the real message that comes across is that there are big bucks to be made in spouting clichés about self-development and easy answers for life's most difficult questions (such as, Why did my son die in a motorcycle accident?) Having survived the movie, I think I'll pass on Walsch's books and watered-down spirituality, and stick to Jesus and the breaking of bread, not the making of ($$$), for my connection with God.
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