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Fall to Grace (2013)

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Emmy(R)-winning filmmaker Alexandra Pelosi ('Journeys With George') explores scandalized former New Jersey governor Jim McGreevey's new life as a spiritual advisor to female prison inmates and a soon-to-be ordained Episcopalian priest.

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Title: Fall to Grace (2013)

Fall to Grace (2013) on IMDb 6.1/10

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Emmy(R)-winning filmmaker Alexandra Pelosi ('Journeys With George') explores scandalized former New Jersey governor Jim McGreevey's new life as a spiritual advisor to female prison inmates and a soon-to-be ordained Episcopalian priest.

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Documentary

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TV-14
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8 September 2013 (Germany)  »

Also Known As:

A Gay American - Die Geschichte des Jim McGreevey  »

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Plays like a McGreevey campaign ad
28 March 2013 | by (Canada) – See all my reviews

Here's a film about a man who had an extramarital affair. But even that is brushed under the rug, as his offence is presented (repeatedly) as coming out as gay, as if there's something wrong with that, beyond its novelty at the time.

But those of us who lived through those very recent times know that being gay was not the offence. It was twofold: being unfaithful to his wife, and giving his lover or victim or extortionist perks he was not entitled to. But he must have been having sex with a ghost, because this person is given neither a face nor a name in this film. That's simply bizarre, and I can think of no justification. (Wikipedia says his name is Golan Cipel, and you can Google images of him with McGreevey).

Here's a film about a man who interferes in the lives of prisoners by peddling religion to this captive audience. He calls it "pure" and "good". Let's address "pure". Which of the hundreds of denominations of Christianity is the "pure" one, and why? McGreevey seems to think it's Episcopal. That will certainly be disputed by Baptists and Mormons. I contend none of them are pure. But worse, none of them are good. They offer only fantasy and false hope. But even if there was some "good" to religion in prison, it's outweighed by the costs to society. Studies as recent as this year have shown that religion, rather than helping prisoners as claimed, more often provides them a rationale for their continued criminal behavior. Last, had McGreevey spent his time learning something useful, like social work, he would have a better chance at making real positive change in the lives of prisoners before and after release.

It's been a long time since I've had to complain about focus/blurriness in a film, but this was pretty bad in spots. I know a prison is a controlled environment, but good grief even my PHONE can take a better video than that.

Perhaps the most notable theme in this film is addiction and relapse. As the prisoners inevitably relapse into active addiction upon release, so did McGreevey relapse into near-Catholicism after his outing, despite that painfully-evident damage that Catholicism did to his life to that point. He's still trying to apologize for his existence, even though he should know better.

The ending, for me, was infuriating. Not only does McGreevy compare being gay to being a drug addict or criminal, but then just after describing his political career as something that is gone forever, his story is about second chances. But he didn't get a second chance. He's hiding in a ministry.

I come away from this film with a much lower opinion of not just McGreevey, but his fanbase which apparently includes the makers of this unquestioning film.


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