A biographical portrait of Daniel Patrick Moynihan, twentieth century colossus: public intellectual, policy specialist, ambassador and U.S. Senator from New York. The film captures the ...
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A biographical portrait of Daniel Patrick Moynihan, twentieth century colossus: public intellectual, policy specialist, ambassador and U.S. Senator from New York. The film captures the spirit of Moynihan's remarkable ideas as they evolved over the course of his tumultuous life in postwar America, featuring both the triumphs and the controversies. A poor boy who grew up on the streets of Depression-era NY to become a Harvard professor, Moynihan devoted his decades-long career -- serving both Democratic and Republican administrations -- to battling poverty. Possessed of a natural wit that appealed to both elite and street, Moynihan remains one of the most widely quoted people of his generation. Moynihan's legacy continues to be claimed by both the left and right, even as he defies easy categorization. The film is an exploration into the heady and boisterous world of ideas that helped shape his complex worldview, and the policy prescriptions that have stood the test of time. At a moment ...
I saw this on Sunday, January 6, at All Saints Cinema in Tallahassee, and feel lucky to have been one of the first to see it and the first to review it here.
I was certainly aware of many things Dan Pat Moynihan did, yet the film put them together and added more. He was among the very top political thinkers and actors of the 20th century, compasionate, practical rather than dogmatic, and often helped to bridge the gap between political wings. We would be better off today had more people listened more carefully to him and followed his advice. I love the quote from George Will that while Moynihan was in the Senate, "he wrote more books than some of his colleagues read". (Not stated in the film is that Will wrote those words in the Washington Post upon Moynihan's death in 2003.)
The early parts of the film drag a bit due to thinness of contemporary visual materials, especially of video, leading to a lot of pan-and-scan, talking heads, and pictures of printed words. This is unavoidable for the time frame, but the story does become more vivid when covering the era of videotape.
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