“It’s not that I’m so smart, it’s just that I stay with problems longer.” – Albert Einstein
To echo Marge Gunderson, I’m not so sure I agree 100% with your assessment of smarts there Albert. That said, the point of sticking with a problem bears attention from us mortals, to be sure. It’s the personal stamina to press on in the face of rabbit holes and apparent defeat that changes one’s fortunes.
This weekend at the movies we’re treated to three stories of said mortals who stayed with their problem and changed their worlds – and in the two true life cases, the worlds of thousands, and even millions. Against impossible odds, they maintained their mental toughness, hopeful hearts, and sense of what was simply the right thing to do – with results arguably as remarkable as the theory of general relativity.
Let’s see what they were up against, and how they prevailed!
When it comes to a near-perfect portrayal of ferreting out and successfully exposing a massive coverup on a scale that permanently changes our understanding of our lives, 1976’s “All the President’s Men” has been the reigning titan. Today it passes its torch. Mandatory and magnificent, “Spotlight” is a celebration of teamwork and professional excellence (both in subject matter and filmmaking), as well as a stark reminder of the purpose and need for an independent, supported, long-form free press. Along the way, we hear it said, “If it takes a village to raise a child, then it takes one to abuse them” – and it takes one to save them as well.
Story: (Drama, True Story) True story of the Pulitzer Prize-winning team who uncovered the massive child abuse coverup by the Catholic Church and wrote the article that shook the world.
Starring: Michael Keaton, Mark Ruffalo, Rachel McAdams, Brian d’Arcy James, Liev Schreiber, Stanley Tucci, John Slattery, Len Cariou, Billy Crudup, Michael Cyril Creighton, Jimmy LeBlanc, Jamey Sheridan, Paul Guilfoyle
Directed by: Tom McCarthy (aka Thomas McCarthy of “Win Win” and “The Visitor”, among others)
5/5 Stars | Themes: Assertiveness, Betrayal, Duty, Ethics, Evil, Justice, Legacy, Loyalty, Perseverance, Person vs. Person, Restoration, Social Concern and Change, Spirituality, Suffering, Teamwork, Time, Trust
Rated R | 128 min. | Official Site | Official Facebook | View Trailer | More
Opens in Houston November 13, 2015 | Screened November 11, 2015 at the Edwards Grand Palace theater
How does one continue when every possibility of positive change is as seemingly hopeless as finding the combination to the lock that holds one hostage? By maintaining a vigilant command of perspective and living the one that leads to more life, no matter how long it’s required. Unforgettable and wholly original, and never flinching from the realistic effects of its subject matter even as it never lets them carry the day, “Room” depicts hope’s steel backbone that endures through the most crushing of conditions, and the wondrous outcomes of keeping it alive. Larson establishes herself on a new level in proving she can singlehandedly carry a film, and in newcomer Jacob Tremblay we may well be meeting the next Christian Bale.
Story: (Drama, Character Study) Trapped in a single room, Joy strives to make it her 5-year-old’s normal universe, until circumstance prompts her to mount a daring escape that will change his life forever.
Starring: Brie Larson, Jacob Tremblay, Joan Allen, Tom McCamus, Cas Anvar, Sean Bridgers, Wendy Crewson
Directed by: Lenny Abrahamson
5/5 Stars | Themes: Courage, Creativity, Hope, Love and Attachment, Optimism, Person vs. Person, Perspective, Restoration, Self-Care, Self-Confidence, Time, Trauma, Willingness
Rated R | 118 min. | Official Site | View Trailer
Opens in Houston November 13, 2015 | Screened October 21, 2015 at the Edwards Grand Palace theater
It was fun in Middle Earth, but on regular Earth, this is deadly serious business: as the film tells us, every year 12,000 miners die on the job. In 2010, these 33 men were headed for inclusion in that sobering count: buried behind the collapsed heart of the mountain itself, in 90° heat, at a depth of two Empire State buildings, with enough food for 3 days. Mercy. How do we now celebrate with them on a beach? As we’ve seen, it takes a village – and in this case, literally. “The 33” suffers from the perennial drawback of multiple writers – specifically, being generally unable to craft deep characterization – but it’s ably directed, well performed, and when a film can be stressful even though we know the triumphant outcome, that’s saying quite a bit. If you need a Thanksgiving family outing, you can’t go wrong with this one.
Story: (Drama, True Story) True story of the 33 Chilean miners trapped 2,300 feet underground for 69 days.
Starring: Antonio Banderas, Rodrigo Santoro, Juliette Binoche, Lou Diamond Phillips, Cote de Pablo, Kate del Castillo, Adriana Barraza, James Brolin, Gabriel Byrne, Bob Gunton
Directed by: Patricia Riggen
3.5/5 Stars | Themes: Awe. Endurance, Hope, Perseverance, Person vs. Nature, Teamwork
Rated PG-13 |127 min. | Official Site | View Trailer
Opens in Houston November 13, 2015 | Screened November 10, 2015 at the Edwards Marq*E theater
So where have you persevered and prevailed? Tell us about it in the comments below, we’d love to hear about it!