From the very fidgety audience in a savvy intellectual community, I realize that some understanding
of monastic life will make this easier for some people to watch, nevertheless, this is an exquisite and very moving based-upon-true-events film. More than the tender performances and truthful depiction of human frailty, this movie shows that the horrific events in the the middle east have nothing to do with ordinary people. North African Muslims and Cistercian Monks not only live side by side and help one another, but are close in their religious beliefs. Fundamentalists and Terrorists are the problem: there as they are everywhere. I cannot recommend this film highly enough. Bring a handkerchief. Also, the scenery of North Africa near the Atlas Mountains, is stunning and unexpected. North Africa is not all desert.
I simply cannot believe that 93% of the top critics on Rotten Tomatoes love this movie. It is
unrelentingly dreary and psychologically disturbing. The so called 'Happy Couple" are so utterly disconnected from any emotional reality that they are the flip side of their friends who are alternatively numbingly depressed, hysterically manic, or poisonously polluted by drink and food. I am beginning to think that critics have forgotten what good movies are. Either that or they do no like movies but only FILM. This is a FILM.
Heed my warning: this is neither "Secrets and Lies" nor "Topsy-Turvy". This is, to coin an era-relative phrase, a bummer. The entirely "adult" audience was groaning and fidgeting and we saw it in an intellectually advanced town.
Save your money.
GO SEE THIS FILM. If it is true that way goes around comes around, then the roots of the financial
crisis, world opinion gone awry, and all the other ills that come with the big lies, are present this movie. The very normal quality of the movie is exactly why it is so powerful. I was simply blown away by the calm, cool, way that a normal family could be caught up in one of the creepiest episodes of our history.
Naomi Watts is remarkable in her demeanor. Also, as in The Interpreter, Sean Penn is never better than when he has a beautiful blonde to be in love with and react to.
My wife and I are still reeling from this powerful movie and are trying to figure out how to get our conservative friends to go see it.
We all loved this on--laugh out loud loved it! Great natural acting, funny story, true emotion,
and a charming new NY location.
Go see it, you'll love it.
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