Monday, June 25, 2012
A little over a year ago, a new movie made its way through the theatres around here. I gave it a pass.
That's partly because Eric and I don't go to movies all that often anymore, unless it's a super-hero movie (Surprised? I thought not). It's also partly because I feel like I've been burned in the past by what I call "Mormon Cinema", but really I should call "Movies made by Mormons which may or may not have approval of the Church, and are marketed primarily to a Mormon audience, which often means that the quality is lacking, since the producers, directors, and others feel like since they have a ready-made audience for the film, they can skimp on budget, time, talent, you name it and expect us all to plunk down our money in the name of being good and supportive church members." There have been times when I've attended "Mormon Cinema", and have left the theatre feeling manipulated, frustrated, taken for granted, or just plain duped into wasting my precious money and even more precious time on something that was worth neither.
Sorry--kind of went off a little there.
(Gee Charlotte, why don't you tell us how you really feel????)
All that notwithstanding, about six months ago I put the DVD of 17 Miracles on hold at the library (which I guess signaled that I was willing to risk my time, but not my money yet). I had heard several people whose opinions I trust praise the film, effusively actually; and I determined that it was probably something that I should see and decide for myself.
It was finally my turn this week. I picked up the DVD on Friday and watched Sunday night and tonight.
I've never felt gratitude for the Willie Martin Handcart Company members the way I feel it now. I've heard the stories all my life, paid homage to those and other pioneers every 24th of July from the time I was a very little girl, and have always been impressed by and thankful for their sacrifice, their legacy, their courage. But now, it's different. I almost can't believe they did it. I almost can't believe the miraculous blessings they received along the way, and simultaneously the unbearable hardships that they were forced to endure. I don't think I will ever look at a handcart the same way again.
I want to be better than I am.
(And, I want to buy the DVD and show it to Heather in 4 years, and everyone else that I care about in the meantime.)
p.s. A few other examples of "Mormon Cinema" that I've enjoyed are:
-The Other Side of Heaven
-Saints and Soldiers
-Forever Strong- (the acting on this isn't exactly Academy Award material, but it has other qualities that compensate for that, in my opinion.)
-The Best Two Years