Friday, November 20, 2009
We have a movie night at our house about twice a month, a la Netflix. I am the official family movie selector and have picked my share of duds. I'll spare you the details on those ☹ but will gladly share two recent stand-out movies that I can unreservedly recommend for family viewing.
Good Night Mister Tom is a Masterpiece Theatre movie (1999) made for television. It is a war story filled with heartache, tenderness, and unexpected love. The crusty Mr. Oakley does not wish to care for a London waif, but capitulates to the duty of sheltering a boy named William in his country home during the bombing sieges of WWII. He uncovers the fact that the boy has been badly abused, and seeks to provide him with the simple elements of a healthy life. The old man's ability to love has grown rusty, but is fully revived when he perceives the boy's deep emotional hunger. The young man is able to express himself as an artist, while Mr. Oakley dusts off the organ and rediscovers his musical gifts. Oh yes, and there is a beloved dog in the story--the cherry on the sundae. ★★★★★
Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story is a medical drama, a biography of the famous neurosurgeon who is best known for separating Siamese twins. Our family had recently finished the book by the same title and we were delighted to follow up by watching this new (2009) movie featuring the Oscar winning Cuba Gooding Jr. as Dr. Carson. This is an inspiring rags-to-riches story and the movie managed to capture the heart of the autobiography. Ben Carson grew up in a lower class neighborhood in Detroit, the son of a hard-working, nearly illiterate young mother. He never knew his Mom was illiterate because she preached reading, reading, reading to her two sons. Somehow she grasped the fact that television was keeping them dumb, so she laid down the law and limited her boys to 2 hours per week. In addition, she assigned them to read two books per week--books of their choice obtained from the public library.
Their transformation was amazing. Ben rose from being the lowest in his class to the highest. The intellectual discipline he achieved enable him to fulfill his lifelong dream of becoming a neurosurgeon. He is arguably the greatest surgeon of our time and serves as chief of neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital.
Ben Carson is a fantastic role model for young people, a real life hero that makes pop culture icons pale in comparison. ★★★★★