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Room (2015)

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"I can't speak for anyone else. Like, I had an abortion when I was eighteen, and I've never regretted that." -- Ma (the Brie Larson character), on page 231 of the book.

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I dunno.  It seems to me that Godawa's take on the film is going outside of the intended scope of the film in order to make it into a cultural artifact that the filmmakers and the film itself would likely be uncomfortable with.  Not saying that they are necessarily against pro-life.  Godawa seems to be chiseling this film into a particular shape that can be used as a weapon in the cultural wars, but in this without much sensitivity to the film itself.  Of course we all put our own interpretations on to the film, but he seems to be going beyond that in order to use the film as an artifact for forwarding agenda.  He's trying to make a sensitive piece of storytelling into a bully pulpit film that would come from the evangelical subculture.  That seems to be one thing that the writers were completely trying to avoid, at least judging from the interview with Peter Chattaway.

Edited by Attica

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Nick Alexander wrote:
: But does the movie have that quote?

No, I believe that line is left out of the interview scene. (I *think* it came up in the interview scene, in the book.) But if authorial intent matters to anyone, well, there you go.

Attica wrote:
: Of course we all put our own interpretations on to the film, but he seems to be going beyond that in order to use the film as an artifact for forwarding agenda.  

It's kind of alarming to me how frequently Brian goes political with his reviews, actually.

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3 hours ago, Peter T Chattaway said:

It's kind of alarming to me how frequently Brian goes political with his reviews, actually.

I can see why.

Edited by Attica

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7 hours ago, Peter T Chattaway said:

It's kind of alarming to me how frequently Brian goes political with his reviews, actually.

It's not alarming for me, but rather refreshing.  How often does one see a political slant that is right-of-center?  When the late Roger Ebert or A.O. Scott or Pauline Kael or David Edelstein or Lisa Schwarzbaum--all of them left-of-center--all of whom use their movie criticisms to score political ringshots, do we hold them accountable too? 

And consider with movies like Knocked Up and Juno being criticized by some critics for having its characters making the hard, conservative choice--of which the filmmakers themselves do not proscribe to--is this not equally fair game?  (Noting, had they made the easy choice, they would not have a movie).

I've not seen Room yet--wait a few months, I'll get it on Redbox--but I'm very intrigued by Godawa's take.

Edited by Nick Alexander

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14 hours ago, Nick Alexander said:

How often does one see a political slant that is right-of-center? 

Every time one looks up a MOVIEGUIDE review, which influences a lot of people.  

 

14 hours ago, Nick Alexander said:

-all of them left-of-center--all of whom use their movie criticisms to score political ringshots, do we hold them accountable too? 

But why should it become a shit storm between different factions over political views.  Why shouldn't it be about the actual film and why shouldn't Christians take the high ground and engage with the film instead of getting involved in that crap?  Why shouldn't Peter find it alarming if it is a fellow Christian critic and thus is "in house" when those other folks maybe wouldn't be (discIosure - I never looked them up.)  It represents a direction that some Christians find troubling or distastefull partially because it is following the same tactics of some others, and part of a certain Christian faction that can get caught up in such things and forget about engaging with the actual piece as it stands.

It's a fairly good film and it doesn't need to be sullied by being dragged through those trenches.  Why not let art speak on its own and engage with it, rather than turn it into part of a war machine.  It should be about a film, not about a political divide, unless of course the film touches on that divide, which it seems that this film might have even taken pains not to.

Edited by Attica

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1 hour ago, Attica said:

Every time one looks up a MOVIEGUIDE review, which influences a lot of people.  

 

But why should it become a shit storm between different factions over political views.  Why shouldn't it be about the actual film and why shouldn't Christians take the high ground and engage with the film instead of getting involved in that crap?  Why shouldn't Peter find it alarming if it is a fellow Christian critic and thus is "in house" when those are folks maybe wouldn't be (discIosure - I never looked them up.)  It represents a direction that some Christians find troubling or distasteful partially because it is following the same tactics of some others and part of a certain Christian faction that can get caught up in such things and forget about engaging with the actual piece as it stands.

It's a fairly good film and it doesn't need to be sullied by being dragged through those trenches.  Why not let art speak on its own and engage with it, rather than turn it into part of a war machine.  It should be about a film, not about a political divide, unless of course the film touches on that divide, which it seems that this film might have even taken pains not to.

For that matter, why not remove Groundhog Day from the top list of Most Spiritually Significant comedies, then?  Because the late Harold Ramis always seemed to be surprised at its inclusion of such a status by myriad religious groups.  How DARE we at A&F FORCE such a film into such an interpretation OUTSIDE THE INTENTIONS OF ITS CREATOR.

Art is no longer the domain of the creator, once it is released into the world.  A lasting work of art can have multiple interpretations by whatever worldview a viewer has with it.  All I'm hearing on this board is that one cannot have a conservative-worldview interpretation of a story, no matter what.  Sorry.  Not buying it.

And I don't pay Movieguide any mind--it is not a conservative worldview that counts the number of cuss-words.

Edited by Nick Alexander
clarity

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On February 3, 2016 at 9:01 AM, Nick Alexander said:

Art is no longer the domain of the creator, once it is released into the world.  A lasting work of art can have multiple interpretations by whatever worldview a viewer has with it.  All I'm hearing on this board is that one cannot have a conservative-worldview interpretation of a story, no matter what.  Sorry.  Not buying it.

Well, if one couldn't have a conservative worldview interpretation of a story, then we probably wouldn't have had that interpretation of Groundhog Day.  But anyhow, OF COURSE a film can have an interpretation outside of the intentions of its creator and I had said that when I said - "Of course we all put our own interpretations on to the film, but he seems to be going beyond that in order to use the film as an artifact for forwarding agenda" - in the culture wars that is.   But no one here was using Groundhog Day as a weapon for the culture wars (at least I don't think so) rather we were responding to the spiritual inclinations we found in it.

There's the problem, Godawa seems to be using this film (and it seems others) in order to bludgeon the people on the other side of his political divide with.  We are responding to Groundhog Day in a gentler way.  He was using the film as part of an agenda that wasn't influenced by the film, we were responding to how Groundhog Day influenced us, even though that influence might have happened because of previous beliefs - but I would note I know people who are not Christians who find it to be a spiritual sort of film.

But now You are coming at this as if our responses are part of the cultural war and you need to stand for the conservative side (or something like that), and now your arguing as if your arguing in the cultural war for the conservatives right to speak up (or something like that.)  Which is part of the problem and missing the point I've been getting at (I can't speak for Peter of course), being WHY NOT LEAVE ALL THE CULTURAL WAR STUFF ASIDE AND LET THE FILM SPEAK, INSTEAD OF PUTTING IT INTO AN AGENDA.  (no matter if the film speaks different than the director intended.)    It's also the spirit that it is done in.  It doesn't strike me as an open Christian embrace of those that disagree (even when still disagreeing with them) in a spirit of hospitality, or even an attempt to take the plank out of their eyes, but rather its a spirit of using the film to poke them in the eye.

 

On February 3, 2016 at 9:01 AM, Nick Alexander said:

And I don't pay Movieguide any mind--it is not a conservative worldview that counts the number of cuss-words.

You really think that Movieguide isn't coming from a conservative worldview.

But anyhow, this kind of indicates to me that you are making it all about your conservative worldview and not about the film itself, after all... you haven't even seen it yet.  To be honest, I kind of find the divide between the extreme Liberals and the extreme Conservatives to be troublesome.  Both sides are often building their thoughts on a push back against the other sides perceived nonsense, and both sides in doing so are coming up with their own nonsense (and on and on it goes), instead of actually being able to sit down and talk about some things and find a place in the centre that is sensitive to what is valid in each sides perspective.  But no, that's rarely done, they just side on two sides of a fence and hurl bombs at one another.  Where would Christ be in all of this?

Don't get me wrong, I'm saying this as someone who thinks that many things in the Liberal agenda are plenty idiotic, but I also see plenty of problems with the churches response to it, and it seems to me that your not allowing people here to have an opinion about a certain problematic response without handing out flak in a defense of conservative worldviews.  But since when do the people of Christ have to be bound to (or should be bound to) any side in the whole political divide.  Maybe Christ calls us to act according to another path altogether, and maybe we can express that path in the hospitality we give to others through our engagement with the arts, instead of, again, using it as a weapon to poke them in the eye.

Nobody was using Groundhog Day as a weapon.  It was a gentle and insightful response to a good film.  That gentleness is what will attract people.  The whole political agenda can just enrage them and make their stance firmer and become baggage that separates them from Christ  (Note, I'm not saying that there shouldn't ever be anything political whatsoever in a persons engagement with the world.)

Edited by Attica

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3 minutes ago, Attica said:

There's the problem, Godawa seems to be using this film (and possibly others) in order to bludgeon the people on the other side of his political divide with. 

But it also could be an issue that Godawa is passionate about, and where he honestly saw something that very few critics have spoken up about.  And while I have not seen the film yet (I have been very cautious about this--in this case, I'm more about letting him have his pulpit) if he is wrong, correct him within the context of the film itself.  To say that it's too politically charged, too divisive in the culture wars, strikes me as dishonest. 

As for Movieguide: it is a form of conservative thought that *not all conservatives subscribe to*.  Not all conservatives have aligned themselves w "Dr" Ted Baehr.  One can be a conservative and disagree on a whole host of issues.  Please note that the U.S. is undergoing an election cycle, and we are seeing this played out in real time, with all sorts of religious persuasions and approaches being just a fraction of the whole movement.  (Same with those religious individuals who lean left).  One can be pro-life, but also have no problem with cuss-words and violence in movies. 

As I see it, to relegate all conservative thought as bowing towards the shrine of Baehr is nothing more than "Guilty by Association."  

I'm happy to needle your response with Groundhog Day, though.  I think that my point stands, mainly, that we are all individuals with a point of view, and sometimes those points of view are going to be politically and/or religiously-charged, even divisive.  Nobody bats an eye when Ebert went on one of his tangents, because we expected that of him.  We knew that was where he was coming from.  I was free to disagree with him when I did, but I wouldn't want to censor him because I disagreed with him.  I wouldn't want to relegate his thoughts in the same category as a more extreme left-leaning columnist--that wouldn't be fair to him. 

The bottom line is that Godawa found an interpretation of a film (of which I cannot agree nor disagree with) that you think should be counted as irrelevant because you believe it addressed something far too divisive.  Sometimes there's no going around tough subject matter, agree or disagree.  If he's wrong, better to approach this within the context of the story itself, and not because he comes to conclusions that a large percentage of individuals may find offensive.

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5 hours ago, Nick Alexander said:

The bottom line is that Godawa found an interpretation of a film (of which I cannot agree nor disagree with) that you think should be counted as irrelevant because you believe it addressed something far too divisive.  Sometimes there's no going around tough subject matter, agree or disagree.  If he's wrong, better to approach this within the context of the story itself, and not because he comes to conclusions that a large percentage of individuals may find offensive.

I'll only respond to this because I think it gets to the crux of the matter.  I never said that I think Godawa's interpretation should be counted as irrelevant because I believe it addressed something far to divisive.  I've never tried to censor him.  I've never tried to stop him from using the film in his agenda.  I've never said that he couldn't have a divisive point of view.  I'm not his mommy.  I'm saying that I find some of the ways that these things are often handled to be problematic and I find that in how Godawa is handling this film (and from what I have read others.)  For example - 

Quote

here is the very incarnation of the rape scenario that abortion lovers screech about. And yet, and yet, only a heartless cruel soulless bastard would project such hatred and rejection upon the innocent child who was a product of that conception.

 I gave an impression and I didn't go and try to debate him or stop him.  Your giving me more debate than I even considered giving him... are you trying to censor me?

Maybe nobody bats an eye when Ebert went on his tangents because we expected that of him, you say, but here's a thought, maybe I can expect that a Christian wouldn't get caught up in the tit for tat.  Which is what you seem to be doing when you imply that because a Liberal goes on a rant Christians should be just be able to as well.

Which brings me back to one of my earlier points.  I think that Christians can (or even should) walk on another path, and comparing a Christian to how a particular Liberal behaves (not that Christians can't be Liberals of course) in arguing that a Christian can therefore act in a similar way in some sort of tit for tat is problematic.   You have done that a couple of times now.  If Christianity is only (or largely) about a political war then what's the point?  One can fight the political war without it.  

By the way, of course I don't think that Baehr owns conservative thought.  I do find that, that group and Godawa are entering the fray with a similar spirit.

 

 

Edited by Attica

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2 minutes ago, Attica said:

of course I don't think that Baehr owns conservative thought.  I do find that that group and Godawa is entering the fray with a similar spirit.

I would vehemently agree-to-disagree here.  Two individuals can be caustic in their wordings, and entail two different branches of conservative thought, but in no way does that entail that they are in a "similar spirit."  Again, this is "Guilty by Association."   And I think that this sort of discourse is dishonest.

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But there you go again.  Putting your conservative twist on this and making it about a conservative agenda.  Your conservative agenda.  Since when does saying that they are entering the fray with a similar spirit have to have anything to do with conservative thought?  It is a spiritual concept (or at least something like that - it could be as simple as a way of coming across) and if I perceive a similar spirit that has nothing to do with whether or not they are two different branches of conservative thought or "guilty by association".  And you are wrong to accuse me of being dishonest because of my honest perceptions that are not bound to their (or your) conservative thought or any "guilty by association" within.  BECAUSE IT IS NOT JUST ABOUT CONSERVATIVE THOUGHT.  It can be beyond that because Christianity can be beyond that, which is part of what I've been trying to say.  

You are turning this into something about being conservative.  I am actually saying that there is something wrong with putting a conservative agenda ahead of good Christian discourse and a loving hospitable Christian interaction, because Christianity is not bound to certain conservative ways or the tit for tat between the two political divides.  GET IT?

Edited by Attica

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2 minutes ago, Attica said:

Since when does saying that they are entering the fray with a similar spirit have to have anything to do with conservative thought? 

When you brought up MOVIEGUIDE, when it was unwarranted and not part of the conversation.

[Quote:Every time one looks up a MOVIEGUIDE review, which influences a lot of people.]

And secondly, when you inject "My conservatism" when I haven't even stated which way I politically lean.  Nor have I given an opinion of the film. 

That is what was dishonest, dude.

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OH Baloney.  

You had said.

7 hours ago, Attica said:

How often does one see a political slant that is right-of-center? 

And I responded to that.  There was nothing unwarranted about that.

It is pretty obvious where your leanings are from this and other conversations.  But I'll change it to "Putting A conservative twist..." if that makes you feel better.  Besides, if I interpret your conversation as putting a conservative twist on this and making it into a conservative agenda, then my interpretation is valid.  After all, if Godawa's interpretation of something is valid (or is not being dishonest) then why shouldn't mine be?  

So saying that I am being dishonest is a bunch of nonsense, while you seem to be completely missing the point of what I've been trying to say.

I don't see any point in continuing with this conversation.  Dude.  What a mess.

Have a good one.

 

 

Edited by Attica

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15 minutes ago, Attica said:

Besides, if I interpret your conversation as putting a conservative twist on this and making it into a conservative agenda, then my interpretation is valid. 

My conversation is looking at one aspect of an Oscar-nominated film (both pic and adapted screenplay), that may or may not have been the filmmaker's (or original author's) intent, but highlights a value that those right-of-center-on-life-issues (whether or not they are conservative or liberal) find captivating. 

I'm currently reading "Creativity, Inc." written by one of the executives at Pixar.  And in it, he shares the story-writing process of some of their proudest achievements, and how different they all were from their earliest incarnations (including this year's Inside Out).  And in the process, he shares that sometimes the story takes a life of its own, and it's the screenwriter's job to find it, no matter where it leads. 

I can take him at his word that this could be the case for ROOM.  That ROOM was crafted so to exhibit no agenda whatsoever, as a lot of the story seems to have be about the psychological aftermath over such an ordeal, and how a little boy responds when his entire conception of the universe is upended.  That is an interesting story, and one I'd gladly pay to see.  But nonetheless, that doesn't negate Godawa's impressions, nor yours.  A story of this nature can touch upon multiple points, and it is simply not honest to diminish the perspective of one who sees in this story aspects of the culture war.  That doesn't mean you are a dishonest person, just using dishonest logic.  And that logic being, that associating of Godawa's use of prose with that of an organization that would have frowned on Godawa's own R-rated movie.

Edited by Nick Alexander
clarity

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It is honest to point out that I find his interaction with this film problematic.  According to your logic it would be dishonest of you to diminish my perspective.  

Sheesh, is someone not allowed to point out what they consider to be problematic aspects without it becoming this mess?  

Of course a story can take I life of it's own... I'm a filmmaker I know these things.  That doesn't have much to do with anything I've been trying to say.

But anyhow.  I just think that your missing the points.

 

Edited by Attica

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If you are honestly associating Godawa's perspective with that of Dr. Ted Baehr, then you are honestly committing a logical fallacy.  You are free to have a logically incoherent perspective, though. 

You know what, I'll stop.  I'm sorry. 

Edited by Nick Alexander
Stopping and apologizing.

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I said that they were of a "similar spirit" I did NOT say that they were in the same conservative "category."  These are different things.

My response about Baehr was also originally in the context I have pointed out earlier.

But AGAIN I am not talking about types of conservative thought.  I am talking about something different as I have explained.

 

Edited by Attica

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21 minutes ago, Nick Alexander said:

You know what, I'll stop.  I'm sorry. 

It's okay.  I apologize for any wrong I have done.

Peace.

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Nick Alexander wrote:
: How often does one see a political slant that is right-of-center? 

I don't care. I do care about critics imposing their own message-driven agendas on a film instead of receiving the film for what it is.

: And consider with movies like Knocked Up and Juno being criticized by some critics for having its characters making the hard, conservative choice--of which the filmmakers themselves do not proscribe to--is this not equally fair game? 

I think it is incredibly presumptuous to suggest that every time a woman keeps her baby, she's doing so for "conservative" reasons.

: But it also could be an issue that Godawa is passionate about, and where he honestly saw something that very few critics have spoken up about. 

Godawa's only point is "THAT CHILD IS THE PRODUCT OF A RAPE AND HE'S REALLY CUTE AND EVERYBODY LOVES HIM SO OBVIOUSLY ABORTING HIM WOULD HAVE BEEN EVIL EVEN THOUGH HE WAS THE PRODUCT OF A RAPE!!!"

Considering that even a lot of conservatives refuse to ban abortion in cases of rape, Godawa's sounding a bit extreme here -- not least because the film itself *never touches* the abortion issue, at least as far as I can recall. (Though I believe, in the book, the question is raised as to whether the Brie Larson character kept the child for utilitarian reasons, i.e. because it would give her a way to escape the rapist. Not that there's any obvious way she could have aborted the child in the first place.)

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What a beautiful film about childlike wonder and hope even in the darkest situations 

Book is wonderful too and it's a great adaptation. Any attempt to make this about pro life/anti abortion just seems off to me and not the point at all

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I came across Room at the library and so watched it last week (along with Star Wars I, II, III½ & VII and The Case For Christ) going in cold, not having read anything, only seeing part of a 60 seconds review by David DiCerto of 'Reel Faith' who liked it.  No one I knew saw it. And I just now skimmed the A&F discussion above, not the links, and did not find written here that something sitting on my mind about the film. Tell me if I'm crazy. 

When the film ended, mostly I liked it quite a bit. The overall story, the boy & mother, the aftermath, all of it. Enough to think I'd like to tell people at work or friends about it. 

And what I didn't like wasn't something I put my finger on immediately probably because what was good in it overshadows that.

After the movie, I read about the writer Emma, and how she influenced the making of the film. And that she's a Canadian feminist with previous work popular in the lesbian community. So it made me reflect on the film for possible bias reflecting her life orientation. Suddenly I thought, in Room, all the key white men are losers. Now is that crazy or legitimate? Of course old Nick had to be a primo loser. Not problematic.  But the next white man you get to meet a little bit is the cop driving the car to first arrive when the escaping boy is found. Compared to his female cop partner, the man comes off like an ignorant taxi driver at best. The female cop is sensitive, solves the crime immediately, and astounds the white man cop. The male cop is such a numbskull while looking over his shoulder toward the two in back, what he says is laughable. The next adults we meet who are experiencing pressures of the story, not the flat healthcare people or crowd control guys, we meet are the 3 grandparents. The real father (Robert)  leaves the film marked as being strongly prejudiced against the child we've all come to love. He's been divorced, replaced, and can't see past the rape. If any white guy in the film might shine it would have been the father/grandfather.  Next, the step-father (Leo) acts much nicer than the real father but he looks like he just stepped out of a Western or a prison film of which he did not play lead, looking sort of dishevled, mussed up, even deranged. In fact I read that Leo almost played the part of old Nick. Leo really contrasted the middle class surroundings. The only adult man that we meet for any bit of time who seems admirable is the helthcare worker visiting their home and he was never a 'white boy from Ohio'. I grant that the writer Emma worked to make the boy, mother, grandmother, lady cop etc all seem real. Those characters were not all-powerful, they had troubles of their own to face and overcome but the viewer ends up seeing the worlds of these characters work out well enough in the end and we like them afterwards. Not so the men.

This reflects the bias of Emma Donoghue who also greatly controlled the filming.

"In 2012, (director) Abrahamson and Donoghue spent one week at her house in London, Ontario as they revised the screenplay. She served as executive producer and was included in major filmmaking decisions." 

Should it spoil the film? It does somewhat for myself, not entirely. 

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