Archive for June, 2007
One of the most shining examples of faith in popular-films in recent years has to be “Longford,” a straight-to-HBO movie that recently came out on DVD. Here’s amazon’s plot summary:
This HBO Films drama tells the true story of the British Lord Frank Aungier Pakenham, 7th Earl of Longford, and his controversial, colorful, headline-making friendship with one of Britain’s most notorious criminals, child murderess Myra Hindley. A devout Catholic, Longford often visited prisoners because of his passionate belief in forgiveness and society’s need for prisoner rehabilitation. He meets with Hindley – a young woman serving a life sentence for child murders committed with her lover, Ian Brady – shortly after her imprisonment and the visits incite widespread public outrage. Their unlikely friendship ultimately undermined his career and, possibly, her 36-year attempt to win freedom.
The film stars Jim Broadbent (Oscar-winner for “Iris”-this is his best performance), Samantha Morton (“Minority Report”) and Andy Serkis (“Lord of the Rings” and “King Kong”). It’s written by Peter Morgan, who is probably the most successful new writer in quite a while. Aside from this, he also got an Oscar nomination for “The Queen,” wrote the critic-darling “The Last King of Scotland,” and the hit Broadway play “Frost/Nixon.”
“Longford” opens with Frank being interviewed on a radio show about a new book he’s written about his favorite saints-his favorite being the sinner on the cross beside Jesus who repents (I was surprised to hear this man called a saint, but that’s neither here nor there). When they open up the air for questions, all of the calls are blisteringly hateful towards the eldely man. A woman caller asks if her regrets his relationship with Myra Hindley, and before he answers, the film shows us exactly what their relationship was.
Hindley and her lover Ian Brady were child-killers (and the film hints at pedophiles and pornographers). Brady is labeled as “pure wickedness” by the judge, and is for the most part unrepentent. Hindley however, writes a letter to Frank, who’s famous for caring deeply about prisoners. Like the man on the cross beside Jesus, Frank believes every person can be redeemed, and he will do his best to help any who need it.
When he starts meeting and fighting for better conditions/parole for Hindley, who the judge thought was acting mostly under Brady’s abusive influence, the British world turns against him, as does his wife and family. But he persists, believing that everyone deserves forgiveness, even those whose crimes are so heinous.
To say anymore would spoil what a stunning and moving film this is. While the film never seems to fully list the extent of what Hindley and Brady did to the children they murdered, the film fully portrays Frank as a Catholic man striving to be Christ-like in the face of a world incapable of forgiveness. The film challenged me deeply: forgiveness is a trait I dearly lack in my day-to-day life, let alone to that of a child killer.
It was almost alarming to see a Chrstian as fully realized as Frank in the middle of such a strong film-we’re so used to having our “Christian” themed movies be terrible and exploitive, without any real artistry. Here though, not only is the movie surrounding Frank top-notch in every capacity (expect it to be a huge force to be reckoned with at the upcoming Emmys and next year’s Golden Globes), but Frank’s relationship with God is never hidden. In fact, it’s his driving force, and the heart of the film.
By the film’s end, I found myself closely examining my own life, and how I could make myself more Christlike, like Frank strived to do against so much adversity. Obviously, I can’t recommend the film enough, and encourage you to rent it if you get the chance. Let us know if you do, and comment below!
NOTE: The film is unrated since it premiered on HBO, but it is certainly an R-rated movie for language, nudity (Frank leads an anti-pornography campaign) and graphic discussions of child abuse/murder.
We’ve been planning this for a while, and we hope every one will enjoy it! At this blog you’ll find quite a bit of stuff: from important SAB news, to discussions about different ideas for future plans, and feedback regarding our different events, b-sides, concerts, movies and more.
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