Well, now that the highest of the high holy days have passed, I have no excuse. I am going to do something I have never done before in writing, I am going to talk about a movie. With the caveat that I actually don’t go very often despite the fact that I love going to the movies.
I went to see White Boy Rick. Yes, I know, you are thinking “really?”. So just to get it out of the way, Matthew McConaughey was really good, as expected. But anyone can say that.
As I left the theatre I found that the movie had really made me think. And since I was by myself, I was walking along talking to myself about what I was thinking. Don’t laugh. Now there are movies that are pure entertainment, and there are movies the cause us to revisit historical or emotional spaces we are already familiar with but that evoke an emotional response. And then there is the rare movie that makes us think.
This movie, painfully based on a true story, is about many things. First, it is about the seduction of money and status set against poverty and the failure of ambition. Second, it is about the abysmal failure of the sentencing guidelines that were introduced several decades ago. These draconian guidelines filled the prisons with non violent drug offenders on long sentences and contributed greatly to the growth industry that our prisons have become. And finally it is about the nature of the relationship between parents and children. In this case an ineffective father trying hard in difficult circumstances to do what he thinks is right. And then he does what he knows is wrong, because he thinks it will be better in the end, which it is not. And it is about the pain of making choices constrained by poverty, hopelessness and constant failure.
So, my first movie review, I thought it was darn good and it made me think, and eat popcorn.