Hollywood Movie Insights II

Posted on August 17, 2021 By

by Rachel MacNair

See our previous Hollywood Movie Insights post, offering comments on several movies.  

Never Look Away

An Oscar nominee for Best Foreign Language Film and winner of other awards, the story spans the life of an artist as a boy in Nazi Germany and a man in East Germany. He flees to West Germany right before the Berlin Wall was built. It’s of interest to history buffs and/or people interested in how art can be therapeutic to traumatized lives.

For consistent-lifers, its highly personal portrayal of the Nazi euthanasia program is shown as historically connected to war.

It’s also another film in which an abortion is inflicted on a woman who’s devastated about it. The abortion is performed by her formerly Nazi father, an ob/gyn, for eugenic reasons. He doesn’t think the baby’s father is worthy for his bloodline.

This theme of a coerced abortion as part of a sea of violence isn’t a common one in award-winning films or in Hollywood movies. But another example of a major studio film in which abortion was inflicted by men who see the woman as having no say is the Ides of March (see the third movie commented on in our previous post).


The Report

This is the story behind the official report on torture of prisoners of war under the Bush administration, with the euphemism “enhanced interrogation.”  One point made crystal clear is how utterly wrong is the idea that violence, while regrettable, may be necessary to prevent greater violence in some circumstances. Building rapport with prisoners sometimes works as a way of getting information. Torture, on the other hand, always gets information that was false or already known.

Therefore, to make the case against torture as a war tactic, we need not rely entirely on the assertion that it’s wrong. It’s also demonstrated to be entirely useless.


Dark Waters

         A large company is poisoning the waters in the county where their employees work. The hero is a corporate lawyer who – knowing them as the neighbors he grew up with – takes the side of the poisoned.

That the poisoning is injuring unborn children is one of the shocking details of the callousness of the corporation. It has their pregnant mothers continue working in dangerous conditions. The mothers, of course, don’t know of the danger, but the corporate bosses do.



For more of our posts with movie reviews, see:

Hollywood Movie Insights (The GiverThe Whistleblower, and The Ides of March)

A Consistent Day in the Neighborhood
Jasmine, Aladdin, and the Power of Nonviolence

The Darkest Hour: “Glorifying” War?

Movies with Racism Themes: “Gosnell” and “The Hate U Give”

The Message of “Never Rarely Sometimes Always”: Abortion Gets Sexual Predators Off the Hook

Justice Littered with Injustice: Viewing Just Mercy in a Charged Moment



movie review

  1. Ms. Boomer-ang says:

    Paying attention to what happens in movies and other forms of culture is important. It not only tells what people are saying, it’s also a window on the mind of the powerful people who bankroll the performances.

    For years, at least in the 1990’s, it seemed as if every PG film was at least subtly pushing euthanasia and other death hastening. Either it was set in a place associated with it, or someone was given a book that advocates it, or it was slipped in directly. An example was Steel Magnolias. Reportedly even the presumed G-film Toy Story 2 has a live-long-and-bored vs live-short-and-happy theme snuck in. (I haven’t seen it, so I don’t know for certain.) As if “educating” the young. Very disheartening.

    This was nothing new. The 1962 movie Lawrence of Arabia had not only a euthanasia incident stuck in but also an episode where Lawrence makes an extra journey through the desert to rescue one man only to kill that man several screen minutes later to stop a tribal dispute.

    As for books, it was heartbreaking when what appeared as a murder in Harry Potter 6 was revealed as a “voluntary” euthanasia of a terminally ill person in Harry Potter 7.

    Meanwhile, your insights make me want to see Never Look Away.

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