A Review by Tom Condon, OP
(St. Martin Province)
Rating: PG for mild thematic elements
USCCB rating: not listed
FILM SYNOPSIS: A documentary about the perils of global
warming What has happened to Al Gore? He disappeared from the public
eye after his heartbreaking defeat in the 2000 election. Now it
seems that he returned to one of his long standing passions: a spokesman
for the protection of the earth. With the release of the new documentary
feature, An Inconvenient Truth, Gore has emerged in the unlikely
role of a movie star. He engages the viewer directly and urgently
as he explains the seriousness of global warming as a threat to
An Inconvenient Truth shows
the power of the documentary film to reach the viewer. On the
heels of last summer’s surprise hit, March of the Penguins,
and the success of Michael Moore’s controversial Fahrenheit
911 two years ago, documentaries are finding a broader audience
than ever before. Truth is already shaping up to be a hit at the
box office. Its success may be even more surprising. It has neither
cute penguins nor Michael Moore’s celebrity. Truth is appealing
to audiences on the strength of a convincing presentation of an
urgent subject matter. It’s a great indication that movies
can be successful without big budgets, stars, or special effects.
of the keys to the success of the film is that Gore is so invested
in the subject matter of global warming. Truth becomes his own
story. He relates his own life journey, as the son of a senator,
spending eight months a year in a Washington hotel, and four months
on his family farm in Tennessee. Gore credits his love for the
earth from his boyhood on the farm, when he was unable to distinguish
between work and play. Gore relates painful elements of his life,
from his older sister’s death from lung cancer to almost
losing his own son. Both of these events changed him. He saw how
fragile life is, and wanted to work more and more for the good
of the earth for the sake of generations to come.
Gore’s passion is clearly evident, but does
not overwhelm the viewer. Again and again he relies on a creative
presentation of scientific facts, using everything from computer
graphics to photographs, videotapes, and other means to get his
point across. He even uses humor to get his point across. Gore
is like your favorite college professor who uses whatever is in
his power in order to teach an important truth to the student.
Yet I never felt manipulated by smoke and mirrors.
|Preaching social justice
is a difficult, yet necessary task of the preacher. Gore does
this very well.
I liked the film for several reasons, not the least
of which is that I believe its message. I want to see the message
dispersed to as many people as possible, so that we can change
the way our personal lives as well as our governmental policies
with respect to reversing global warming. As a Dominican, I was
impressed by Gore’s concern for the common good. He is willing
to sacrifice for the greater good, the future of our planet and
the future of those who will come after us.
I was also impressed by An Inconvenient Truth from
my perspective as a preacher. Preaching social justice is a difficult,
yet necessary task of the preacher. Gore does this very well.
He is clearly passionate about his topic, yet appeals to reason.
He tells us enough about his personal investment in the topic,
without letting his own story take over. Gore considers other
point of view, and never reverts to the mudslinging that so frequently
characterizes contemporary public discourse. Gore gives concrete
examples of what can be done about the situation. Finally, and
critically, he offers hope. He clearly states the urgency of the
crisis, but says that we have the resources at hand to do what
must be done to reverse global warming. Without offering hope,
social justice preaching is pointless. People may feel guilt or
frustration, but these are not enough to affect change.
I urge you all to see An Inconvenient Truth, or
read the book and make up your own mind. Probably within a few
months the film will be available on DVD, so that it can be seen
and discussed by more people. Visit the website (www.climatecrisis.net)
which contains many suggested activities to reverse global warming.
As I write this in late June, the headlines of the Los Angeles
Times speak of melting glaciers in Greenland and ripe conditions
for wildfires in the Southwest. See the movie and decide how you
and your community will act for the sake of the common good.
Tom Condon, OP