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Return to 2006 Films

Index of 2006

An Inconvenient Truth
Big Bad Swim
Brokeback Mountain
Cinderella Man
The Departed
The DaVinci Code
Eron: The Smartest
Guys in the Room

Good Night and
Good Luck

Half Nelson
History of Violence
Hotel Rwanda
Little Miss Sunshine
Journey from the Fall
March of the Penguins
Million Dollar Baby
Prairie Home Companion
Star Wars III:
Revenge of the Sith

Thank You for Smoking
The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada
The Sea Inside
United 93
War of the Worlds
Walk the Line
World Trade Center

An Inconvenient Truth

A Review by Tom Condon, OP
(St. Martin Province)

MPAA Rating: PG for mild thematic elements
USCCB rating:
not listed

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 the earth.

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.

One 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

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