By Diana Oestrich and Elliott Landy



UPLIFTING FILMS is a spiritual, but nonreligious evaluation, of both mainstream and independent films. We recommend movies that have a positive vision of life, leave you feeling good and contain little or no gratuitous violence, exploitative sex or other types of negative imagery. We talk about films that delight, inspire, educate and enlighten. We are primarily for positive films, not against negative ones. Our reviews come from the heart as well as the intellect, our criteria are compassion and love. We look for positive role models, important messages, humor, positive women's or children's points of view. Political films are included but we warn viewers if there is disturbing content. Occasionally we find an action adventure film that we recommend. We hope that by supporting positive films, more will be made and their prominence in the fabric of society expanded. Uplifting Films can be thought of as a guide to mind nutrition for film viewers.


(1996) Directed by Fraser C. Heston, starring Thora Birch, Vincent Kartheiser, Dirk Benedict, Charlton Heston. This is an exciting but gentle adventure about two teenagers (brother and sister) who set out alone to rescue their father whose plane has crashed in Alaska. As it has both male and female teenage heroes, all kids from eight up can enjoy and identify with the heroes of this film. Adults will love it too. (We did) It is multidimensional with messages of environmental concern, animal rights, integrity, trust, good values, spirituality and courage which are easily absorbed in this engaging film.

It contains very beautiful imagery of Alaska, fine acting by Thora Birch and Vincent Kartheiser and a cameo appearance by Charlton Heston as the bad guy. If you like action adventure, this film will satisfy you. It keeps you on the edge of your seat at times, but is not painful. As a cinematic experience, Alaska is a cut above films such as Free Willy and Flipper which we also recommend, but not as much as this.

(1996) Directed by Donald Petrie, starring Whoopi Goldberg, Dianne Wiest, Eli Wallach.

This is a very serious, fabulously funny comedy about women's wisdom and the ways of the glass ceilinged old boy's club dominated financial/business world. Whoopi Goldberg plays a brilliant woman working on Wall Street, who is locked out of the promotion and recognition she deserves. The film has illuminating messages and truth about the absurdity of the world of financial intrigue and unscrupulousness and comically suggests what one might do about it. It is an encouragement for all women and men alike, who act from a place of integrity, trust and loyalty rather than greed, selfishness and competitiveness. The women's (receptive) point of view wins your heart and should encourage people to rethink their standard ways of doing business.

The only weakness this film has (and a serious one) is in the middle where it descends into an absurdly unbelievable attempt to stage a false death, and breaks the spell of wisdom it has woven up to that point. However its message of triumph of the feminine spirit and integrity is so strong that we can ignore that sequence and recommend this film most highly to every adult.

(1996) Directed by Carroll Ballard, starring Jeff Daniels, Anna Paquin, Dana Delaney.

A great film for everyone, but its 11-year-old heroine makes it inspirational for women of all ages to see. The acting of Anna Paquin is exceptional as the young girl who saves a flock of geese by flying a plane to lead them to a nesting ground. She is a TRUE teenage superhero whose strengths are courage, love, intuition, determination, and wisdom rather than the macho hero traits of physical strength, brutality etc. The film is based on the true scenario of a scientist who did the same thing. It is visually beautiful and an amazing story ‹ important for everyone to see, both for its environmental message, as well as its encouragement to behave with integrity. Children and adults will be absorbed by this totally unique tale of training geese to fly.

(1996) Directed by Allison Anders, starring Illeana Douglas, Matt Dillon, Eric Stoltz, Bruce Davidson, Patsy Kensit, Jennifer Leigh Warren, John Turturro, Chris Isaak, Bridget Fonda, Peter Fonda. An unauthorized biography, loosely based on the life of singer/songwriter Carole King. The sound-track does not contain any of her own music because she would not release it for the film. However, the original music created instead is a joy to listen to and succeeds completely on its own terms. This is an inspiring and uplifting film about a very talented woman finding her own voice and creativity, and her tribulations in the music business. It is especially insightful about women, depicting how intertwined their love relationships can be in their work, self images and ability to succeed. It is a story of a heroine, not a victim ‹ a very special film which gives us a look at the heart of the music business, the history of Rock 'n Roll in the early sixties, and the emergence of powerful independent woman.

Diana Oestreich and Elliott Landy are a husband and wife team with a lifelong passion for film and spirituality.

Diana Oestreich is a film producer. She has developed film projects for many actors, directors and studios including Warner Bros., MGM, Paramount, HBO, CBS, Barbra Streisand, Christopher Reeve and Goldie Hawn. She is currently developing a feature film which focuses on zen buddhism.

Elliott Landy is a well known photographer whose images of Woodstock, Dylan, the Band, and the sixties music scene are known worldwide. He has published several photography books, and is a music filmmaker and producer. He is presently producing and developing a CD-ROM for Panasonic Software, Woodstock Vision, The Spirit of A Generation, which will be released in 1997. ŠLandy Vision, Inc., P.O.B. 836, Woodstock, NY 12498.

Uplifting Films is on the Internet at: http://www.upliftingfilms.com .

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