FILM REVIEWS UPLIFTING FILMS is a spiritual, but nonreligious evaluation, of both mainstream and independent films. It can be thought of as a guide to mind nutrition for film viewers. 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.

This month we are focusing on elected officials. The following films shed some light on the difficulties of representing the people in a democracy. They leave us feeling that honesty and integrity can still come shining through and that good people do make a difference.



(1995) Michael Douglas, Annette Bening, Michael J. Fox
The story of the personal and political life of a young widowed President and his daughter. Great acting, writing and directing are combined to make this film extremely entertaining, educational and romantic. It is also an illuminating statement about important social issues and the political process.

We see Michael Douglas at his best in this role, portraying the perfect President. Annette Bening, as the President's ladyfriend, is totally charming and funny as the environmental activist he falls in love with. She's feisty, intelligent and aggressive, which turns the President on, not off, as is usually the case when a man is confronted by a strong woman. The film is humanitarian and liberal and makes fun of some superficial "conservative family values" which are irrelevant to being loving, truthful and caring. It is about the necessity and ultimately the success of "right action," by people who are part of the political process. Important issues like gun control, anti-crime bills and environmental legislation are examined.

Probably its most important message is to be aware of the real issues regarding whom to vote for, not to buy into the character assassinations that plague politics today.


(1993) Kevin Kline, Sigourney Weaver, Ben Kingsley, Charles Grodin, Bonnie Hunt, Frank Langelia
A romantic comedy with a serious political message about governing and government. Innocence and righteousness win against corrupt political behavior the nice guy comes out on top.

Kevin Kline is a good-hearted man who finds himself forced to impersonate the President in a scandalous attempt to keep the public in the dark about the real President's illness. As he speaks for the President, he starts interjecting his own honesty and concern for the people, qualities the real President does not possess.

The First Lady (Sigourney Weaver) has a real concern for humanity, and has been repelled by her husband's lack of integrity and the corruption within his entourage. The beautiful values this film espouses warm the heart and soul. It encourages ordinary people to contribute something to the political process.


(1992) Eddie Murphy, Joe Don Baker, Cynthia Harris, James Garner
This is an unusual Eddie Murphy film simultaneously funny, politically incisive, and inspirational. As a low-class petty con artist who runs for Congress as a scam because there is money in it, he shows us a close-to-reality portrait of politicians as common criminals. The romantic sub plot is sweet and touching. His campaign is hilarious and gives us clear insight into some of the darker tactics used by politicians to get elected.

The film is a serious political statement about the system of government today and how business in Congress is done. The Distinguished Gentleman explains the pitfalls of government as well as any other film we have seen while at the same time being a hilarious parody.


(1995) Gary Sinise, Diana Scarwid
Truman is the story of Harry S. Truman, 33rd President of the United States from 1945, when as Vice-President, he assumed the presidency after Roosevelt died, until 1952 when he decided not to run for another term. It is a remarkable and inspiration film because of the purity and integrity of the man. He was driven only by the desire to make the country a better place not by a hunger for power.

Born in the midwest, he was a simple and plain man with great strength of character who personified the positive values which are sometimes generalized as family values a respect for elders, loyalty to family, community and country, integrity, honesty and steadfastness. It is fascinating to see the circumstances of life which brought this simple man with no political ambition into the Presidency. He said that whatever his beliefs may have been when he grew up in Missouri, he did not believe anyone should be denied basic human rights and the opportunity to pursue happiness. He passed many monumental civil rights bills, and agreed to recognize the state of Israel in the face of harsh disagreement and criticism from his aides and the public.

His personal story is an interesting counterpoint to his political career. His 40-year marriage to Bess Truman was strained by the demands of office. She did not enjoy the limelight and had no interest in any of the social or political arenas which a President's wife can be part of. But out of love and loyalty to her husband, as well as a sense of civic duty, she supported and helped him during his two terms.

Diana Oestreich and Elliott Landy are a husband and wife team with a lifelong passion for film and spirituality. Uplifting Films is their creation.

Diana Oestreich has developed film projects for many actors, directors and studios including Warner Bros., MGM, Paramount, HBO and CBS. She has developed projects with Barbra Streisand, Christopher Reeve and Goldie Hawn and 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 and packaged several books and co-created a CD-ROM with Time Warner about the 1969 Woodstock Festival, has developed a CD-ROM of his book Woodstock Vision, The Spirit of A Generation, which will be released by Panasonic Software in the near future. Landy Vision, Inc., P.O.B. 836, Woodstock, NY 12498.

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

Return to the November/December Index page