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 taller 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.




(1994) Directed by Jesse Nelson with Whoopi Goldberg, Ray Liotto, Tina Majorino, Don Ameche

Set in the 1950's, this beautiful story of a father and his 8 year old laughter begins sadly after the death of their wife/mother. The father hires Corrina as a nanny for his daughter. She is a very wise black woman whose love and spirituality helps the child transcend her grief. The concepts of angels and God she introduces bring joy to the little girl, and ultimately to her resistant father. This process illustrates how positive these concepts are for children and how readily they accept them.

Corrina is powerful and effective despite the class conscious and prejudiced society of this time period. Respect and love allow the characters to overcome the narrow mindedness they encounter. Whoopi and Liotto play excellent role models, and the acting throughout is superb. This film contains wisdom about communication with children, racial prejudice and injustice, dealing with grief, the Positive role of faith and religion in he healing process, the evils of smoking and more.

Corrina Corrina is touching, humorous and serious. Its many heartwarming moments will make you laugh and cry. It is important to see loving people and relationships such is these. An excellent musical soundtrack complements this highly intelligent and meaningful story.

Proviso: a parent dying and the ensuing grief of the child makes it unsuitable for young children.


CINEMA PARADISO (1989) Italian, subtitled (U) Directed by Guiseppe Tornatore with Philippe Noriet, Jacques Perrin, Salvatore Cascio

A heart warming story of Toto, a young boy in love with the cinema and his mentor Alfredo, the projectionist at "Cinema Paradiso," the movie theater in their small fishing village in Sicily during World War 2. This Academy Award winning film is one of the most exhilarating films we have ever seen.

Toto becomes Alfredo's apprentice and a beautiful father/son relationship develops over many years . Alfredo teaches him about life as they share their passion and love for cinema.

The film is a joyous ode to cinema a and its power to awaken the feeling of paradise within simple people. It strengthens their community, invigorates their spirit, heals and transports them to a higher state, offering the villagers a series of dream worlds beyond their own simple lives. The faces of the townspeople are unforgettable as we see them weep and roar with laughter watching films. Comedy and drama make them forget their problems and bring them together while women breastfeed and teenage boys sit and share emotions they would dare not otherwise express.

Alfredo instructs Toto with cinema wisdom, which in the end we see is his own. When Toto grows into manhood Alfredo fiercely, but lovingly, pushes him to leave home to follow his dreams and not be held back by tradition and guilt. "Don't come back, don't think about us, don't look back, don't give in to nostalgia," Alfredo instructs him passionately imploring Toto to love whatever he chooses to do.

There are many magical cinematic moments showing the miracle of destiny. You laugh and weep just like the Sicilian villagers, profoundly touched by the loving, real characters and romantic vision of this film. It is also a statement about the loss of cinema as a way of life and the ensuing cultural regression brought about by the advent of TV. But ultimately the film is about Alfredo's gift of love, joy, passion and delight to his young apprentice that serves as an inspiration for his entire life.


Directed by Andrew Bergman with Nicolas Cage, Bridget Fonda, Rosie Perez

This romantic comedy is about a New York City policeman who wins the lottery and honors his promise to share the money with a waitress. Although loosely based on a true story, the film has the light hearted style of the old fashioned comedies of the 40's.

Their love story stresses the importance of compassion as a basis for romance. Both characters believe that it is better to give than to receive, and neither treasures money for its own sake. Without revealing the touching ending, we can say they are ultimately rewarded for this philosophy. The film comically contrasts the materialism and greed of society with the innocence and generosity of Fonda and Cage.

These wonderful good Samaritans personify true spirituality and demonstrate the importance of integrity and caring, especially in an environment as cynical as New York City. Cage shows dignity in the throes of a bad marriage, while Fonda is angelic Strong and independent.

It Could Happen To You portrays faith in life, leaving you unafraid and expecting miracles. The film's narrator Angel turns out to be a Guardian Angel, symbolizing the film's main message that good things happen to good people. The acting is excellent. The theater audience applauded at the end of this charming film and left smiling. A film for the entire family.


(1994) Directed by Robert Zemeckis with Tom Hanks, Sally Fields, Gary Sines

Perhaps the most well known uplifting Film of 1994, this wonderful portrait of innocence rewarded is based on the book by Winston Groom. Hanks, as Forrest Gump, takes us through a life of amazing achievements and astonishing coincidences with a unique, funny and charming sense of humanity. Forrest is a simple person with a low IQ who acts from his heart rather than his intellect and therefore unerringly does the loving and right thing every time. its basic concept is similar to Being There with Peter Sellers. Gump also provides a striking vision of some of the most important historical events of the 1950's and 60's right up to the present.

A whole passel of Oscars went to this one, including Best Film and Hank's second straight Oscar for Best Actor.

Proviso: There are some violent bloody Vietnam War scenes which, although a very small part of the film, are nevertheless disturbing.


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 Protects for many actors, directors and studios including Warner Bros., MGM, Paramount, HBO and CBS. She has developed projects with Barbara Streisand, Christopher Reeve and Goldie Hawn and is currently developing a feature film which focuses on Zen Buddhism.

Elliott Bandy 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. (c)Landy Vision, Inc., P.O.B. 836 Woodstock, NY 12498.

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

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