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I was surprised at how well this film succeeded for me, and how strongly it reinforced my conviction that the death penalty is in nearly all cases unjust. You are well aware that this is the movie for which Charlize Theron (next to Halle Berry definitely in my icongraphic hall of Most Beautiful Women in the World--well there's a few others including (still) Sophia Loren, etc. but that's for antoher post) went plain. But not only did she "go plain," she also demonstrated an amazing acting ability. Who'd have guessed even after such films as The Astronaut's Wife?

In the film Theron plays Aileen Wouros, a down-and-out prostitute who is pushed over the edge and begins to kill the men who solicit her services. Ms. Wouros was a real person who was executed in 2002, an action I protested to the Governor and it consituted the first vigil I maintained. (Although being who I am, I didn't join any large crowd of people doing so. I prefered my vigil in the silence of my home in prayer.)

What struck me in the course of the film was how I was able to sympathize with the plight of this woman who had everything taken from her and was expected to survive, to make it on her own. Don't get me wrong, almost every choice she made was wrong--from the very beginning. However, the film shows the consequences of not reaching out to help people who find themselves in this situation. It shows the consequences of "victimless" crimes such as prostitution. It shows the consequences of our refusal to love even the unlovable, of our insistence upon meeting a set of arbitrary social standards before you are acceptable. The tragic irony of the film is that just when someone is able to reach out and try to help, Wouros has reached the end of the line.

I expected to be horrified by the violence in the film, and in a sense I was, but it was not the violence coming from Wouros, is was the violence directed at her. She is not a likeable person. She is not a person I would want to engage on any level. And yet, it is precisely that kind of person we are called as Christians to pay the most attention to. We are not allowed our preferences in whom we serve. I was reminded of this over and over because part of the story has a very deeply personal significance which I cannot share.

The film touched me and saddened me. I do have to admit that I was so assaulted by the language used that I came very, very close to turning it off on several occasions. But I stayed the course and I'm glad that I did. A superior film on many levels.

Recommended, but language and violence pretty much limits any household viewing.

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I watched the film as well. I thought the film could have done a better job of showing how horrible her childhood was and how that deeply affected her. It opened my eyes to a very dark and seedy culture in our population and moved me to pray for those caught in that subculture. If you are surrounded by darkness it would be extremely hard to rise above it to see the light.



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This page contains a single entry by Steven Riddle published on November 3, 2004 7:53 AM.

Two Things I Hope All Democrats Learned was the previous entry in this blog.

Mixed Feelings is the next entry in this blog.

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