Bopha! (1993) PG-13
This film takes place in South Africa in 1980, in the midst of the Apartheid uprisings. It focuses on a particular African American family. Danny Glover plays the husband, a policeman, who is employed by the government. Unbeknownst to him, his teenage son starts to engage in anti-apartheid activities. It provides interesting and often disturbing insight into this time period, and how it affected the residents of South Africa.
Visit NPR.org for a series of articles and audio clips recounting South Africa’s struggle for democracy.
Doubt (2008) PG-13
Doubt is an excellent, engaging film with a great cast led by Meryl Streep and Philip Seymour Hoffman. The film is set in 1964, in a Catholic elementary school in New York City. Streep plays the principal of the school, a very traditional and rigid nun. Hoffman plays a priest in the parish, with more progressive views. The story focuses on a conflict between these two characters. It is one of those thought-provoking films that compels you to talk about it afterward, since it allows the viewer to absorb the story based on one’s own background and perspective.
And you can talk about it! Join us this Friday — December 4 — at 7:00 to watch and discuss the film. Sign up online, in person at Readers Services, or by phone at 630/887-8760, ext. 239.
Breach (2007) PG-13
Breach is great film, based on the true story of FBI agent Robert Hanssen, who was convicted of treason. The movie portrays the events that took place surrounding the investigation and arrest of Robert Hanssen. There’s not a lot of action, but it definitely held my interest, as it was well-written, well-paced, and thought-provoking, especially knowing that it’s true.
Listen to an interview on NPR with the man who caught Hanssen — Eric O’Neill — and with screenwriter Billy Ray. Also check out an article featuring Chris Cooper, who portrays Hanssen in the film.
Taken (2008) PG-13
Fast-paced action thriller that touches on a topic that is frightening for any parent. Liam Neeson plays a former government agent whose teenage daughter is abducted while in Paris with a friend. He relies on his old skills to try to rescue his daughter and seek revenge on the criminals who kidnapped her.
Lions for Lambs (2007) R
As a huge fan of Meryl Streep and Robert Redford, I had to see this movie. Redford stars in and directed this film. Tom Cruise also does an impeccable job playing an ambitious politician.
Unlike any film I’ve seen recently, it relies primarily on dialogue, rather than action, to deliver its message. Although the main subject of the film is U.S. involvement in a war in Afghanistan, it uses three different story lines, all taking place simultaneously, to portray how the media, government, and education systems can shape and/or manipulate our attitudes about so many things.
Each story line is interesting and thought provoking in a unique way. Although not a documentary, you can’t help but draw many parallels to the current situations in Afghanistan and Iraq. Mostly, it asks us to examine our own personal responsibility and choices to take action, rather than remain apathetic or indifferent.
I also enjoyed the special features – hearing the views of the writer, director, and other actors. Check out TIME Magazine’s conversation with Redford, Streep, and Cruise.