Wednesday, 5 December 2007

Film Buff

Last night I went to see A Mighty Heart – the film about Daniel and Marianne Pearl.

(I don’t usually see so many films but there are a glut on at our local independent cinema and I like to make the most of them while they’re here, which is usually only for one night.)

For those of you that don’t know, Daniel Pearl was a journalist with the Wall Street Journal working in Pakistan when he was kidnapped. I’d wanted to see this as I’d heard Marianne Pearl interviewed on Woman’s Hour and was struck by what she’d been through and how incredibly together she seemed, how gutsy.

Also, I used to work at WTN at the time when John McCarthy was a hostage. I knew Jill Morrell and became involved in Friends of John McCarthy, so I was interested to see how this film would portray this terrible time for the Pearls. As it was produced by Brad Pitt and starred Angelina Jolie as Marianne, I feared it might turn it into a Hollywood soap saga.

Stupidly, I hadn’t realised that the whole film would be devoted to his kidnap and the incredible efforts involved worldwide with trying to get him back. I’d thought the focus would be on how she got over this terrible tragedy. WRONG.

I don’t know how I got through the film. It was gut wrenchingly agonising. I spent two hours knotted up, waiting for his inevitable gruesome murder, which didn’t happen right until the very end by which time I was in tangles, and completely empathised with her unspeakable anguish. (She howled, the most terrifying sound.)

All I could think of was, this is how I’d feel if Himself was taken. The ethos of No Deals with Terrorists is one thing, but if it was your loved one…..?

Still, it showed how hard everyone worked to get him back and the technology involved nowadays is mind boggling. Of course I had nightmares last night, and I’m feeling extremely jittery this morning, but it was worth seeing. I just couldn’t sit through it again.

She showed true courage at the end. She must have been about 7 months pregnant and decided that if she was going to be able to live in peace, she must face the worst – know exactly what had happened to Danny – and then there was nothing to be frightened of. I won’t repeat what did happen because it was just terrible, but what bravery. And what sense she had.

At the end of the film, she has her son, Adam, and she continues her work as a journalist in Paris. So life goes on. Perhaps Adam will grow up to be a journalist like his parents. Perhaps not. But Danny Pearl has brought his son into the world, and for that Marianne must be eternally grateful.

How on earth you cope with that sort of ordeal I can’t imagine. It’s not as if anyone says, ‘OK you can bunk off now if you’ve had enough.’ You either get through the bad times or you go under. But most of us do get through – somehow - because we have to. Because things will get better. Because we have courage, and we have optimism.

If we’re very lucky we have a sense of humour. The most underrated emotion of all.

14 comments:

Dee said...

I'm not a Jolie fan at all, but I might go and see this. Sounds very interesting. Thanks for sharing your experience of watching this with us.

laurie said...

i'm with you, flowerpot. i can try to put myself in the place of people who suffer such horrible tragedies, but i simply cannot do it. and i hope i never have to experience it.

i'm not a Jolie fan, either, but i think i would like to see this film.

Flowerpot said...

dee - no I'm not a Jolie fan either but this was excellent - if gruelling.

laurie - yes it was good!

Rebecca Taunton said...

Sounds like a very good movie FP, and a very well written blog entry (I must add). Exceptional circumstances but a lesson for us all, I'm sure.

RT

Flowerpot said...

RT - horrific but very good yes. Thanks for the encouragement!

Flowerpot said...
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Ellee Seymour said...

I think I would find this film heartbreaking. It's particularly poignant now because of the present hostage situation in Iraq.

Flowerpot said...

Ellee, it was heartbreaking. And as you say, very poignant.

The Rotten Correspondent said...

This is the kind of film I just can't watch. I don't know why, but they do a total number on my head.

All that anguish and pain. I feel like I'm hungover for days.

Twix said...

This is great. I have been wanting to watch this film. And now I will! Thank you for the review. I worried about which direction it would take, too. :)

Akelamalu said...

Although it sounds harrowing I think I would like to see this film to understand what they went through. Thanks for doing the write up Flowerpot. x

Lane said...

I didn't think I'd go to see this but after your review I think I will.
Thanks fp.

Flowerpot said...

rc - I have to say if I'd known what it was going to be like, I wouldn't have watched it either!

twix - good to meet you and please call again. Good luck with your weight loss. What a courageous person you are.

Flowerpot said...

ak - she went through hell - none of it was front his point of view which was just as well - I couldn't have coped with that.

lane - be prepared!