Flash Movie Review: The Letters
How enriched does one’s life become when they are the recipient of an act of kindness. Through the centuries there have been extraordinary people who have given more to others than themselves. Present day there are moments where a kind gesture can change the entire day if not just our mood. I have one individual who remains vivid in my memory as an incredibly kind person; it was a former teacher of mine. After going through a long span of difficult times in school, I was desperate to find someone to talk to about a small group of predatory students. This particular teacher was the most approachable out of my instructors. I still remember the look on her face when I finally overcame my embarrassment and told her what was happening to me. She became a mixture of mortified anger and immediately took me to one of the vice principals of the school. Once there she took over and explained my situation, demanding action against the students. I was terrified that all of this would come back to bite me, that the students would seek vengeance. When the vice principal questioned me further, I had to express my concerns. They both assured me there would be no retaliation from the group of students; I was not convinced. The next school day did indeed turn out to be a better day. The teacher made sure she was outside of the classroom before and after class every day to watch me as I walked down the hallway. To me, her act of kindness was saintly. THROUGH her life Mother Teresa, played by Juliet Stevenson (Bend it Like Beckham, Mona Lisa Smile), kept correspondence with her spiritual advisor Celeste van Exem, played by Max von Sydow (Robin Hood, Shutter Island). Her letters were the basis for this film festival winning drama. There is no denying Mother Teresa was a very special human being; there have been many stories and reports about her life which included winning the Nobel Prize for Peace. Not as familiar with her early years, I was interested with the beginning of this film. The script went back and forth between Celeste and Benjamin Praagh, played by Rutger Hauer (Blade Runner, The Reverend), discussing Mother Teresa in the past tense to actually seeing scenes of her life in chronological order. Unfortunately the script did a big disservice; it was void of emotion and details. I never got a sense of Mother Teresa’s motivation or even her thoughts; this was a poorly written story. The picture was for the most part bland; nothing stood out whether it was the acting (which in some scenes was almost comical) or the directing. It played more like a mediocre television movie. Actually, what the studio created here is one of those painted felt pictures of a religious figure that you would see being sold on the side of the road. Mother Teresa deserved so much more than this picture.
1 2/3 stars