ALL the furniture was pushed into the center of the room. A large old tarp with splotches of color looking like fireworks was covering all of the pieces. A white haired man dressed in white overalls was carefully outlining the walls with fresh paint. Using a paintbrush that he told me was made of natural bristles, he started at the top of the wall making his way across by sidestepping down a plank of wood he had stuck between two ladders. Once the top of the walls were all done he slowly filled the sides all around so each wall looked like it was a blank picture frame. I would watch him pour cans of paint into a big bucket, stirring it like it was a thick porridge. Once he was satisfied he would start at one side of the room and begin to paint in the walls. He had a steady rhythm as his arm would rise and fall, leaving a trail of fresh paint from his brush or roller. The thing that amazed me the most about him was his overalls; I do not recall every seeing any drops of paint on them. He told me he had been painting houses ever since he got out of high school. Though he may have been in his early 60s, which meant he had been doing this for decades, he still felt the same pride for every paint job. TIMES have changed as far as I can tell. Over at a friend’s house recently, they showed me the poor job their painter did on their front door. The new color did not always reach the boundaries of the door or it would go beyond. It was ghastly looking and he was quite upset. I have had my share of poor service either from repair people in my home or out at a store. Recently in the news I assume most of you have seen the videos of poor customer service with some airlines. It almost looks like a war situation doesn’t it? One has to wonder if some employees are afraid to let people know what they do for a living when they are not at work. It is something the main character in this dramatic crime story experienced on a daily basis. FOLLOWING in the footsteps of his uncle and father Albert Pierrepoint, played by Timothy Spall (Harry Potter franchise, Secrets & Lies), wanted to surpass their records and be the best in the country. He just did not want anyone to know. Based on true events, this film festival winning biography also starred Juliet Stevenson (Bend it Like Beckham, Mona Lisa Smile) as Anne Fletcher, Eddie Marsan (Sherlock Holmes franchise, V for Vendetta) as James ‘Tish’ Corbitt and James Corden (Begin Again, Into the Woods) as Kirky. With Timothy’s outstanding performance I was quickly tied up into the story. It really provided the viewer with things to think about regarding one’s profession, beliefs and feelings. I have to say the topic was something I had not given much thought to and ironically it has been in the news recently. No matter what is your belief system regarding the industry Albert dwells in, I think there is much to gain by watching this DVD. My guess is no one would have thought customer service would be a part of this story.
3 ¼ stars — DVD
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