There is a saying that I have seen in numerous places recently; it goes, “Being kind is easier than being mean.” I have noticed it on social media sites, T-shirts and heard it talked about on television talk shows; it seems to be everywhere. Now here is my question, “Why?” Why are so many people (at least to me) talking about kindness? I can remember a time where it was polite to hold the door open for someone, to give up one’s seat to someone else on public transportation or let a person enter in ahead of you. Really, how much of a burden would it be to do any of these acts? Something happened that has turned kindness into a rare gemstone; days could go by before I would see an example of it being done. There certainly is a layer of distrust that has permeated our consciousness. A good example of why this is would be the time I signed up for a newspaper subscription from a high school student who knocked on my front door. They took my money but I never received a paper, finding out the newspaper company never solicits subscriptions in such a way. Another reason I feel is due to the electronic revolution we have been embracing. With the fraud now associated to our ATM and charge cards, a good portion of us are afraid to click on any email links. That simple click could unleash a virus on one’s electronic device that will steal our identity, wipe out our savings and possibly lead a path for the virus to seek out our contacts. I have gone through at least half a dozen times where my bank has called me due to fraudulent activity on my charge card. It is enough to make a person go back to the old days and pay cash for everything. Stuff like this is only one part of the factors that cause a person to hold back from doing a kind act. Then again, see what happens when one does something kind in this movie thriller. LITTLE did Perry, played by Ewan McGregor (Star Wars franchise, The Impossible), know that the offer of a drink by Dima, played by Stellan Skarsgard (The Avengers franchise, The Girl with the Dragon Tatoo), would have such an effect on his life. This story based on John le Carre’s (A Most Wanted Man, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy) novel had a good mix of actors that also included Naomie Harris (Skyfall, Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom) as Gail. Stellan was outstanding in the role to the point I felt he dominated the movie screen. The story started out slow and though I did not read the book, I found myself able to predict where the story would lead next. Being able to figure out the story was kind of a drag on my enjoyment level while watching this film. At least the acting quality was at a good enough level for me to stay interested in what was going on. I guess this is my way of being kind to this picture.
2 ¾ stars
The television was on for background noise. I am not interested in hearing any of the creaks and moans an old house expresses periodically. My ear caught an announcer on TV saying something about a man with an amputated leg who had climbed Mt. Everest. I looked up to see this guy bundled up in a thick jacket, standing with his one prosthetic leg gleaming in the bright sunlight. It would be an impressive achievement for anyone, let alone someone with only one leg. I sat pondering the possible advantages or disadvantages a prosthetic leg could offer someone. One thing that came to mind is a person would not have to worry about the leg getting frostbite, but I was not sure if there were any other advantages. It is funny, earlier in the evening I had watched a competition show where people were running through an obstacle course. One of the contestants was an amputee and though they did not complete the course, they gave it their best shot. My interest was piqued enough to make me watch the other contestants run the course and I have to say I was fascinated with the variety of people who signed up for this contest. From such different backgrounds I would not have initially imagined this course would be something people wanted to try and complete. It was like a Superman scenario: accountant by day and superhero by night. It brought to mind how most of us wear “different hats” throughout the day. A person can be a daughter, a sister, a librarian, a mother, a steelworker; all these different components make up who we are as individuals. For myself I am a brother, an uncle, a credit manager, a yoga instructor, a cycle instructor and each aspect comes with different criteria; I enjoy the mash-up of it, with its similarities and differences. Imagine if I did not know the different personas in me; my demeanor as a yoga instructor would not necessarily work in my job as a credit manager. What do you think would happen if a person did not even know they had different roles inside of them? FRANKIE, played by Halle Berry (X-Men franchise, The Call), had no idea how the unfamiliar clothing wound up in her closet. Based on a true story this film festival winning drama gave Halle a good character to portray. She did the best she could with the role and I appreciated how she made it easy to follow her story. With Stellan Skarsgard (The Avengers franchise, Thor franchise) as Oz and Phylicia Rashad (Creed, Good Deeds) as Edna, I thought the acting was fine. The subject was something that has been covered in other films, so I was not totally surprised by this story. I felt the script was too generic, being quite predictable; yet because of what was happening to Frankie, I stayed engaged with this biographical story. I do not know how much interest this film would generate with viewers; but I have to say, I did not feel like I wasted part of my day by sitting down and watching it.
2 1/4 stars – DVD