THERE ARE TWO MEMORIES THAT ARE as vivid and fresh in my mind as when they occurred, when I was in kindergarten. I remember I was the only one in my class who was left-handed and there was only one student who had red hair. He stood out more than I did. His hair was the type of red that looked like flames, bright with an orange tint. There was a smattering of freckles across his face that looked like one of those connect the dot coloring books. He wasn’t the nicest of students but looking back I now may understand why. Rarely was he asked to come play with someone on the school’s playground. While students were playing tag or tossing a ball back and forth, he was sitting on the school’s stairs or on the ground with his back up against the playground fence. The other students, I do not want to say avoided him per se, would interact with him if they were together on an art project or at assembly. However, I think he was a loner not by choice but because of the students confused with his red hair. I know that sounds silly, but I cannot come up with another reason. Maybe kids did not like the way he looked; to me even back then that would be a ridiculous notion. THE IDEA THAT A PERSON IS judged by their looks is something I find appalling. Back in that kindergarten class, I remember tearing up when the teacher was teaching the class how to use a pair of scissors to cut colored, construction paper. I saw the other kids were able to do it, but the scissors felt funny in my left hand when I held them the way the teacher told us. The boy sitting next to me asked me if I was dumb because I could not manipulate the scissors like the other kids. The tears were increasing in size, ready to fall out of my eyes. Luckily a girl on my other side showed me how I could cut paper using my left hand. From that incident, I have never forgotten what it feels like to be different. That red haired boy who stood out in class, me being a lefty and the girl who wore unusual clothes; we did not fit in the way people felt we should fit in. The arguments I hear about people’s looks or actions that they were born with are completely offensive in my opinion. What does it matter what two consenting adults feel for each other or someone has a different skin color? There is only one classification and that is human. Watching this documentary was a disturbing experience. I felt I was witnessing a crime. A MOVEMENT FORMED THAT WAS RELIGIOUS based, that believed a person could pray away something they were born with. This group would try to make a person conform and fit in, no matter the cost and the cost was high. Directed by Kristine Stolakis (Where We Stand, The Typist), this was a startling revelation for me. I will do my best not to give much away, but I have a hard time with anyone who tries to convert someone to their own religion or control someone else’s body by creating laws or considers a person less than themselves because of their skin color. This was a powerful and frightening story. Though I was fully engaged in this movie, I wished they had devoted more time to the victim’s stories or should I say journeys. The impact would have been more powerful in my opinion. The scenes that had the sermons in front of the congregation were sad to me; all I saw was hatred for someone being different than themselves. I appreciated seeing the interviews with the individuals who came to terms with themselves and survived; however, it would have been interesting to talk about the ones that did not survive. Once again, we are all human.
3 ½ stars
SHE SPOTTED ME AS I CAME through the door and did not take her eyes off me all the way down the staircase, until I finally took a seat. In that short amount of time she had already figured me out. The trainer came over to introduce herself to me and explain what was expected of me. I was prepared but still had some trepidation. You see, I had never done this before and did not want to embarrass myself right at the start. After going through the instructions, the trainer took me over to meet her. She was taller and much bigger than me, with a long mane of auburn hair. I was told to extend my hand slowly with the palm facing up, so as not to startle her. She started to pull back, but the trainer told her in a quiet, soothing voice that everything was ok and that I was nice. I felt weird standing there with my arm stretched out waiting for her, I guess, to see if she would begin to trust me. It seemed like a long time but evidentially she took a step forward and lowered her head down to sniff my hand. I remained still for a moment before I began scratching her under the chin and softly tell her she was a good girl. That was the extent of our interaction for the day; I was to return tomorrow for our second session. AFTER MY INITIAL INTRODUCTION I THOUGHT I would have been more relaxed but that was not the case. When I returned the next day, she was walking in a large circle until she spotted me and came to a stop; her gaze locked onto me as I walked down the stairs. The trainer was standing near her and motioned me to come over. I took it as a good sign that she did not back away as I joined them. Today’s lesson was to teach me how to clean her feet and if time permitted, I would get a riding lesson. The trainer handed me some type of brush with what looked like a metal claw sticking out of it; I was to use this to clean her feet after the trainer demonstrated it for me. The process was easy, and I got the hang of it rather quickly. Afterwards there was enough time, so the trainer instructed me on how to mount her and get in the saddle. Having never done this before, it took a couple of times before I could do it. I am sure that was enough for my horse to know I was a novice. And sure enough, once I got settled into the saddle, she took off in a trot with me bouncing up and down atop her back. No matter what the trainer told me to do, the horse was not buying it and did what she wanted to do. I was just grateful she did not try to knock me off her. Through my lessons I gained a deeper appreciation for horses, which explains why I enjoyed this dramatic, award winning film. CONVICTED AND IMPRISONED FOR A VIOLENT crime Roman, played by Matthias Schoenaerts (Red Sparrow, Rust and Bone), was enrolled into a prison program that involved the training of wild mustangs. Roman would soon discover he met his match. With Jason Mitchell (Straight Outta Compton, Kong: Skull Island) as Henry, Bruce Dern (Nebraska, The ’Burbs) as Myles, Gideon Adlon (Blockers, American Crime-TV) as Martha and Connie Britton (American Ultra, Nashville-TV) as psychologist; this film based on true events told a straight forward story in a simple and surprisingly beautiful way. The filming was eye catching and Matthias’ acting was incredibly intense to the point one could not take their eyes off him. There was a smoldering intensity that boiled and simmered throughout the story. I thought the script was well written as it carried the story between periods of silence and action. This was a quiet and thoughtful movie filled with majestic animals and touching moments.
3 ¼ stars