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"You can't measure the success of a [film] on how many tickets it sells. You can only measure it in how many hearts it changes." Hayao Miyazaki …more »»  
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What’s the deal here?

Have you ever had a blinding flash of clarity about a better life or a better world? A moment where you thought, “Hey, maybe there’s life before death”? It can change you, and it can start with a moment in a movie.

That’s what is about: finding life through film. Whether a film is old or new, we turn things around: We spend less time critiquing a film and more time asking if the film can critique us. With any film, we:

  • Focus first on how a film embodies the best in life — good, true, beautiful things — even if its filmcraft falls short.
  • Tone down (but don’t ignore) our critique of a film’s failings.
  • Allow a film to show ugly sides of life if, by doing so, it might help us see the best in life more clearly.

Why? Because life is better when the world’s a better place, and that starts with us. Whether on DVD or in a theater, we have a good time with film and we want movies to help us get better. Other bits you’ll find on the site:

A angle on film is about how we change from the inside out and how film can help us do that. It works like this:

Change from the inside out

  • Heart. On the inside, in our hearts, is who we really are. A film can show us the best things in life and move us toward loving them.
  • Beauty. Our hearts move with Beauty — good, true, pleasing things. A film can help us feel the joy of real Beauty or the pain of Beauty's absence.
  • Love. As a film moves us toward Beauty, we can find and live love and relationship with those around us.

Be thoughtful about film

  • Find a film's heart. Seeing a film, we want more than the fun of the moment. We also want the film's heart to move us toward the best in life.
  • Take care with content. We see films that dive deep into ugly issues of this life, and thus show ugly things, but we don't want to enjoy ugly content for its own sake.
  • Consider what to watch. We see a broad range of films, yet we aim to choose better films that enrich our lives with Beauty in the moment and that also help us get better.

I hope you'll join us.

Randy Heffner

Talk about great films: Things We Lost in the Fire (2007)

Before viewing talk
With depth and unblinking intensity, Things We Lost in the Fire explores human connection, dependency, love, selflessness, and jealousy, focused in the aftermath of a ...more »»
After viewing talk
After seeing Things We Lost in the Fire, I want to live a deeper and truer love, one based more in freedom than satisfaction. Of course, we know that … more »»
…more »»  

Reviews and stuff on other interesting film sites

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Take a deep dive into your own head. Do an archaeological dig. Work your way all the way to the center. What do you find? Core…

Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)
It's explosive fun. It's even more fun the second time. And I think it'll be justly celebrated as one of the all-time great achievements…

Tomorrowland? Or Tomorrow-bland?
I hoped that Brad Bird would experience a much more positive response to his own passion project — the long-anticipated Tomorrowland…

My Favorite Film of 2014: The Strange Little Cat
[This review was included in my Favorite Films of 2014 post. But, for the archives, it gets a post of its own.] • In one scene,…

Something, Anything
Ida, Ewa, Gloria, and now… the final contestant in this, the Looking Closer Beauty Pageant. Readers, let me catch you up:…

Looking Closer at Selma: My Review and Some Other Perspectives
By choosing intimacy over an epic scale, by going small instead of large, by discernment and selectivity over throwing everything…

The Fault in Our Stars (2014): First Impressions
If I were struggling with cancer, I suspect this movie would come across as punch in the gut.…

Moses and Errin’ — A Review of Exodus: Gods and Kings
Dear Ridley Scott, My name is Aaron. I’m the brother of Moses. In the Holy Scriptures, when Moses balks at God’s call…

Looking Closer’s Thanksgiving Movie: Terrence Malick’s The New World
So, putting on my film critic hat, I will do as I usually do at Thanksgiving — I will recommend that we remember the origins…

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 — My First Impressions
Our futures will be shaped by the capacity of rising generations to challenge and test what their screens and gadgets tell them…

Updated: 21 Oct 2017, 14:00 UTC


Sr. Jaguar’s Journey Takes a Healing Odyssey Through the Amazon Rainforest
Sister Jaguar’s Journey is both a film and a book about the life of Sr. Judy Bisognano. My review was published today over…

‘The Star’ new animated Christmas feature coming November 2017
I interviewed the director Timothy Reckart yesterday and I am writing a feature article about him and his new film for St. Anthony…

Ribald and Irreverent, ‘The Little Hours’ has Nothing to Recommend it
It’s been more than a month since I have posted a review here on Patheos! I’ve been on retreat, attended community…

‘Polina’ – so you think you can dance?
Polina (French title: Polina, danser sa vie)   Somewhere in Russia, Polina (Veronika Zhovnytska and Anastasia Shevtsova)…

“The Promise”- a too familiar world
In the early 1900s, an estimated 1.5 million Armenians lived within the borders of the dying Ottoman Empire, led by what is now…

“Gifted” a look at genius and a selfish grandmother
Six-year-old Mary Adler (Mckenna Grace) doesn’t want to go to school, but her uncle, Frank (Chris Evans), insists. Their neighbor…

‘The Great War’ is a master class on US involvement in World War I
Writer-director Stephen Ives’ three-part, six-hour documentary on how President Woodrow Wilson got the United States into…

‘Smurfs: The Lost Village’ asks: What’s in a name?
Note: there are spoilers but I am assuming you are older than seven if you are reading this and won’t mind or care. Besides…

‘The Zookeeper’s Wife’ – a true story of compassion and courage
This latest film from director Niki Caro (Whalerider) is perhaps one of the most unknown historical dramas that took place during…

‘Cries from Syria’: J’accuse! Airs tonight 3/13/17 HBO
The opening scene of Cries from Syria is of a two-year old baby laying dead on the sea shore, the rippled waves washing over him,…

Updated: 21 Oct 2017, 14:00 UTC