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Movie review

Documentary offers more heart than excitement

By BILLY NORRIS
Published July 5, 2004


Billy Norris
Read the reviews by Xpress Film Critic Billy Norris

America's Heart and Soul

Rating: Not Rated

Summary: A true slice of Americana, America's Heart and Soul is a smattering of stories about the diverse people of our country, each told from their individual perspective.

My view: This film is random; its stories are in no apparent order. They span many different walks of life, from the ordinary (a Midwestern rug weaver) to the extreme (a blind mountain climber). For the most part, they are enlightening, heartwarming and unique - such as the junk artist from Washington state who found his niche combining pieces of scrap metal into works of art after spending his school years in special education classes. But also there are the "average Joes" who make their living on a farm milking cows and plowing crops. Overall, it is an accurate representation of the nation's demographics, and it is an interesting mix, to say the least. This is one of those movies that would be well-suited to the IMAX format. It is in limited release, and filmmaker Louis Schwartzberg's concept for developing an audience is his "spread the word" campaign. This project, based online, relies on fans of the film to send postcards, e-mails or pass out fliers to anyone and everyone they know - not the most effective way to garner business in today's market. A documentary, in the loosest use of the term, and not nearly as persuasive as Bowling for Columbine, America's Heart and Soul is decent, but probably won't draw too much attention.

Recommendations: This release around a patriotic holiday is quite timely. If you're in the national spirit, check this one out.

Grade: C+

Billy Norris, 16, will be in 11th grade at Seminole High and is a former member of the Times X-Team.

[Last modified July 2, 2004, 14:21:27]


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