Film Review: Intimate Stranger — 3 stars


SUMMARY: The compelling, tragic, global story of Joseph Cassuto, a man who loved his work more than his family.

DETAILS: Intimate Stranger is the story of Joseph Cassuto, an average, hardworking Jewish man whose life changed drastically due to WWII. Living in Egypt prior to the war, Joseph had a lovely wife and four children and a very successful career exporting Egyptian cotton to Japan, but following Pearl Harbor his life and career would take a drastic turn. His American wife and his two youngest children were able to return to America just prior to the war breaking out with the thought that Dad and the others would soon join them. But as fate would have it, it would be several years before they would arrive in Brooklyn, and in America, their successful father was a nobody. Mr. Cassuto soon started rebuilding his relationships with the Japanese and he eventually would live in Japan, away from his family, for 11 months of the year. As he became more loved by the Japanese, he became more hated by his own family. The best quote of the film is by one of his own sons who said, “I never met anybody who disliked him, other than the immediate family.” Intimate Stranger was made by Cassuto’s grandson Alan Berliner and is a great look at a man who busied himself too much with his career at the expense of those who should have loved him the most.

SCORE: 3 out of 5 stars

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Film Review: Antonia’s LIne — 3.5 stars


SUMMARY: Antonia returns to her small, Dutch community of quirky, wonderful characters where she leaves a legacy of love and laughter in the midst of life’s pains.

DETAILS: Winner of the 1995 Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film, Antonia’s Line shows the connectedness of family and community and the lineage we leave behind. Following World War II, Antonia and her daughter return to the village of her birth. The cast of this film is filled with wonderfully, quirky characters who breathe much life into the first half of this film. As the film progresses we see that Antonia and her line do not really need men (other than for occasional sex). Antonia ages throughout the story and we eventually see her line develop. The film is rated R for a reason, but the fun, quirky characters make this a fun film to watch.

SCORE: 3.5 out of 5

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Film Review: Unbroken — 4 stars



SUMMARY: A U.S. Olympic athlete turned WWII Airman survives a plane crash, 45 days on the open sea, and the remainder of the war in a Japanese prison camp… all the while remaining unbroken.

DETAILS: Based on the true life experiences of Louis Zamperini, Unbroken tells the story of a U.S. Olympic athlete turned WWII Airman (Jack O’Connell) who survives a plane crash in the ocean, 45 days on the open seas, and the remainder of the war in a Japanese prison camp. Zamperini continually hears his brothers words of encouragement though all of his trials, beatings, and torturous experiences. In the end he remains unbroken and eventually chooses to forgive his enemies. This screenplay, written by Joel & Ethen Coen (and others) contains several scenes that portray strong themes of faith and redemption, including a “crucifixion” scene, and a beautiful baptism scene where Louis and all the prisoners ultimately receive their redemption. Directed by Angelina Jolie, the story doesn’t cover the entire novel by the same name, but certainly is an inspiring telling of Zamperini’s early life.


SCORE: 4.0 out of 5 stars


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Film Review: The Railway Man — 4 stars

ONE WORD REVIEW: Forgiveness

SUMMARY: A British prisoner of war is forced to help build the Thai-Burma Railway and is nearly tortured to death. Decades later he confronts his captor and extends the only gift that will set them both free… forgiveness.

DETAILS: Based on the true story of Eric Lomax (Colin Firth), a British Army Officer who is captured during World War II by the Japanese and forced to help contstruct the Thai-Burma Railway. The film cuts back and forth between 1980’s England where Lomax and his new wife (Nicole Kidman) struggle to overcome his horrific war memories and the POW environment of the 1940’s where he was tortured beyond imagination. Along the way he realizes there may only be two ways out of his pain – suicide or revenge, so he sets out to find the one who played a key role in his torture and enact his retribution. In the process he realizes that his captor has been tortured by the wartime memories as well and that perhaps there is a third option that may lead to freedom for both of their tortured souls… forgiveness.


SCORE: 4 out of 5


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