The Power of One Movie: Gandhi with Ben Kingsley

The Power of One Movie

Cinematherapy for When You’re Feeling Cynical

 

Gandhi (1982)

Stars: Ben Kingsley

Director: Richard Attenborough

Writer: John Briley

 

Thanks to this movie, Gandhi was “the man” back in ’82. As Martin Sheen said, “Everyone in Hollywood wanted to be just like Gandhi—thin, tan, and moral.”

This epic movie presents Gandhi (Ben Kingsley) as a moral beacon in the darkness of colonialism, the simple voice of reason and integrity that falls on the deaf ears of a bunch of white guys in fussy uniforms whose civilized exterior belies their potential for cruelty due to a bloated sense of entitlement. While riding a train one day, Gandhi is thrown from the naivete of privilege into the dingy reality of prejudice and realizes he’s got to use his newly earned law degree to help his fellow Indians. Ovr the coruse of several decades, he manages to unite Hindus and Muslims against the tyranny of the British, whose façade of politeness is quickly shattered when their subjects stop bowing to them. One look at the British officers whacking he heads and shoulders of hundreds of quietly protesting Indian men in order to bully them into submission and it’s clear that maintaining oppression requires a high level of denial or the admission that shiny boots and clipped mustaches aside, you’re just another thug. Gandhi’s protests may have required more years and more bloodshed on his side’s part than he had hoped, and his coalition may have fallen apart quickly after his death, but his message of human dignity triumphing over the lust for power is enough to keep us hopeful even when it’s clear that yet another regime didn’t get the memo and the same old battles for human rights have to be fought all over again in some other corner of the world.

If you’re feeling cynical, insignificant, and in need of some can-do spirit, check out Gandhi and see if it doesn’t get you off the couch and raring to make a difference in the world.

 

When you’re feeling cynical and insignificant, watch Gandhi, a Power of One movie, for cinematherapy.

“An eye for an eye only ends up making the whole world blind.”—Ben Kingsley as Gandhi

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Indiscreet with Cary Grant and Ingrid Bergman: Happily-Ever-After Movie Rx

Are you in need of a Happily-Ever-After movie to fill your mind with bliss and erase all traces of rational thought, so that you can stop thinking and just ENJOY? Here’s a prescription for a perfect Happily-Ever-After movie that will serve as chocolate mousse for the soul and smooth every ruffled feather and frayed nerve.

Indiscreet (1958)

Stars: Cary Grant, Ingrid Bergman, Cecil Parker, Phyllis Calvert

Director: Stanley Donen

Writer: Norman Krasna, based on his play Kind Sir

You know you’ve stepped into a different era when a flustered Ingrid Bergman is advised by her sister (Phyllis Calvert) to put on a girdle so she’ll feel better. In fact, this whole movie has a surreal quality that makes one wonder if there was ever a golden era in which girdles boosted serotonin levels or if, perhaps, the screenwriter of this delicious 50s morsel spent a little time in an alternate reality.

The male love interest, Phillip Adams (Cary Grant), is not just suave, sophisticated, and charming: He has a glamorous, high-paying job, is single and straight, and can drink Scotch and sodas morning, noon, and night and never show the slightest hint of inebriation or under-eye puffiness. The female love interest, Anna Kalman (Berman), is an actress living in London, who never seems to have a role yet can afford designer dress-and-coat ensembles to don on casual evenings out. Plus, she has a sympathetic sister and brother-in-law (Cecil Parker) living conveniently close by and no loser boyfriend hitting her up for his half of the rent money.  Like Phillip, Anna has the extraordinary capacity to drink Scotch and soda morning, noon, and night yet still walk straight and look fabulous without any sign of bloat. Even more implausibly, she can carry off a hat consisting of a huge black feather that wraps around her entire head—without looking like an alien.

Of course, there are all sorts of cute little twists to keep the couple apart, and an outrageously daring act on Anna’s part that shows she’s plucky as well as beautiful, and it all ties up in one neat little package requiring no restrictive foundation undergarments. Too delightful!

Watch this when you’re harried to the max and tell yourself that a half bottle of wine and a handful of Ferrero Rochers won’t go straight to your thighs and belly, ‘cause at this point you’ll believe anything.

Happily Ever After Movie Indiscreet with Cary Grant and Ingrid Bergman is a cinematherapy movie guaranteed to whisk your troubles away

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Marty: A Classic Cinematherapy Bad Hair Day Movie

Marty with Ernest Borgnine, the perfect Cinematherapy prescription for a Bad Hair Day

Farewell to Ernest Borgnine, whose marvelous portrayal of the love-deprived Marty in the 1955 classic Bad Hair Day Movie earned him the Academy Award for Best Actor.

Marty (1955)

Stars: Ernest Borgnine, Betsy Blair

Director: Delbert Mann

Writer: Paddy Chayefsky, based on his TV play

You know you’ve got to start working on those self-esteem issues when you find yourself identifying with hangdog Ernest Borgnine in this classic Cinematherapy flick. Well, he is brilliant in this raw portrayal of a guy and a gal who “ain’t such dogs” after all, even if they do get ditched and dissed right and left. When Marty (Borgnine), a Brooklyn butcher, rescues a not-so-fair damsel in distress (Blair) at the Stardust Ballroom, he realizes that maybe happiness won’t elude him forever, despite his painfully honest declaration to his worried mama that he’ll never get married—”I’m a fat, ugly man!” he cries, and every split end in your world will seem magnified as you burst into tears at this mirroring of your own self-loathing. Fortunately, as Mother always said, every pot finds its lid, and when Marty gulps, opens his frog eyes wide, and asks, “Are you … a Catholic?” you just know that these two will live happily ever after, free of stubborn grey and overprocessed ends.

Brutal and beautiful. Watch Marty as you do a mud mask and manicure and you’ll be feeling like a wallflower turned heirloom rose in no time–but until then, avoid all mirrors lest you unleash a piteous crying jag.

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Cinematherapy Rx: Happily Ever After Movie “Pillow Talk”

Take a break from the uncertainty of life with a Happily Every After movie that promises that every conflict can be resolved and every loose thread tucked away in a seamless story of perfect boy-meets-girl, boy marries girl, and they lived happily ever after. Check out this Cinematherapy Happily Ever After

Movie.

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Pillow Talk (1959)

Stars: Rock Hudson, Doris Day, Tony Randall.

Director: Michael Gordon

Writers: Stanley Shapiro and Maurice Richlin, based on a story by Russell Rouse and Clarence Greene

From the moment those credits roll, with Doris and Rock gaily tossing pink and blue satin pillows in the air while Doris’s honey-smooth voice sings “there must be a boy, must be a pillow, must be a pillow talkin’ boy for me,” you know you’re in for one surreal romp. Originally billed as a “sexcapade,” Pillow Talk is a bizarre little gem from an era before Vidal Sassoon, Clairol Herbal Essence Shampoo, the short and sassy look, or that stuff your hairdresser gives you to “scrunch” with for a natural look. Doris Day plays Jan Morrow, a freckle-nosed, no-nonsense career girl in a silver helmet wig, the hairs of which wouldn’t dare stir even in nuclear blast. Smooth talking Brad Allen, a lothario who shares her party line, is determined to get Jan to let her hair down in more ways than one. The boundaries of her conversations violated by the vagaries of 50s era telephone technology, Jan is determined to retain her dignity, her privacy, her flawless ‘do, and her virginity, which makes sense given her options for risk management in the pre-Pill, pre-feminist era.

Now, Jan knows how to handle a man who is all hands and cheap pick up lines but of course, a gal can’t find happiness in the pre-free-love era without a plotline that promises hot sex forever after—at least, once the ring is on her finger. With the help of a friend (Tony Randall) who just so happens to know Jan, Brad plays a mischievous game of multiple personalities, teasing Jan into pondering whether it’s possible that underneath that playboy exterior beats the heart of a sensitive soul with a penchant for interior design and recipe collecting. Then again, maybe under that sensitive soul exterior beats the heart of someone keeping a major secret from the movie going audience for the sake of better lead male roles…

Next time you’re seeking simple solutions and unwilling to look too far below the surface, slip into some pink pajamas, curl up with a few fluffy pillows, and pour yourself a nice grasshopper or pink lady to sip while you enjoy this frothy little piece of Americana.

World Class Wrecks

“Mr. Allen, this may come as a surprise to you, but there are some men who don’t end every sentence with a proposition.”—Doris Day as Jan Morrow in Pillow Talk

“I look upon Brad Allen like any other disease. I’ve had him. I’m over him. I’m immune to him.”—Doris Day as Jan Morrow in Pillow Talk

“You listen to me. No alcoholic beverage, no drug known to science, no torture device yet devised could induce me to stay married to you!”—Doris Day as Carol Templeton in Lover Come Back

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Cinematherapy for When You’re Feeling Bullied and Pressured to Conform: 12 Angry Men

At home alone, looking to be inspired? Try a POWER OF ONE Movie. Tonight on Turner Classic Movies, you can catch 12 Angry Men. Here’s a Cinematherapy take:

12 Angry Men (1957)

Stars: Henry Fonda, Jack Klugman, Lee J. Cobb, Ed Begley, E.G. Marshall, Jack Warden, Martin Balsam, John Savoca, plus another five angry men to round it out

Director: Sidney Lumet

Writer: Reginald Rose

This classic courtroom portrays just how hard it can be to achieve justice when the deciders are locked in a claustrophobic jury room on a muggy summer day, with a broken fan that serves as a reminder of how the inconveniences of life can render us prisoners of our lower selves. Let’s face it: It’s hard to be patient and compassionate when you schvitzed through your starched white collar shirt and tie before you even got out of the courtroom. Clearly, this jury could’ve used some tank tops and muscle shirts along with ice water and racial and gender diversity, but then, it’s a story set in an era when 12 white men in suits weighing whether a poor Hispanic kid would be found guilty of knifing someone wouldn’t make a judge blink.

Unbeknownst to the defendant (John Savoca), he is within a whisper of being sentenced to the gallows because of the frustrations of a bunch of fellows longing for casual Friday wear and a decent ventilation and a/c system. Fortunately, one man—juror number 8 (Henry Fonda)—isn’t willing to ditch his duty for a quick escape. Despite his fellow jurors’ flaring tempers, racist speeches, and impatience with logic and facts, juror number 8 insists on exploring the evidence and testimony in further detail. As the afternoon wears on, we recognize that each man has an insight rooted in his personal experience which, collectively, will flesh out the picture of what happened that fatal night and allow the truth to emerge. But will the desperate need for a cold drink and a gentle breeze thwart juror 8’s efforts to bring out the best in his fellow anonymous peers?

When you’re feeling under pressure to cave in to the majority, 12 Angry Men is a refreshing reminder that democracy doesn’t mean the bullies get to rule and the quiet guys have to conform. Its eloquent portrayal of acting from courage and conscious will inspire you to believe that you, too, can keep your head while those about you are losing theirs and blaming it on you, to quote Kipling, simply because their Arrid solid stopped working.

–Nancy Peske

Cinematherapy for when you’re feeling bullied: 12 Angry Men is a Power of One movie

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Cinematherapy: Identical Cousins Nancy Peske and Beverly West Are Back!

USA Today dubbed Cinematherapy “a cultural phenomenon…” With over 340,000 copies in print of all editions of our Cinematherapy books (including Bibliotherapy), we have to say we never quite expected just how much our fun and inspirational guides to movies for every mood would resonate.

We’ll be adding reviews and other fun movie stuff to this blog to help you find the medicine you need whether you’re suffering from the Bad Hair Day Blues or a full-fledged identity crisis. We know just what you need: CINEMATHERAPY!

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