I Am

film_iam1This one’s a keeper. A film that has smatterings of What The Bleep Do We Know? yet manages to tell a more relatable story you can’t help but admire. Most of that is due to its filmmaker, Tom Shadyac (bottom photo; Bruce Almighty, The Nutty Professor, Ace Ventura), a likeable if not fiercely devoted chap who offers us something we can really sink our teeth into: an interesting personal mission/vision quest. “Facing my own death brought an instant sense of clarity and purpose,” Shadyac tells viewers of his impetus behind venturing out into the world to ask significant minds what’s actually wrong with it—and what we can do about it. “We’re all interconnected,” the filmmaker soon realizes. Whether you believe it’s true or not, you can’t help but drink some of this Kool-Aid and walk away feeling inspired. Shadyac doesn’t simply go on to prove that point for the sake of being right, he allows us to experience his discoveries in a way that doesn’t feel overly manipulating.

So, what do we get? Shadyac chats with brilliant minds—Desmond Tutu, Noam Chomsky, Coleman Barks, Howard Zinn and a gaggle of scientists film_iamand quantum physicists who deliver delicious bons mots our weathered, Twittered, modern-aged, often disconnected hearts can’t help but gobble up: “The truth of who we are is that we are because we belong” (Desmond, you brilliant spiritual beast, you.); “What we do on an individual level really does affect the global environment;” “We are far grander than we’ve been told;” and—this is good—“the basis of nature is cooperation and democracy … it’s in our DNA.” Shadyac seems to hang his hat on that last statement, somewhat surprised by the notion himself, but then goes into nature—among the animals and such—to actually explore that idea. Nicely shot with striking cinematography, the filmmaker begins by asking what’s wrong with the world only to discover what he finds right with it. Bottom line: this is a soulful, thought-provoking ride worthy of your attention. At The Nick. Rated PG. (★★★) | Greg Archer   Watch film trailer >>>

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