Posts tagged movie review

HOMELESS TO HAVARD: the Liz Murray story

Liz at 15: troubled by a dysfunctional family and homeless.
Welcome to this read.
Liz preferred to go by the name Liz or Lizzie and that’s because ‘Elizabeth’, was what her mum called her when she was slipping into crazy.
She loved her family so much that she baby-sat her whole family especially her mum. In between living in a dingy apartment where the bath tub wouldn’t drain so she she’d shower ontop of an upturned bucket to escape the dirty water, and trying to get whats left of the money her mum hadn’t used for drugs to buy food, she didnt think of school. Liz hated school anyway. She turned up at the end of the term just to write her exams. She dropped out at grade 8. She was the absolute outcast in school. She smelled, she itched.

“my house wasn’t a place you could come out of and be normal”

Its heartbreaking to watch a child cling hopelessly to a drug addict. An addict who would always go back to the same things. Her mum always got taken to a mental institution for her schizophrenia, then released back.
Liz shoplifted a bit, ate in dumpsters, hung out in alleys, and slept in underground train stations.
She nursed the hope that everything would turn out right once again if she just continued to help her mother. When Liz’s plan didn’t work, she got a reality slap in the face.
Liz became her own knight.
She worked hard to get back in school. She studied maniacally and completed four years of high school in two (she didn’t want to end high school at 21 and she’d lost some years already).
She worked hard for an essay scholarship and got it. At the award of her New York Times scholarship, a journalist asked:
Journalist: “Liz, Liz, how did you do this?”
Liz: ” how could I not do it? My parents showed me what the alternative was”.

“I feel I got lucky because any sense of security was pulled out from under me, so I was forced to look forward. I didn’t have a choice so I got to the point where I just thought I had to work as hard as possible and see what happens.”

I really like the narration Liz did in the background. It worked well with the whole narrative, it gave it solidity and perspective. Her voice held a certain appeal too.
I really like how convincing the acting was. They each acted their part. Sister was detached; Mother was hopelessly addicted and sick; Father was intelligent yet crazily absent in a world of his own, lacked social skills and consumed by AIDS; Friend had lost all hope; and Liz, Liz was passive about her life in a big world until she changed her own story.
We don’t get enough perspective on her elder sister.

“the world moves and in just a sec, it can all happen without you. Situations are not conducive to what you want for yourself, someone else’s need, someone else’s plate is going to be stronger than yours is. Then, people just get frustrated by how harsh life can be and so they spend their life dwelling on that frustration, calling it anger, keeping their eyes shut to the wholeness of the situation and to all the little tiny things that have come together to make it what it is”

The place of family:
I think the best part for me was the relentless optimist and softie she was for her family.
Journalist: “Is there anything else you’ll like to tell us?”
Liz: “I loved my mother, so much. She was a drug addict, an alcoholic, legally blind and schizophrenic but I never forgot that she did love me even though she did all the time, all the time, all..all the time”
Journalist: “Is there anything you’ll change if you were able?”
Liz: “Yeah, I’ll give it back, all of it, if I could have my family back.”
About her mother:

It wasn’t like she was running off being a good mother to anyone else. She just didn’t have anymore to give”

Original release date: April 7 2003.
Its an american TV film directed by Peter Levin. Written by Ronnie Kern. Original language: English. Movie length: 1 hr 27 minutes. Thora Birch played the part of Liz Murray.
The movie has been nominated for many awards. It won the best edited miniseries or movie for commercial use -Anita brandt -buryoyne.
Apparently in 2018, another boy goes from homeless to havard: Richard Jenkins by name.
Who should watch this movie? Everyone! For an appreciation of the privilege you have and not to take your security of a decent life lightly. Remember:

“I feel I got lucky because any sense of security was pulled out from under me, so I was forced to look forward. I didn’t have a choice so I got to the point where I just thought I had to work as hard as possible and see what happens.”

P.P.S: Because I’m so hooked on this Liz Murray’s story, I wholly encourage you to read her interview done by BBC.
Because this story is incomplete without the BBC interview version, I insist you read it.
With abundant love,


Hacksaw Ridge — Movie Recommendation

I’ve struggled with how exactly I want to go about writing this post. Unlike Captive, I can’t summarize it, I’ve tried, it gets too long and my account I think, is too underwhelming, but I’ll try.
The title is Hacksaw ridge and it appears boring at the start. I could’ve been discouraged at how silly the star actor was when he first fell in love but I persevered.
Since I persevered and learnt from it, let me attempt a recap while encouraging you to see it. Or atleast learn from it too.
This story is really just a story of commitment. And of bravery.
When you make a commitment, stick to it. Believe in it and wait by it even when you’re the only one doing so.
Would you believe if I told you Desmond Doss was the only man to go into world war II (and one of the fiercest war spots for that matter) without bearing a single arm or firing one, and yet he was the one who received the highest rank after the war. Would you believe me?
Desmond who valued his faith so much and went into the battle bearing his bible and no guns*. He was no stranger to rejection.
The war was on and America needed more young men to enlist to fight. Desmond did. At the training facility, he was repeatedly ridiculed, scorned and ostracized for preparing to go into battle without touching a gun. He insisted that he enlisted to be a medic because he wanted to help his country but he had no intention of ever taking a life, war or not.
For this reason, the commander framed him for disobeying an order and he faced the military tribunal at the risk of really being sent to prison if found guilty.

His courage to serve and not give up was inspiring. He knew what he was there for and he didn’t mind missing his wedding just for that! (Wedding).
He believed the war was justified but that killing wrong.
When asked:

But why is it so important to you to go into battle when you won’t touch a rifle?

He said:

But when the Japanese attacked Pearl Habour, I took it personally. Everyone I knew was on fire to join up including me. two men from my hometown, declared fire unfit, they killed themselves because they couldn’t serve. I had a job and a defence plan, I could have taken it but that ain’t right. It isn’t right that other men should fight and die, that I would just be sitting at home safe. I need to serve. I had the energy and the passion to serve as a medic – right in the middle with the other guys, no less danger just while everybody else is taking life, I’m gonna be saving it.

With the world so set on tearing itself apart, don’t seem like such a bad thing to me to want to put a little of it back together”

Located ontop of a 400 foot cliff with the Japanese heavy weaponry, war ship range and brutal soldiers, was Hacksaw Ridge on the island of Okinawa. That was the location of a near-impossible mission during the second world war.
On site, the battle was as fierce as expected and death was hosting the party. Desmond Doss got to work in the midst of the chaos; saving the wounded by first aid treatment and getting them back to safety. He didn’t give up on anyone no matter how badly injured they were. He kept this up for the period they warred.

On one of those days, it was a fierce battle and the soldiers, it appeared, fought a loosing war. The battalion was commanded to retreat. And while everyone did that, Desmond couldn’t. He knew he heard his GOD calling to him in the voices of the wounded and dying soldiers who were crying from pain and certain of death from the enemy. [It reminds me of that line in the hymn “where duty calls or danger, be never wanting there”**]
Desmond Doss got to work pulling the fallen soldiers from the battleground even though he had no one to support him. That day, the Japanese came down from the other end where they camped and upturned the rubble looking to ‘finish’ anyone that wasn’t already dead. Inspite of his close shave with death, being the only uninjured American soldier on ground, he escaped being seen and kept on dragging his injured and fallen soldiers to safety all through the night and all alone. His hands bled from pulling on the rope he used to let them down the cliff, but he kept on. His strength failed but he kept on.
And while he did that crazy work, he kept muttering “please help me get one more. Lord, one more” On and on he continued until his soldiers discovered wounded soldiers from America who were being let down mysteriously. They were able to come back for him in the morning.
That night, he had singlehandedly in the face of fire saved 75 dying men and given them hope by using a rope to let them down the cliff. Desmond did this despite being about the smallest in size to them all. That night, he had given hope to his commander and commrades who had fallen (legs blasted, gunshot wounds etc) and who thought they would writhe in pain till they eventualy die (either from the brutal Japanese or the pain). Desmond Doss had given hope to those whose families were waiting for them back in America. He was shaken but he made it back fine.
He became the only inspiration for which these other soldiers would agree to go to the battle front the next day. They knew they wouldn’t just be casualties left to die, they would matter in the scheme of things. If they fell, they may be brought back to die at the American camp.
So again the next day, Desmond rescued them as they fell.

And finally, he courageously gave up himself to keep the people out of terrible harm’s way in an act of kicking two greenades away from his team. He got injured; but the deed was already done – the Japanese were already defeated. What few was left of them surrendered.
Desmond Doss was the hope giver, the life saver. The bible-but-no-arms bearing soldier who said “With the world so set on tearing itself apart, don’t seem like such a bad thing to me to want to put a little of it back together” and he did just that.
He was the first to receive America’s highest medal of honour for service above and beyond the call of duty.
The movie was directed by Mel Gibson. Written by Andrew Knight and Robert Schenkkan. Running time: 139 Minutes
The movie has this website.
P.S: In case you’re still unsure, it’s a true life story!
* His refusal to bear arms at all during a war wasn’t because he condemned other Christians who did so. It was borne out of a pledge he made to God in his teenage years after two close shaves with almost killing people.
** if you’re not used to KJV English style, “be never wanting there” means you should volunteer to help in time of need. We shouldn’t be in need of help and you’re wanting (not available).
I hope you’ve been inspired.
What do you think? Have you seen this movie? Are you inspired to do so?
Love light, and courage

Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela

I appreciate that with my movie recommendations, I don’t have rules as I do for my book reviews. So prepare to read any and everything?. (Long post alert).

After viewing Nelson Mandela’S LONG WALK TO FREEDOM :
Storyline and opinion
Nelson, is approached by the ANC to join the congress and he declines. He only accepts when his friend is beaten to death by white police officers one night. He agrees to politics knowing there is power in togetherness. Other than that, he is just someone who wants to do his family proud though prevented by his promiscuous nature. Mandela is now deeply involved in politics and his first marriage can’t withstand that pressure.
He organizes campaigns and protests against the discrimination of the blacks. He leads the people to burn their passports and refuse the authority of a state that hates them.
Winnie, the new love of his life and new wife shares the same political views as Mandela. She even becomes boundless when Nelson is locked away and she herself gets imprisoned. She is violent to a fault and instigates greater rebellion among the people who look up to her, she is devoted to this cause.
There is a portrayal of loss of the innocence of youth for them both as the battle with the state gets fiercer. The ANC employs violence to achieve its aims and they get labelled as terrorists. Mandela is locked up in a prison in Robben island with his three friends after being sentenced to life imprisonment.
More goes down.
How does a man go on from being labelled a terrorist to being the president of the same state and causing a radical change in the system?
It was a revolution he birthed.
When Winnie Mandela died on 2nd of April this year, someone tweeted something along the lines of Winnie and Nelson’s eventual fall out.
I genuinely wondered about that. I think on a whole Mandela had a poor relationship with women as reflected in the movie. Two marriages and both went sour?
Another angle is that, his thinking was advanced. Not only Mandela and his wife’s relationship grew a bit sour but his friends found it hard to believe him after he began dialoguing with the government. Something about this reminds me of pastor Sam Adeyemi’s teaching of how if you would be remembered 600 years from now, (if Jesus tarries,)the decisions you would be making today would be incomprehensible to the people around you because you’re factoring 600 years into the picture and they’re not.
Today, we still talk of Mandela, what if Winnie at that time and others, had some difficulties with him for a while? Perhaps because the cause he was pursuing was beyond their time; it would speak a lot in the coming years as we can now see.

My name is Nelson Mandela and I am the first accused. I do not deny that I have planned sabotage. I did not plan it in the spirit of recklessness or because I love violence. The hard fact is that fifty years of silence has brought the African people repressive legislations and fewer and fewer rights . Africans want a just share in the whole of south Africa. We want equal political rights. One man, one vote. I have dedicated myself to this struggle of the African people. I have fought against white domination. I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the idea of a free democratic society where all persons live together in harmony with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and achieve but if need be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.”

Interviewer:”Mr. Mandela, what is it that you personally want?
M: ”I want freedom. I have beautiful children and a beautiful wife. I want them to walk free in their own land.”

The national call at the beginning of the movie is very much appreciated. These days, I question unity in my country, I question allegiance. Are we really raised to be loyal, and patriotic? Are the primary and secondary schools teaching us that things may not be the best right now but we should respect, cherish and serve our country? Correct me please but I don’t think many are. I was at a judicial function some weeks ago*; a special court sitting, and as you are wont to in the midst of important figures, I was on my best behaviour and alert. When we sang the national anthem at the start and close of the court sitting, I reflected on the words of our anthem. It was one of the rare moments of my consciousness and resolved patriotism to my country. Perhaps this discussion is for another post. By way of summary, I admire the call made to the south African young ones at the start of the movie.
My dislike stems from the fact that Nelson didn’t have faith in Jesus. Of course that told on his family. Mandela is a deeply flawed human as reflected, even sometimes violent in his early years but with time, he aged with wisdom.
As regards the filming, I’d rather the romance part was done away with so the movie can be viewed at all circles but it isn’t so.

I’m very much interested in reading the book, his biography. How does a person walk that bravely? At the time he did that long and lonely walk, he didn’t know he would one day be celebrated, he only did each day, what he thought was right and stood by his decision.
I adore his conclusion in the movie:

no one is born hating another because of the colour of his skin…”

I think it’s a worthwhile movie. Worth-the- while. Worth the time. Made also to fuel ruggedness in your beliefs, and to encourage you to sacrifice, and to lead. It preaches perseverance and that a life worth living is one spent in a cause you believe in.
Disclaimer: this is a recap of what is portrayed in the movie and in no way an attempt to recap Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela’s autobiography.

  • I wrote this article long before this publication. It isn’t a few weeks ago I was at the court sitting.

Penny A thousand naira for your thoughts?
Love and Impact,

Movie Reccomendation- CAPTIVE

Hello there.
There is this movie I saw. I thought it could bless you, so I have a summary of it here. It would be good if you can see the movie or read up the real life story online. It’s grace all the way. It’s the story of the Atlanta hostage heroine.
Warning: This is a fairly long post but it’s worth it.?
Title: Captive
It opens up with a mother and daughter having some swell time playing dress up together.
Ashley Smith wakes up from her sleep, and is agitated by that dream she had. She sniffs in some drug.
The next scene is an addict recovery group meeting. She confesses to loosing everything due to her addiction.

“Each time I take it, I tell myself this is the last time but then I just can’t stop. I like it too much”

She needs to go through the recovery group process to gain custody of her daughter again.
After the meeting, the moderator meets with her and asks her how long she’s been clean. She fidgets and says two days . The moderator encourages her and gives her a book by Rick Warren ‘the purpose driven life”

“I want you to know you can’t do this alone”.

The woman leaves and Ashley waits a minute before throwing the book in a bin and leaves. The woman is really not far away, she hears the sound as it falls in the bin and comes back.
At another location, a suspect is brought to court for judgement to be read. He is in handcuffs. He is required to put on a suit before his appearance in the court. He is led by a female police officer to the cell where his clothes are.
Once in the cell, the moment the handcuffs are off, he hits her, not once, not twice, repeatedly. He steals her gun and radio and leaves.
He goes to the courtroom and shoots the honourable judge, the court reporter, and a sergeant. He also shoots a federal agent who runs after him to stop him. He escapes.
Ashley turns up late at work the next day, her boss complains then hands her a package delivered that morning. She opens it and it’s the book again: The purpose driven life.
The murder case is turned over to a detective. He and his team work tirelessly to locate the killer on the loose.
Brian, the killer, goes to his former girlfriend’s house to peep in the window at a baby.
He has a newly birthed son, Christopher. His lawyer had informed him just two days earlier.
The focus is back on Ashley Smith. Her daughter’s custody was granted to her aunt. Ashley is prepared to recieve her girl back.
Ashley puts her house in order because her daughter would be moving in soon.
She discovers some drugs in the process, and instead of flushing it out in the toilet, she gets high on it.
It’s 2:30am and she goes to get a cigarette in her car. The killer, Brian, who has been in the neighbourhood attacks her and holds her hostage. He is armed and quite violent. He has two guns and a knife. He discovers she has a daughter somewhere and uses that as a threat to her.
Her legs and hands are tied for some time.
Along the line, they talk a bit and she learns about his new son too.
Through the police radio with him, the detective speaks with him for a while. Brian breaks the radio in anger. Restless from the conversation with the detective, he asks Ashley for weed. She gives him methamphetamine. The same drug that has taken a lot from her. He tells her to have a go first, but she refuses. He sniffs in a lot and goes hysterical. He is so hysterical, she is afraid and tries escaping through her bathroom window but she can’t. At some point he recovers his senses a bit. Asks her why she didn’t sniff it in herself. He holds her at gunpoint and asks her to, whilst questioning it’s content. She refuses, not wanting to continue down that life path.
He let’s her be, untying her. She goes to read a book, The purpose driven life, he asks her what the title is, then requests she reads it aloud.
As the day dawns, she does some cooking because he is hungry. He asks what assistance he could offer and helps her put up a mirror. She is suprised. When they settle to eat, she reads from the book again at his request. She reads:

“God deserves your best. He shaped you for a purpose and he expects you to make the most of what has been given to you”.
“I haven’t been given anything” he replies
You have a son” she says.
“I’m never going to see him again, anyway”
“If you stop what you’re doing and give up yourself. Maybe you will”

From the book:

“Fear is a self imposed prison that will keep you from doing what you want to”

Ashley looks at the time and decides she must leave. Its 9:00am and she is to meet her daughter. She tells Brian she can’t disappoint her daughter again after all the things that have gone wrong in her life. She walks towards the door slowly. She keeps looking back, he says nothing. When she is at the door, he asks her to come for something she would need. Her cell phone battery which he had seized. She gets it and runs to her car. She’s just been released from a seven hour hostage situation. She drives a bit then calls 911. She cries, still shaken.
Brian waits in the house and soon he hears the sound of an helicopter hovering above. Police officers surround his house with various snipers and gunmen. He is asked to surrender.
When he doesn’t, Ashley is invited to say something to him over the megaphone.

Brian, it’s Ashley. I came back.
It’s not too late Brian. Brian, there is purpose in your life . It’s time. Do the right thing Brian.”

He paces for so long then he dials his former girlfriend’s number and leaves a message for his son and requests that he be allowed to listen to it when he is old enough.
Brian surrenders outside and is taken away.
Ashley is prevented from stepping into her house yet. Yellow duct tape is used to seal it off. She stands behind the tape and sees the disarray that is her house. All in one night. Just like her life was once in disarray. She sees the mirror he hung on the wall and She knows grace has visited her.
She gets reunited with her daughter.
At the close of the movie, its written that:
Ashley has been drug free since that night of her ordeal.
She has been a celebate recovery leader, helping others who struggle with addiction…
Brian Nichols is currently serving multiple life sentences without the possibility of parol.
While prison rules prohibit Brian from seeing his son until he is 18, Brian hopes to someday meet him.
Ashley and Brian have not seen each other since trial.
At the close of the movie, there is a clip of Ashley’s interview on Oprah’s show. Rick Warren, author of the purpose driven life, is also present.
Ashley recounts the tiring ordeal and her thoughts on giving the killer holding her hostage drug to get high on, that night:

“What have you just done. You have just offered the thing that ruined your life and made you crazy to a killer. You’re dead now”

Rick Warren:

I think there are a lot of great lessons in Ashley life. One of them is ” you don’t have to be perfect to be used by God. If God only used perfect people, nothing would be done because none of us is perfect
The other one is, no matter how bad your problems are, God’s purpose is bigger…Everybody is looking for hope. When people are going through a crisis, they are looking for hope”

The movie is dedicated to the victims of Brian Nichols.
Where sin abounds, grace abounds much more Romans 5:20

It turns out the real life story is a bit different from the movie’s portrayal.
In the movie, God worked in and through Ashley who had no faith in him. That signified the end of the addictive hold. It signified the surrender of a terrible killer. She found saving grace.
Dear reader, can you and I partner with God well enough that he uses our little effort, the book we present to someone in dire need, to reproduce grace in that life?