Monday, November 10, 2008

"All God's Children"

This is the only film review I've done and might be the only one. But it seems a special case.
"All God's Children" seemed to be a little known film in Australia, I don't know if it received more notice in other countries. It is not overtly Christian or religious, as the title might imply. What happens is this.
The film opens with two boys - one white, one black - stealing a school bus. The the alarm is given, and the audience finds out that it is a type of bus in which the brakes do not work until the engine is warmed up. The boys, not knowing that, are at risk of a serious accident.
The next thing we see is the bus crashing!
After that the action goes into flashback, so that we pick up the plot. It is set against the background of the "bussing" experiment in the U.S. when the government intervened in school enrollments. This was to prevent some schools having only students from middle class or wealthy backgrounds, and others only students from poor backgrounds. The plan was to have a racial and socio-economic mix in each school, and to transport students by bus if necessary to get them to schools outside their area.
In the film, these two boys are staging a protest against it. That is why they stole the bus. The government plan would have the effect of sending them to different schools, and as well as being friends they make an excellent combination on the school football team.
Then the action returns to the present. Police have found the bus crash, with ONE badly burnt body in it. Tests will be needed to learn which of the two it is. The other boy has escaped from the crash, and gone missing. That notches up the tension. The characters in the film, and the audience, are waiting to find out which of the boys has died.
There is quite a lot in the film, revealed through the dialogue. It would get away from the point to go into too much detail about that. As the plot develops, the audience is introduced to both sets of parents, black and white. The dialogue reveals the perspectives of each on the issues of race and education.
At the final moment of the film, we hear that scientific testing has revealed which of the boys was the one found dead in the bus.
The last thing the audience hears is ONE of the mothers crying heartbrokenly, having learned that she has lost her child.
But the audience never finds out which of them it is. And that is the point that we are confronted with.
Does it make it any better, which one of them it is? Isn't is just as bad, either way?
I can't remember the names of any cast members except ( I think) Richard Widmark. The film was made back in the 1970s. It seemed to receive little acclaim, but I thought it made an excellent point. We are ALL God's children. Race does not change our value. Neither, it could be added does gender. But that would be another story.

10 comments:

Beaut!fully Br()ken said...

Hi!
Just came across your blog...I like it !
I've never heard of this movie. But now that you've mentioned it, I gotta see it for sure ! :)
take care..

Taylor-Tot said...

sounds like a really good movie, now i'ma have to watch it :P lol i like ur post, it has alot of truth in it.

and sadness isnt all bad, i think that, if you cant be sad, then how can you really be happy? i guess, idk... thats just always how i've thot of it.

Beaut!fully Br()ken said...

Hi! I'm so glad you like my poems !! Do come back...

Fr. Peter Doodes said...

It sounds the sort of film that made many people of the 70s face the reality of what they really were and how they really thought.

I think that it would have the same emotional effect now, but in the Obama era perhaps the ethnic effect would not quite as much to the forefront. One can only hope so because as you point out, we are all God's children.

Hannah Noel said...

hey, you had left a comment on one of my blogs (a peek inside the moulin rouge) and suggested i take a look at your blog. i am very glad i did! that movie sounds great... i love the ending and your interpretation of it. there needs to be more christian movie analysts out there. you should keep on writing movie reviews!

dragon_spirit said...

(im replying to your comment)

ya, it's really sad how some people don't really care what happens to our planet... it's SO SAD! personaly, i hate cloning, because it seems wrong and i don't think we should do it, because if the animals are gone, or whatever, its gods will, and we shouldn't tamper... also it will never really be that animal! if you get what im saying

Farrah said...

Effective way of making the point!

~*~toni~*~ said...

I actually lived through the bussing times in Florida. I'm glad I did because it made me realize there are either good people or not so good people. The color doesn't matter. The hard part was making friends in the opposite race but not being allowed to bring them to my home. They were also not allowed to take me to their home. As an adult and labor & delivery RN, I still see much of the same. I would give report on on one of my laboring patients & someone would ask, "Is she white or black?" My answer was, "She's pregnant!" Does it hurt more to have a baby if you are a certain color? I no longer live in FL & don't run into those comments so much but the fact that it still happens makes me sad!

samantha paige. said...

hey, thanks for the book suggestion (: i'll definetely look into it, you can never have too much to read. and thank you for the compliment about my blog!

CooksonMom said...

I have not seen the movie, but it sounds very interesting. Becoming a mother has changed my thinking in many ways. There are so many situations where I find myself thinking..."what would her mother think?" or "Oh, his poor mother." It really puts things into perspective when you think of situations from a parent's point of view.