Thursday, March 15, 2012

The Shunning (2011)

     Okay.  The worst thing – for me – about this DVD was the (seemingly) 20 trailers for faith-themed movies that seem to insult religious convictions and film-making, or at least a reminder that some actors don't get much work these days.  Or, in one instance, that Doris Roberts is a more bankable star than Jewel Staite.  That may be true, but I'll forever hold out hope that Staite finally breaks through in a TV show co-starring fellow BC native Katharine Isabelle (they've worked together plenty of times in the past, but never on anything very good).  Enough about Jewel Staite.
      The Shunning (2011) isn't really in my wheelhouse.  Actually, if former co-worker and irregular contributor to this blog Silence Do Nothing hadn't shown an odd fascination with the Amish, I'm certain I would have never considered watching this.  Now, if Danielle Panabaker had become the live action Kim Possible [as was rumored around the time she did Sky High (2005)], I'm sure I would more interest in following her career.  But since I tend to think of her as the girl who gets a rather ignominious death in The Crazies (2010), she just doesn't stir much interest for me.  Nor is seeing Sherry Stringfield, who I really must assume regrets walking away from ER (1994-2009) in 1996 when she was one of the stars and culturally relevant.
     What does that leave me?  With a moderately well produced (if we accept that only one movie has ever done the Amish beard justice, and this isn't it) TV movie that doesn't feel the need to faithfully represent Amish culture or faith.  That is probably just as well, because it isn't like the Amish are going to see it and complain.  But with all of the clearly 'Christian' themed movies previewed on the disk, it struck me as odd that the faith an customs of the Amish were things to be overcome with singing and shopping.  I would like to think that these were handled better in the book, but again, it isn't like the Amish are going to fact check it.
     To go ahead and spoil this (seriously, if you've read my blog, you aren't going to watch The Shunning), the actual shunning gets ignored by the multiple members of the Amish community because, sometimes, there are problems that are just too big for the old ways.  I'd like to think that attitude would bring electricity in to a shared building so that dairy could bet kept from spoiling, but the movie wants it to be an excuse to love an adopted child and member of the community so much that they'll forgo their faith for her.  And apparently the Amish community is rife with secrets.  Because they are, at heart, a strange and devious people, right?
     As much as I was offended by how The Shunning dealt with the Amish, I still enjoyed it more than The Road (2009).  There is something to be said for having a story that at least goes somewhere.  And that ends much sooner.

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