I AM: The Documentary

April 13, 2012

Book review

A must-see … and a potential classic.

directed by Tom Shadyac

Is it possible for a film to change the world? “The Great Train Robbery,” the first full-length movie with a storyline, did so in 1903. The world was never the same after it was seen by millions, everywhere. “The Jazz Singer,” the first “talkie,” did it in 1928. Film of the World Trade Center disasters did it in 2001.

“I AM,” the new documentary feature by superstar filmmaker Tom Shadyac (“Ace Ventura: Pet Detective,” “The Nutty Professor,” “Liar, Liar,” “Bruce Almighty”) stands to do the same. It is the first film by a major Hollywood writer/director to present the scientific evidence — from quantum physics and other disciplines — that humanity is One, that each of us is connected at an essential level to everyone — and everything — else.

Furthermore, he presents evidence that cooperation is a more effective and natural survival tactic than competition, that our heart (not our brain) is our number one organ of intelligence, and that our thoughts and emotions directly affect physical reality.

In the face of our current global crises — economic, environmental, civil rights, governmental, etc. — this is the revolutionary, reality-shifting news that everyone needs to take in. If they do, the entire conversation about solutions to humanity’s problems could change. Most significantly, though, this film actually could reach those millions of mainstream moviegoers, precisely because it is Shadyac’s work, and he has millions of fans.

Of course, it is also gorgeous and highly entertaining filmmaking, with stunningly beautiful scenes of the natural world, cogent and witty storytelling, and a focus that calls on us to examine our beliefs and our every action in life.

Shadyac’s extraordinary film grew out of his own brush with death — post-concussion syndrome after a bicycling accident — that left him painfully sensitive to light and sound, experiencing severe mood swings, a constant ringing in his head and other intractable symptoms.

This film, intended to be his legacy, addresses the questions, what is wrong with the world and what can we do to fix it? “I AM” fills in these blanks in a provocative, enlightening and highly effective way. A must-see … and a potential classic.


Reprinted from AzNetNews, Volume 30, Number 1, February/March 2011.

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