Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Argo wins Academy Award, but in some ways is disappointing

By Gillian Anzel

The movie Argo revealed some facts about the Canadian rescue of six Americans from Tehran in 1980 that I didn't know. I knew that Canadian Ambassador Ken Taylor and his wife risked their lives to hide the Americans. I thought that they also got them out of Iran. However, it was a single CIA agent Tony Mendez who brought them home. This was not revealed at the time of their rescue.

Argo is the story of their rescue. Directed by Ben Affleck who also acts as Mendez the movie is sometimes gripping and tense. The movie is well-written and well-acted. The movie portrays the rescue as a miracle. The six Americans and their rescuers just got out in the nick of time.  Thirty seconds later they would have been caught.

While coincidences happen in real life, too many coincidences make the story unbelievable.  Yet, the movie is supposed to be about real life. Real people in a real situation.

However, too many coincidences occurred as the rescue story is told. While I believe in answers to prayers, I don't believe in coincidence. Nor luck. The string of coincidences in this movie make the story unbelievable.

I also object to the crudity and foul-language in the movie.  In my years of teaching I have met only two really crude people - and both were performers. The story shows Americans who are irreligious and often crude. It also shows weak and sulking hostages. The Americans in hiding are no different. Where is the spiritual strength and courage I identify as an American trait? In my mind, these people are not real.

I can only imagine that among the Americans held hostage in Iran were many religious and courageous people.  But this is not a story that Hollywood wants to tell. Instead the characters are foul-mouthed and crude. This is the stereotypical Hollywood character.  And this is what Hollywood thinks sells pictures.

 I would have liked to have seen a spiritual aspect of the story, if one existed. If Americans and its government officials are as secular and irreligious as portrayed in the movie, all I can say is "poor America."

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