MOVIES: Family friendly films for the Fourth

Phil Boatwright, Baptist Press

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (BP) — It’s kind of an unnerving time for our nation, isn’t it? Our fellow citizens seem so divided, and it appears satisfying for some to dredge up America’s misdeeds without acknowledging the positive accomplishments of its people, past or present.

Admittedly, there are still wrongs that need to be righted in our land, but to ignore the contributions of our forefathers and our fellow citizens seems more politically opportunistic than morally constructive. Is it too late for our country to come together and heal?

This Fourth of July, our nation’s families need to recognize who we are as a people and how we came to be. I have three movies in mind that do that in a most entertaining way.

America’s Heart and Soul

From 2004, this was one of the most joyous film-going experiences I’d had at the movies. In fact, I remember saying to a fellow critic at the press screening, “I don’t want this to end.”

Documentarian Louis Schwartzberg packed up his camera and hit the road with the goal of capturing both the unparalleled beauty of the U.S. and the incomparable spirit of its people. Schwartzberg’s gift is his ability to connect with people, honestly capturing their values, dreams and passions. His finished film project is a celebration of a nation told through the voices of its people.

Funny, moving, insightful, it’s everything you want in a movie-going experience. Best of all, America’s Heart and Soul is a wonderful example of how film can unite people. This production gives a fresh, inspiring perspective on what constitutes America as such a unique place, and what makes Americans a special breed.