The Constant Gardener : Terrible movie

Terrible movie

I apologize to the fanatics out there, but I really hated the movie. The story, the characterizations, the dialogue, and the directing were too awkward, too slow and tedious and just annoying. The plot built up a sense of mystery and suspense, but concluded in a predictable manner, which was a letdown. The dialogue was frequently too drawnout and excessive, and put me into a half stupor (Ralph Fiennes' gentle voice didn't help at all). The frequent camera movements and bright atmosphere left a throbbing sensation in my head.
Plus Rachel Weisz's character was despicable, and I could not summon up any amount of sympathy or compassion for her. She sacrificed her own marriage, her own child and dignity for her unpractical and exaggerated ideals.
I just don't see why some thought this was a brilliant movie. It just seemed like a movie that tried too hard to make some sort of political and social point. And I usually pride myself for enjoying movies that are not mainstream.

Re: Terrible movie

I halfheartedly agree with alot of your problems with it. Nothing stood out that really wow'ed me, was expecting more from it. But I woulnt call it terrible, just overrated.

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Justa few small points. Do you really feel that what Tessa was doing was not worth putting a strain upon their marriage? The whole point is that you find out later on how difficult that was for her, and how much she loved Justin. Also, how did she sacrifice her child? Women unfortunately lose babies, I don't get how this qwas anything other than a sad coincidence.
Finally, did you really get the predicatable ending that Justin would travel into the desert and allow himself to be sacrificed by the drug company? Fair play if you did because I certainly didn't

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Just a few small points. Do you really feel that what Tessa was doing was not worth putting a strain upon their marriage? The whole point is that you find out later on how difficult that was for her, and how much she loved Justin.


I have to disagree. She approached Justin with the offer to take her to Africa before they were even married. Why do you suppose that was? It was so she could carry out her little "bring down the big bad pharmaceutical company" plan. It had nothing to do with "take me to Africa because I want to be with you." Bottom line; Tessa, being the insensitive, selfish person she was, should never have been married, to anyone. But, Justin presented her with an opportunity she couldn't resist; a chance to get her where she wanted to be and get her close to the proper people and in a position that would be advantageous to her designs. So, greedy little girl she was, she took it, consequences be damned. Despicable is a good term for her.

"If you're waiting for a woman to make up her mind, you may have a long wait." Preacher

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WTF?! Did we see the same movie? Where was Tessa a "spoiled little girl"?! Yes she wanted to go to Africa. No, she didn't just go with Justin for her own selfish reasons, she really loved him. She had loads of money, she could have gone on her own if she wanted.

She was a humanitarian and philanthropist. She didn't even know about the "big bad drug company" before she reached Kenya and became friends with Alfred. The beginning of the movie, at the lecture where she meets Justin, clearly shows how passionate she was about her humanitarian work, it also shows how she was instantly attracked to Justin.

Just where exactly was she selfish and insensitive? Wow, talk about a different viewpoint.

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Well said. The other dude didn't even watch the movie.

People who don't like their beliefs being laughed at shouldn't have such funny beliefs

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Actually, what I got from it was that Tessa meeting Justin was purposefully done by Tessa so that she could get to Kenya. She already had an idea of what was going on and wanted to further investigate to either expose the company and the people behind it, or pressure them into reformulating the drug so it was safer.

I think it was a case of her planning it, but truly fell deeply in love with him. That part wasn't planned.

I agree with you, though, that Tessa was not a spoiled little girl. And, unlike this dope above thinks, she was FAR FROM being an insensitive, selfish person. How this dope could cull that from this film is beyond even imagination. She was the exact opposite of insensitive and selfish. She was doing everything she was doing because she cared about the terrible things that were being done to the people being used as guinea pigs. How that's insensitive and selfish, I don't know.

Some people, like the dope above, simply aren't meant to watch films like this because they can't understand anything beyond 'Honey Boo Boo' or 'Say Yes To The Dress'.


The plural of mouse is mice. The plural of goose is geese. Why is the plural of moose not meese?

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Real men are patriarchal.Own the land,work the land with their sons and the women raise the babies,cook,clean and love,respect and honor the husband,Teamwork.
Films like this turkey brainwash young people and that is why everything is upside down,especially in morally depraved,crime ridden America.Boys raised by women does not work,you have confused kids.

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Typical misogynistic nonsense.


Time wounds all heels.

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Women belong at home with children and REAL MEN must provide for his family.

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What a wonderful theory. Except that a lot of men DON'T provide for their families today. They just don't. A vast majority (VAST) of the husbands/fathers I know are gamers, unambitious, drinkers and gamblers. The women are left picking up the pieces and trying to provide for the family while taking care of their daily needs. Of course, I know that there are good providers out there, but I see a lot more of the opposite. Just look around. What defines a "real man" anyway? Really? Are you ninety and living in Baghdad or something? REAL MEN are not afraid to have women as their equals, because their masculinity can withstand an intelligent, capable woman. God, the fact that this dialogue still has to happen today makes me ill.

'No snowflake in an avalanche ever feels responsible.'

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The film was awful.

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To say Weisz's character was "despicable" equals a statement that is totally off the mark. Yes, I agree that she wasn't putting Justin (Fiennes) first in her life, but that's a personal choice. It's not a "despicable" choice when the ulterior motivation is a greater cause that can help, and potentially save, the lives of many unsuspecting people.

Weisz's character was clearly looking to make a mark with her life, and she was unwilling to let atrocities go unnoticed. Guinea pig deaths for the sake of drug testing? A conspiracy that was causing people their lives, simply for an eventually significant monetary return (isn't that always the case?)? She wasn't going to sit back and watch it happen. She wanted to make a difference. She wanted to save lives.

How is that despicable? It doesn't make her a particularly great wife, but "despicable" is an attack on her character. I don't think that's something that should be attacked, especially when we look at the big picture. Some things are bigger than personal relationships.

Or maybe they aren't.

Who knows?

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I recommend you read the book then. I personally did not like the movie either. But one of the nice things of the book is that you get to see things from the different point of views of many of the characters involved. Also, I think that the filmmakers were heavy handed with their political leanings in this movie, and that is coming from a pretty left leaning liberal.

And she did not sacrifice her baby. She lost the baby, which spurred her even more to help the people around her.

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What is "left leaning liberal" about this movie? I'm just curious, because a lot of people use that term without really knowing what it means. The sentiment, if anything could be taken from it, would be more humanitarian than political.

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Re: Terrible movie

Shana wrote "that is COMING FROM a pretty left leaning liberal." "That" being the opinion that the film makers were heavy handed with the politics in this movie. Meaning that Shana is calling *herself* a pretty left-leaning liberal.

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definitely agree with you about tessa's character...nothing she does throughout the film deserves any sympathy whatsoever. i also didn't think the movie was brilliant, but did find it a lot better after another viewing

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No sympathy. She died trying to save the lives of countless innocents.

You had better decide whether you're hangin' on the cross... or bangin' in the nails.

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I wouldn't call it terrible either, just overrated. The performances, and some other things, were certainly good. I have never been a big Rachel Weisz fan, though. It's because of The Mummy, which I realize isn't her fault. It was the part.

My biggest problem was the demonization of the drug companies, or one of them at least. What if people watch this thinking it's true? This is a pretty egregious example of the anti-business stereotype in movies.

The two leads didn't really work as a couple for me. And they depicted them sleeping together on the first date, and then staying together. That usually doesn't happen in real life--staying together, I mean. When I was young I would see movies like this and think that you could do that and the guy would become your boyfriend, but it doesn't work that way.

Finally I think that they sort of glossed over what is going on in the Sudan. I have never been to the Sudan, and in any case the film was really supposed to be about Kenya, not the Sudan. Still, I get tired of movies and books dancing around the issue of radical Islamist bad behavior, which is a big problem in the Sudan and elsewhere. As far as I know, they are the ones enslaving Christian and Animist children in the Sudan.

"I didn't betray you--I simply put a stop to you."

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"My biggest problem was the demonization of the drug companies, or one of them at least. What if people watch this thinking it's true? This is a pretty egregious example of the anti-business stereotype in movies."

Don't much much about Nestle do you? I realise they aren't a drug company but google about some of their actions in Africa, it'll change your perspective I'm sure.

Re: Terrible movie

Anti big business making profit from misery . It happens . A lot . I suggest you wake up & smell the cash .

That which does not Kill me makes me Stranger . . .

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"My biggest problem was the demonization of the drug companies, or one of them at least. What if people watch this thinking it's true? This is a pretty egregious example of the anti-business stereotype in movies."

The fact of the matter is that this DOES occur. As John le Carré writes in the book's afterword, "By comparison with the reality, my story is as tame as a holiday postcard." You need to do your research before disregarding this film as a simple stereotype of what the poor little corporations do to big bad Africa. Do your research ... this sort of thing occurs every day. The intended message is to show people that this inhumanity does occur because many (not all) businesses put themselves and their stockholders first and will test on "disposable" people in order to turn a profit. For example: the Pfizer drug scandal that occurred in 1996 in Nigeria. Pfizer administered an experimental antibiotic called Trovan to 233 children with bacterial meningitis during an epidemic. 196 children DIED. 27 were said to have suffered adverse side effects.

I have a business degree in International Business and not some hippy who doesn't know how a corporation works and how international relations should be handled. I do. There are good socially responsible ones but unfortunately there are very many that aren't. Pharmaceuticals are by far NOT the only industry that takes advantage of 3rd world countries but for the sake of this film and what it's trying to say, that is what I am focusing on.

"Finally I think that they sort of glossed over what is going on in the Sudan. I have never been to the Sudan, and in any case the film was really supposed to be about Kenya, not the Sudan. Still, I get tired of movies and books dancing around the issue of radical Islamist bad behavior, which is a big problem in the Sudan and elsewhere. As far as I know, they are the ones enslaving Christian and Animist children in the Sudan."

As for Sudan, I don't know if you checked but this movie is only two hours long - not a series that can cover every African country and it's issues. The focus of this story was in Kenya. Sudan only played a minor role and there would be no way that the director or writer could have covered all of Sudan's issues in addition to telling the story that they wanted to tell within two hours. The "Islamist bad behaviour" in Sudan is not directly the underlying message so obviously the directer is not going to go on and on about it.

Pick apart my post all you want, but I am simply pointing out some of the major flaws and closed mindedness within dellascott2004's response.

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Thanks for a great post, s_imdb. I sighed and closed my eyes for a moment after reading dellascott2004's comment of:

"My biggest problem was the demonization of the drug companies, or one of them at least. What if people watch this thinking it's true? This is a pretty egregious example of the anti-business stereotype in movies."

He/she is exactly the clueless, unthinking, obedient consumer the drug companies love to lure in with their happy, pretty television commercials and magazine ads full of smiling people. I bet $5 dellascott2004 was first in line for a Swine flu shot last fall because "they" recommended it.

Doomed!

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Thank you very much cynicphile. We seem to share similar views on this topic.
I believe that consumers should not believe everything that they are told by these corporations. Their marketing is designed to sell their product and you bet that the only reason they list every side effect at the end of these pretty television commercials is because they're legally obligated to. It is up to the consumer to do the research and not count on the corporation itself to be socially responsible and to care for them, because at the end of the day, every corporation's goal is to make a profit. New drugs in general should always be researched in particular by the consumer because no long term side effects would be known yet. This way, they would at least make an informed decision on what they are putting into their bodies.

I would hate to see dellascott2004's opinion the "demonization of the drug companies" if drug testing was being administered to their family without their proper consent or education about the drugs in question. Perhaps their view would be different if it WERE people from a more developed (RICH) part of the world but shared an equal amount of unawareness about the testing.

Re: Terrible movie


For example: the Pfizer drug scandal that occurred in 1996 in Nigeria. Pfizer administered an experimental antibiotic called Trovan to 233 children with bacterial meningitis during an epidemic. 196 children DIED. 27 were said to have suffered adverse side effects.



Your numbers are incorrect. Eleven children out of 200 meningococcal meningitis patients died in the Pfizer study. Furthermore, the mortality rate of the children used in that clinical trial was far below what is normally seen in untreated adolescent meningitis (1 in 7 mortality). Still, Pfizer did a couple things wrong --a hospital certificate of approval for the study was supposedly forged and patients weren't asked to sign informed consent forms before receiving the drug.

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I halfheartedly agree with alot of your problems with it. Nothing stood out that really wow'ed me, was expecting more from it. But I woulnt call it terrible, just overrated.


Agree - 100%. Very underwhelming to say the least. Was expecting so much better.

I prefer fantasy over reality TV - like Fox News. - B.Streisand






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Re: Terrible movie

"If she could have afforded a better level of care, she should have sought it. That's what any mother of any worth would have done"

The baby was still born. The amount you pay the Doctor to delver the dead baby doesn't bring it back to life. Her best friend was the attending physician. These things happen, even with white doctors, even in first world countries.

"Also, she prostituted herself for the sake of information"

Never happened. The deal was made but never consummated. She exploited a man's weakness to get what she wanted. She felt dirty even going that far but felt saving countless lives was worth leading on a leacherous man.

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You really were not paying attention while watching the movie. She never prostituted herself, she took advantage of a rather weasily guy to do good for others and she still felt awful about it. Also, someone else already stated that the baby was stillborn. Nothing could be done. So it would not have mattered where she gave birth. And generally giving birth itself is not all that complicated. It is trying, but not complicated. When you hear about women dying from giving birth in third world countries it is because a lack of sanitation and inexperience on the part of really, really young girls giving birth.

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Overrated!

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Yes, both characters were ridiculous. After Tess breaks down during a boring lecture she should have been committed to a mental hospital, not left free to go home and sleep with the lecturer, who is himself so passive that there is no way he doesn't suffocate on his own tongue.

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Re: Terrible movie

I thought it was absolutely beautiful and heartbreaking movie. Weisz was great, but Fiennes was better.

http://www.lastfm.pl/user/lady_sati

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I thought it was absolutely beautiful and heartbreaking movie. Weisz was great, but Fiennes was better .
.


So agree with you.

But now to everyone who said that Tessa was the one who was wrong I disagree.
I think her character was better than Justin.

He never supported Tessa with her career or her humanitarian intentions till she died, when they go in their car and she tells him that they should stop to help the people and give them a ride, he said they couldn't help everyone and that her health was first.

He started to investigate what was going on till she was no longer with him, but he didn't trust her when he received the e mail about her not being faithful.

I'm not saying he was a monster but he was not angel neither or a victim.


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"Rachel Weisz's character was despicable, and I could not summon up any amount of sympathy or compassion for her. She sacrificed her own marriage, her own child and dignity for her unpractical and exaggerated ideals."

despicable - only if she has actually committed the unfaithful acts behind justin's back, then there, i'd probably use this derogatory term to describe her character, otherwise, i don't see there's anything negative that this "despicable" should be used to describe her character. c'mon, she even confessed to her brother that she felt awful abt making a promise to the 5-star creep which she didn't intend to commit and couldn't imagine what justin would feel or even be able to forgive her for doing that (for luring sandy into believing that she'd sleep with him).

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I absolutely agree with you! This movie is so overoveroveroveroverrated! Totally disappointed! Everything go so slowly I turn it off because I would fall asleep at the half of the movie. The only thing I liked was (not all the time) cinematography...

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I think The Constant Gardener is getting negative criticism when I don't feel its needed. I will agree with whose who find Justin and Tessa's relationship unrealistic in the way in which it progressed so quickly when they barely knew each other. But the film has its positives.

It is well acted all round and gives us thought upon the dilemma taking place in Africa. I felt the non - linear structure worked well for the film and the use of cinematography, its mixture of hand held and focused shots seemed to indicate when we should place ourselves in the positions of the characters. Particually when Justin was day dreaming of Tessa.

"I'd rather be hated for who I am, than loved for who I am not".

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I disagree that Justin and Tessa's relationship was unrealistic. It moved quite fast sure, but we don't know how fast either as only key moments are shown. Besides, I know other people who did, and I myself moved really fast and I am still happily married after seven years. So no, it wasn't unrealistic.

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I agree with the OP. I like Rachel Weisz, but her character took some ridiculous risks during her pregnancy, to serve her own Earth Mother ego, and her baby suffered as a result. As for her relationship with her husband, if you want to be free to do whatever you want without taking into account your spouse's feelings and dreams (or even safety), that's great. But don't get married.

The fact that corporations regularly do things in Africa that they shouldn't be doing, that are even criminal and immoral, does not make this movie good or its protagonists good people. I found the casual racism in the film--where the Africans themselves don't get to be anything besides noble victim helpers of the protagonists or evil lackeys of the corporations--especially irritating. Here the filmmaker is going on and on about how corporations abuse the poor widdle Africans, yet can't be bothered to portray them as adult human beings with their own minds, either.

I lived in Africa for two years, in a small village on the savannah. It wasn't in the same part as in this movie, but people in the West have a tendency to make the same blanket assumptions about the entire continent, anyway. Did some ugly stuff happen there? Oh, yeah. The casual defective-product dumping alone was mindboggling. But ugly stuff happens in my own backyard, too. I guess it's not as exotic when it happens at home. And when it happens at home, you can't pretend that it's all black-and-white (pretty literally in this movie), or as easily solved as a case of killing or prosecuting the right evil people.

Innsmouth Free Press http://www.innsmouthfreepress.com

Re: Terrible movie

I posted this same response to the OP but I'd like to ask the same of you if you don't mind. Perhaps not all that I include is relevant to your post but for the sake of retyping I just copied and pasted. Your opinion seems more based on your experience and maybe less about "movie" preference but I think this would still be interesting if you'd like to respond.

"""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""
Disclaimer: I have the utmost respect for your opinion and appreciate you sharing.

It's always interesting to me how different some our opinions can be. No disrespect at all, I have as much respect for your opinion and right to share it as someone that agrees with me.

This is hands down in my top five movies of all time. I love the cinematography, music, dialogue, conspiratorial themes, the possible legitimacy of such a subject and outcome. I think this movie is visually mesmerizing with the African landscape and Kenyan people.

While this particular example may not be entirely factual to true events it is definitely something that has happened and will happen again to some extent in reality. The corporate drug manufacturers with billions of dollars at stake, the humanitarian activists opposing them, the turning point in which an activist's investigation reveals what they were looking for but at the same time puts them in inevitable fatal danger.

For me, this is one of those movies that I watch and think there cannot be someone out there that dislikes this film. It is fascinating to me that for every movie there is someone with an absolute fondness for it but also an opposing viewer with an equal aversion to it.

Again, no disrespect intended, this is more just an astounding observation that we are all so different and that what seems flawless to one is reprehensible to another.

Simply out of curiosity, indulge me if you would, what is one of your favorite movies? Please don't feel the need to explain yourself for why, I don't intend to openly disagree or ridicule. It would be interesting to know, since we are so far apart on our opinions of this movie, if we are close on another.

I absolutely appreciate the response if you choose to answer.

Thank you.
"""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""

The end.

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Couldnt agree more, the cinematography is horrible, the awkward an extreme close-up shooting is unacceptable. Its one of those movies which gets a lot of attention because of the message, ridicoulsy overated

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Re: Terrible movie

While I think this movie has a powerful message and is complimented by a superb performance from Ralph Fiennes, it must be said that it is incredibly boring to watch.

Another negative for me was the appalling accent adopted by the late Pete Postlethwaite who also has one of the most difficult names to spell. I never know if it is Pete or Peat. Had to look it up!

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Re: Terrible movie

I agree a little with OP. The movie was long and boring, well at least the first hour was. Then it starts to build up in the last hour but doesn't deliver what one would expect from this type of genre. Amazingly i didn't fall asleep to this.. However the acting was great and the filming locations were very true to the story. Although this is a mesmerizing film, i decided to give it 5/10. Only because the ending was at least somewhat worth waiting for.

PS: I almost turned it off in the first 30 minutes, but i am glad i watched it through.

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I don't know what to say. It's well directed (besides the shaky cam effect, which I'm not a fan of) and well acted, but it doesn't stand out. It felt like one of those "ok" movies that you sorta just forget you ever saw it after awhile.

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I thought it was ok. Good director, but a terrible script with no pay off and it had wooden acting.

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Disclaimer: I have the utmost respect for your opinion and appreciate you sharing.

It's always interesting to me how different some our opinions can be. No disrespect at all, I have as much respect for your opinion and right to share it as someone that agrees with me.

This is hands down in my top five movies of all time. I love the cinematography, music, dialogue, conspiratorial themes, the possible legitimacy of such a subject and outcome. I think this movie is visually mesmerizing with the African landscape and Kenyan people.

While this particular example may not be entirely factual to true events it is definitely something that has happened and will happen again to some extent in reality. The corporate drug manufacturers with billions of dollars at stake, the humanitarian activists opposing them, the turning point in which an activist's investigation reveals what they were looking for but at the same time puts them in inevitable fatal danger.

For me, this is one of those movies that I watch and think there cannot be someone out there that dislikes this film. It is fascinating to me that for every movie there is someone with an absolute fondness for it but also an opposing viewer with an equal aversion to it.

Again, no disrespect intended, this is more just an astounding observation that we are all so different and that what seems flawless to one is reprehensible to another.

Simply out of curiosity, indulge me if you would, what is one of your favorite movies? Please don't feel the need to explain yourself for why, I don't intend to openly disagree or ridicule. It would be interesting to know, since we are so far apart on our opinions of this movie, if we are close on another.

I absolutely appreciate the response if you choose to answer.

Thank you.

The end.
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