SIFF Call Me a Naturalist
posted by June 4 at 9:00 AMon
It’s rare to come out of a movie feeling both good about the world and that you’ve been told the truth.
Yesterday I had this experience, with Julia Sweeney’s Letting Go of God, the red-headed actress’s one-woman show about turning from Catholic to atheist, though she prefers to call herself a “naturalist” (since it’s a word tied to the factual life of the world, not to religion).
What Letting Go of God is really about, though, is the awakening of a critical consciousness. Sweeney uses the simple tools of every great thinker—curiosity and books—and the results are revelatory.
Here’s a snippet from an early version of the piece, parts of which also aired on This American Life:
For the movie, the stage monologue, which premiered in 2004 in LA, is filmed and performed so smoothly that the live and movie audiences feel united by the end.
But more importantly, some of Sweeney’s insights reach the heights of the paragon of the form, the great, questing, poetic, one-woman vehicle written by Jane Wagner and performed by Lily Tomlin, The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe. That title could apply here, too.
To find out when and where the movie screens at SIFF, click here.
And here is your daily Pat.