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Top Customer Reviews
This movie moved me to tears. I am a Mennonite who grew up among the Old Order Amish and Old Order Mennonites in Lancaster County Pennsylvania. Many visitors do not understand our way of life. People complain that the Amish are not well educated, well just last week I had an 8 year old Amish girl wait on me at her father's store. She tallied the five items that I bought on a battery operated cash register and cheerfully gave me the correct change counting it out into my hand. This is in such contrast to the urban young man I met about a month ago at McDonalds who although he gave me the incorrect change, argued with me for about three minutes until he finally, finally saw that he had made a mistake and then still had a major attitude because I pointed out that he had given me the incorrect change.
Many people do not understand us of Anabaptist origins. They romanticize the Amish, they act like they are somehow holier than thou, etc. etc. The Amish themselves realize how human they are.
We are descendants of the most radical wing of the Reformation. Only once you are an adult and are able to choose for yourself are you expected to "join church" and take that baptismal vow. The Amish take that promise perhaps too strongly. My own parents suggested that "you join our church because you are living with us now, but when you move away from home feel free to join another church."
Perhaps the most moving part of the movie to me is when Faron takes out the Ausbund, the oldest Protestant hymnbook in continuous use and talks about the people from the 16th century being able to die for their faith.Read more ›
When Amish teenagers turn sixteen they are encouraged to leave their communities and experience the pleasures and conveniences of life in the outside "English" world. This period is called Rumspringa (literally "running around") and is intended to ensure that the Amish who come back into the fold will have made a conscious choice to do so. The appeal to free will is well-intentioned, but ultimately disingenuous. When given their first taste of adult freedom, Amish teenagers do what any other teenagers do: they drink too much, have sex, and spend a lot of time driving around in cars. For most teenagers this is just a phase. For the Amish it's the preliminary to the most important decision of their life: whether or not to join the Amish church. The subjects of Walker's documentary are no better prepared for the trials of adolescence than any other group of sixteen year olds, and it comes as no surprise that most of them, after a few tumultuous years, seem ready to return to a way of life that represents family, security, and a rock-solid sense of identity.
Rumspringa, an Amish elder says at one point, is really a vaccination. You get just enough of a taste of the outside world so that when you give it up you won't wonder what you're missing.Read more ›
That description evokes images of girls in white bonnets partying down, and chain-smoking boys cruising around in their buggies. And while the movie does in fact present such scenes, it's actually a serious, non-glamorizing, non-patronizing look at cultures, religion and youth.
When children in the Amish community turn 16, they enter a period called rumspringa, during which they're exempt from the restrictions of the church and are allowed to experience the outside world before deciding whether or not they want to permanently commit to the Amish way of life - they have to face temptation before they can reject it.
And the teens in "Devil's Playground" almost immediately take to temptation and what they call the "English" culture like nobody's business. They don baggy jeans and visors and doo-rags, get pierced, absorb videogames and MTV, buy cars and move out of their parents' homes.
"If I was living at home," says one Amish teen, "I couldn't have 200 channels of DirecTV, stereo, Nintendo and a fridge full of beer."
"Devil's Playground" focuses on several different teens during their rumspringa:
One moves into a small trailer and hosts a seemingly non-stop party for two years before he simply decides to go home and commit to his religion.
Another leaves behind her family and fiancee so she can go to college, and the scene in which she tries on the plain dark wedding dress she made as a girl but no longer needs is both terribly sad and incredibly hopeful at the same time.
But the central figure in the movie is Faron, a preacher's son and a methamphetamine dealer whose life spirals out of control and into serious trouble, on camera.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This award-winning documentary exposes the Amish tradition of “Rumspringa,” where sixteen-year-olds are released from their traditional roles, and allowed to investigate the... Read morePublished 2 months ago by The Reviewer Formerly Known as Kurt Johnson
This documentary can be very important for all parents of all teens. It is about the culture of family life and the importance of parental love as a resource in young lives. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Edward C. Byrne
Devil's Playground Our church has a number of ex-Amish and ex-Mennonite, especially our church in New Holland, PA. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Michael D.
If you enjoy Amish documentaries you'll really enjoy "The Devil's Playground". The cameras follow a group of Amish teenagers on their Rumspringa. Read morePublished 10 months ago by Mozart'sConstanze
This is a very real look at what teenagers go through when they go through Rumspringa. You follow these teens throughout the film, watching them grow, make mistakes and educate us... Read morePublished on January 29, 2014 by Seeker of Painless Youth
"Devil's Playground" is a good companion piece to "Sons of Perdition," in that both films explore the way teens rebel against the repressive social strictures of the religious... Read morePublished on June 29, 2013 by C. ANZIULEWICZ
Amish kids drinking, smoking, doing drugs, having sex, and watching TV. The Amish realize that 16 year old kids cannot be controlled and forcing those elements into the community... Read morePublished on June 7, 2012 by The Movie Guy
I became completely absorbed watching this DVD. I have always been interested in different religions. The stories are so interesting and sometimes tragic. Read morePublished on May 23, 2010 by Joy a.k.a. Schmo