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Forgiveness (2010)

Various , Helen Whitney  |  NR |  DVD
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Various
  • Directors: Helen Whitney
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Docurama
  • DVD Release Date: April 26, 2011
  • Run Time: 168 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #93,489 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Editorial Reviews

From Oscar®-nominated director Helen Whitney, this powerful film explores the act of forgiveness through a wide range of stories, from personal to national, illuminating its power, its limitations and, in some cases, its dangers.

FORGIVENESS explores the act of forgiveness through a wide range of stories, from adultery and personal betrayal to the post-genocidal reconciliation of nations. In focusing on specific instances of affliction one family torn apart by abandonment, the post-apartheid Truth and Reconciliation hearings in South Africa or the memories of 60s radicals coping with their violent acts of protest FORGIVENESS studies the psychological impetus and impacts of this crucial sentiment, illuminating its power, its limitations and, in some cases, its dangers.

Giving voice to the stories of nations and individuals who have suffered and struggled to forgive, FORGIVENESS provides a moving and much-needed chronicle of reconciliation.

Bonus Features: Extended Bonus Sequences

Customer Reviews

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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
The concept of forgiveness is such a broad and complicated topic, there is really no way to adequately convey its many meanings and variations. However, filmmaker Helen Whitney attempts to do just that in the comprehensive documentary "Forgiveness: A Time To Love & A Time To Hate." In truth, I had little initial interest in viewing this film--I assumed it would be a feel good meditation on making the world a better place. Not that there is anything wrong with that goal--but sometimes those presentations can feel more like medicine (and sugary medicine, at that) than entertainment. But while Whitney does layer her film with a flowery narration that can veer toward expected learning points, the heart and soul of the piece is inhabited by riveting and haunting individual stories. These stories are filled with pain, betrayal and brutality and as the participants recount how they tried to come to terms with these unpleasantries--"Forgiveness" becomes an unforgettable film experience.

The film, at nearly three hours, is structured in two main parts (listed individually as Act One and Act Two on the DVD menu). Act One tells of three very disturbing crime stories and just might be one of the most compelling movies I've seen in quite some time. The lead story deals with the aftermath of a massacre in an Amish school house, then there's a woman who survived a brutal attack only to pursue the culprit decades later, and lastly a sixties radical who participated in a crime that resulted in the death of police officer. The second and third pieces (in particular) are so intimate, uncomfortable and multi-faceted. The film does a great job juxtaposing all the conflicting emotions inherent in forgiveness and redemption--and exploring whether they are even viable concepts in some cases.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb Documentary December 13, 2011
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I have viewed "Forgiveness: A Time to Love and a Time to Hate" several times, and find it one of the most deeply affecting documentaries I have ever seen.

The film explores the spiritual, psychological, and social challenges of forgiveness: are there acts that, by their very nature, are unforgivable? Do we, the living, commit an injustice to the dead when we decide to forgive past evil so that we may move on with our lives? Can forgiveness be afforded too quickly if wrongdoers have not yet fully realized or repented their sins?

These are just a few of the questions that the film raises in a wide variety of circumstances and settings, some of which are widely known (such as the Rwandan genocide), and others of which have faded from the public eye (the murder of five Amish schoolchildren in Nickel Mines, Pennsylvania). "Forgiveness" also examines the "intimate woundings" of our everyday lives, the quiet transformations that strain, and sometimes break, the bonds of family and friends, woundings which require deep devotion and awareness that forgiveness may be extended.

What is perhaps most extraordinary about this work is that it avoids easy answers and pat formulations. It leaves us with no doubt that there are no absolutes when it comes to forgiveness. Forgiveness is an individual decision, sometimes taken in solitude and sometimes made in a larger religious, social, or political context. It is clearly a process, one that may take an entire lifetime. Whether you are contemplating events on the scale of 9/11 or you are seeking to come to terms with more personal injustices or hurts, this film will give you plenty to consider and, quite possibly, hope to continue your journey.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
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When I first watched this, I thought, "How could anyone justify a representation of "incomplete" healing, even anger?". The film gives honest feedback about how several different people have dealt with terrible things in their lives and stimulates the viewer to take a close, hard look at the way they might improve on dealing with their own forgiveness issues.

Because the film allowed the ugliness of partially complete forgiveness journeys to be shown, it allows the viewer to "climb the ladder", understand where THEY may be on the ladder, rather than just stand back and say, "the mountain is too high - why bother?".

It does NOT justify a partial journey as the "right answer" - it just unblinkingly shows that those ugly ladder steps in the process are out there and may eventually have to be dealt with.

Sure, some may try to use elements of this video to avoid the forgiveness process, or even try to justify their anger & hatred. Yes, I agree with reviewer "Brian" that the "only way out is to forgive", but after watching this DVD three full times, I can honestly say that because it does NOT hammer the viewer with " Thou MUST forgive" genuinely leads the viewer towards that very understanding AND helps people remember that forgiveness is a process. Mistakes can & will be made. It is NOT just an emotionless YES/NO, forgive/don't forgive, hate/don't hate, angry/don't be angry equation.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Thought provoking August 24, 2013
By rwl
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An excellent study on the subject of forgiveness. It really prompted a lot of self examination and led me to develop a class using a few selections from the series. I can't agree with all the conclusions of the contributors; however, it was fascinating to think about all that was presented, and compare the ideas against my own Christian beliefs.
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