The Passion of Ayn Rand
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Two attractive young students, Nathaniel Blumenthal (who later changes his name to Nathaniel Branden) and Barbara Weitman (Eric Stoltz and Julie Delpy), are invited, following an enthusiastic letter, to meet their idol, Ayn Rand, at the home she shares with her husband Frank O'Connor (heartbreakingly portrayed by Peter Fonda) in California. Both are passionate devotees of her ideas of Objectivism, reason and self-interest, and find a willing guru in Rand, played with grim charisma by Helen Mirren.
While Nathan is attracted to Barbara, her feelings for him are closer to friendship - but under pressure from Rand, who argues that emotion is always based on reason and that therefore the young couple's shared ideals make them a perfect sexual match, the two of them marry. Their unsuccessful marriage, already intimately destructive since Nathaniel has taken it upon himself to act as Barbara's psychotherapist as well as her husband, seeking to eradicate the 'faulty principles' that make her uncomfortable with the relationship, is worsened when Rand and Nathaniel begin an affair, insisting that their prospective partners accept this sexual relationship as the necessary consequence of their mental compatibility. The tensions between the characters play out against the rising cult of the Nathaniel Branden Institute and the success of Atlas Shrugged, leading to moral and emotional chaos under the guise of reason and idealism.Read more ›
Recently I had the pleasure of a watching a different documentary film about Miss Rand called _Ayn Rand: A Sense of Life_. And I think if you are looking for more details actually about her, her life, and her ideas, rather than love affairs which I thought were quite unpleasant within _The Passion of Ayn Rand_, _Ayn Rand: A Sense of Life_ is the film I think you'll enjoy to watch and listen to instead.
Julie Delpy fairly portrays Barbara's "descent into hell" (to borrow from a Doris Lessing title) of psychological intimidation and manipulation and its breeding of guilt, but Helen Mirren appropriately dominates the screen, mastering Rand's intensity down to detailed mannerisms that conform not only to Barbara's account but to filmed interviews. (For excerpts from these interviews and more, see Michael Paxton's "Ayn Rand: A Sense of Life," DVD, 2004, available on Amazon.) Whereas Delpy gives us a woman in tune with social dynamics (including jealousy) as well as ideas, Mirren shows a single-minded pursuit of personal goals that easily ignores the existence of others, a kind of "blanking out" of social reality (to borrow an epithet that Rand frequently used). In the scene where Rand negotiates her affair with Nathaniel in the presence of Frank and Barbara, Mirren's voice, face, and body move inexorably from her assumption that everyone will accept her simple moral calculus--what's best for her must be good for all--to mild indignation that the others cannot see with her clarity what is in her/their best interest.Read more ›
While I was going to Group at Mr. Branden's house I had no idea that he'd had an affair with Ayn Rand as it was apparently known only to some insiders I'd guess. Had I known, I would have immediately ended the relationship. As it was he was totally ineffectual as a therapist, barely able to stay awake while we spoke, and like comic shrinks in movies, lets you answer your own questions when you're paying HIM to! Years later, 15 free minutes with Dr. Laura on the radio fixed the problem I had (guilt over the death of a family member.)
The upside of all this:I did know Patrecia who was changed to another fictional woman in the movie. She was a Goddess. All the men loved her, all the women wanted to BE her. She was the essence of joy and life and she died way too young....slight epilepsy that was caused by strobing sunlight dancing off the pool whereupon she had a seizure and fell into the water, drowning.
Now I see that the high moral standards we underlings were supposed to uphold were completely tossed out the window by Ms. Rand and Mr. Branden. Barbara Brandon's book also reported that Ms.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
While the truth of the story is a bit disturbing, it is a fascinating study of the author's private life. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Pam Reynolds
Another Ayn Rand-related work...I am not 100% sure about all the 'facts' it represents - you can see for yourself - I don't trust HOLLYWOOD
to be altogether factual, indeed,... Read more
One of my favorite movies. Not just as a documentary...but as a movie. It's an amazing story with compelling love stories.Published 9 months ago by William
I used to like this movie and thought it was a pretty fair representation of the affair between Rand and Branden. Now I think it's a gross and unfair distortion. Read morePublished 10 months ago by Laurie
Mirren's Russian accent is awesome and the movie (while melodramatic) is a pretty faithful rendition of Rand's hypocrisy and ability to compartmentalize.Published 10 months ago by Lucy
For those of us wanting to know more about the of Atlas Shrugged. Recommend 3 dvd set also!Published 11 months ago by Robert / Atlanta