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Customer Review

29 of 31 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars an interesting period piece, but at times a bit maudlin, February 15, 2000
This review is from: Amistad [VHS] (VHS Tape)
I was immediately drawn into this movie, and stayed drawn in; I wanted to know what the fate of the Africans would be. The fact that this case really happened, and that it generated such disturbing political issues, mark it as an important story in U.S. history. And because the plot was based on a story which did happen, I cannot agree with the criticisms of those who faulted the movie because it portrayed whites saving blacks. I cannot see how to make the story otherwise and remain true to the original case.

On the other hand, the scenes where the whites triumphed on behalf of the blacks were indeed maudlin and sentimental in presentation, and did seem to send a message of "See? Not all white people are so bad." Nonetheless, the portrait of Van Buren and the political scene of the time were strong reminders that there were plenty of whites at fault..........As for the criticisms by Hispanics that the movie portrays Spanish/Cuban people as villains, I do not see that.....As a person with Cuban ancestry, I think the movie portrayed pretty much what happened.....should Spielberg have tried to make the 2 Cuban slavers look sympathetic so as not to hurt Hispanic peoples' feelings? How should he have portrayed the queen of Spain? The Spanish royal family has always been subject to criticism, much of it from within Spain: look at the portraits painted by Goya of the Spanish court. The corruption of that institution could fill volumes.....

In viewing this film and then reading the reviews, one thing has become very clear to me: that both whites and minorities in this country still view history through their own special racial/ethnic lenses, and with a great deal of defensiveness....to move toward the values which Spielberg tried to put forth in Amistad, we must all strive for a little more objectivity.....
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Showing 1-5 of 5 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Apr 8, 2015, 11:30:23 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 8, 2015, 11:40:51 AM PDT
Carol H. says:
a great deal of Cuban and Spanish speaking people and Caribbean people as well, have African ancestry and wont admit it!!!. they are just as BLACK as I am, and have a racist attitude., while living here in the united states. It all started in 18th century british colonies and bringing in Africans . French are in on it too!! I agree with some of the comments Black,Whites and many other races/cultures are involved with the slave trade. Movie Amistad, by Spielberg interesting.

In reply to an earlier post on May 2, 2015, 10:18:59 AM PDT
Shaun says:
I wonder if the original poster realized that it was the West Africans that kidnapped and sold their own people in this film, as is true to history? Not alleviating any responsibility from all involved parties, but it would be wrong not to acknowledge.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 23, 2016, 12:09:08 PM PDT
I wonder if you know that all of the races have held their own in slavery at one time or another.
(not only west Africans) Expand you circle of life - it involves others too.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 23, 2016, 3:59:47 PM PDT
Shaun, Yes, I realize that West Africans were involved in the slave trade. My family is bi-racial, with some of our ancestral roots in Ghana, and I know that history well. I did not mention this in my review because it would have been an "aside," i.e., my point was that it is not politically incorrect to show white people assisting people of color if indeed that was what happened historically (and I admit that all history is interpretive, but let's not get too hung up on minutiae here). In English Comp class they taught us over and over: stick to the point, do not digress, and that's what I tried to do in my review.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 23, 2016, 4:03:22 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Aug 23, 2016, 4:09:28 PM PDT
In reply to Amazon Customer's post Aug 23, 2016: What on earth? Of course I know that, but it is not pertinent to the discussion. Your instruction to "expand you (sic) circle of life" sounds smug and preachy. And besides, I'll not take instruction from anyone who hides behind anonymity.
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Location: Duluth, Minnesota USA

Top Reviewer Ranking: 16,032