Cinematherapy for the Soul


Has your karma run over your dogma? Are you feeling anxious about the future, or wondering who turned down the dimmer switch on your inner light? The illumination you need is right at your fingertips. Settle into the lotus position, pick up your remote control, and let movies be your spiritual guide on your journey toward personal nirvana. From the bestselling duo who brought you Cinematherapy, Advanced Cinematherapy, Cinematherapy for Lovers, and Bibliotherapy comes CINEMATHERAPY FOR THE SOUL, a video guide ...

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Cinematherapy for the Soul

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Has your karma run over your dogma? Are you feeling anxious about the future, or wondering who turned down the dimmer switch on your inner light? The illumination you need is right at your fingertips. Settle into the lotus position, pick up your remote control, and let movies be your spiritual guide on your journey toward personal nirvana. From the bestselling duo who brought you Cinematherapy, Advanced Cinematherapy, Cinematherapy for Lovers, and Bibliotherapy comes CINEMATHERAPY FOR THE SOUL, a video guide guaranteed to help you become your own guru.

With 150 new reviews of classic and contemporary movies and thoughtful quotes to uplift you, CINEMATHERAPY FOR THE SOUL is guaranteed to help you discover that the movies will reinvigorate your tired spirit and help you find inspiration, one movie at a time.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Peske and West have collaborated on three previous "Cinematherapy" collections; this one suggests 150 flicks to change mood (or, as the authors rather dramatically put it, to "inspire, refresh, uplift, and reinvigorate your tired spirit"). The chapters are thematically organized (e.g., "Your Soul Mate") and contain brief entries summarizing movies and postulating why they will help readers. Some of the comments are crude, such as "pour some tequila shots, watch Frida and celebrate your own palette of possibilities," and though most of the films discussed would be considered chick flicks, occasionally gender-neutral stuff (e.g., Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone) surfaces. Recipes and movie quotes are interspersed throughout. Libraries should remember that this was designed as a gift book-it has a limited readership, a brief shelf life, and a lack of the critical perspective needed for a collection tool. Not recommended; consider the many existing alternatives, like VideoHound's Golden Movie Retriever, 2004. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780385337045
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 2/3/2004
  • Pages: 240
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.25 (d)

Meet the Author

Nancy Peske and Beverly West are best friends, identical cousins, and the coauthors of Cinematherapy for Lovers: The Girl’s Guide to Finding True Love One Movie at a Time, Advanced Cinematherapy: The Girl’s Guide to Finding Happiness One Movie at a Time, Cinematherapy: The Girl’s Guide to Movies for Every Mood, and Bibliotherapy: The Girl’s Guide to Books for Every Phase of Our Lives. They live in New York City.

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First Chapter

Chapter 1

This Little Light of Mine:

Shining Out Movies

Has the shining city on your hill been experiencing a brownout? Have the lights in your personal display window been suddenly extinguished, leaving your best merchandise in the dark? We all have those days when we feel marked down for clearance. But don't worry, all it takes to inflate your value is a little self-appreciation and some regular downtime well spent with some of these Shining Out Movies, featuring heroes and heroines who take their moment front and center in the display case of life and demand what they're worth. They reassure us all that when we replace fear with love and let our light shine, we can name our price.

Grace of My Heart (1996)

Stars: Illeana Douglas, John Turturro, Matt Dillon

Director and Writer: Allison Anders

Sometimes shining out is simply a matter of stepping out from behind somebody else's shadow. Illeana Douglas stars as Edna Buxton, a young singer and songwriter in the heyday of Tin Pan Alley, when men were men and girl groups were unemployed. Edna

is forced to sell her songs rather than sing them herself and must wait for the day when the world will turn and she can record her own songs. Unfortunately, her world starts

revolving around difficult men instead, and Edna winds up in a series of disastrous emotional and creative collaborations that serve only to dim her personal wattage until at last she is able to stand on her own two feet, sing her own songs, and cast her own long shadow.

Grace of My Heart is one of those rare movies that manages to fit the entirety of the female experience intotwo hours and four minutes, minus titles and credits, and for that reason it's one of our top ten, best all-around Cinematherapy movies. It's like an anthem to the resilience of the female spirit. So when your joie de vivre is flagging, watch Grace of My Heart and shine from the inside out.

The Gift (2000)

Stars: Cate Blanchett, Giovanni Ribisi, Keanu Reeves, Katie Holmes,

Michael Jeter, Greg Kinnear, Hilary Swank

Director: Sam Raimi

Writers: Billy Bob Thornton, Tom Epperson

It's hard for Annie Wilson (Cate Blanchett), single mom of three, to make ends meet. After all, she's just a small-town psychic who works with a deck of tarot cards in her kitchen--apparently she's unaware of the income-generating potential of a 900-number network and an ad in the back of The National Enquirer. Yet Annie does her best to keep her finances in the black and give her neighbors some glimpse into what the future holds for them. But when Annie starts experiencing terrifying dreams and visions of a dead woman shortly after the town floozy (Katie Holmes) disappears, her life gets very complicated. Suddenly everyone wants Annie to bend her talents to their will and come up with a nice, linear time scenario for an unsolved crime. Frankly, they want to hear about Colonel Mustard in the billiard room with the rope, not some poetic description of white lilies near a split-rail fence and a lifeless girl in a tree. Try though she might, Annie can't deliver, and it's starting to seem like all her efforts to be helpful to her neighbors are pathetically inadequate. Meanwhile, she's blinded to the grave danger she could be in.

When you're having a hard time appreciating your unique gifts, this movie will remind you that all talents, when embraced and nurtured, will produce benefits--but you may not be able to predict the outcomes with complete accuracy. So go on: Place that lantern on top of a bushel and let its light shine out for everyone.

And Then There Was Light

The only thing that moves here is the light, but it changes everything.

7 Nicole Kidman as Grace in The Others

Yet all the suns that light the corridors of the universe shine dim before the blazing of a single thought.

7 Arthur Kennedy as Dr. Duval in Fantastic Voyage

Remember, the shadows are just as important as the light.

7 Charlotte Gainsbourg as Jane in Jane Eyre

Bev's Culinarytherapy:

Bring Out Your Inner Glow Goop

When you're feeling the need to emotionally exfoliate,

try this food facial, which is guaranteed to help you throw off that dead skin and let your fresh face shine through. And you can even lick the bowl afterward!

Here's what you'll need:

1 ripe avocado

Juice of 1Ú2 lemon

Here's how you do it:

Peel and pit the avocado, and mash it with a fork. Stir in the lemon juice, sour cream, and salt. Apply to your entire face, and let it sit for about 20 minutes, then gently wipe off the goop with a damp cloth and bask in your own glow. Eat the remaining goop with chips and a little salsa.

Little Voice (1998)

Stars: Jane Horrocks, Brenda Blethyn, Michael Caine, Ewan McGregor

Director: Mark Herman

Writer: Mark Herman, based on the play by Jim Cartwright

If the volume control on your little corner of the world has been cranked to eleven lately, and you're finding it hard to hear yourself think, tune out the hubbub with Little Voice and stop the insanity.

LV (Jane Horrocks)--short for Little Voice--hasn't said more than about two words since the passing of her sainted, and one assumes soft-spoken, father. Since then, her

tarnished and more-than-just-presumably loudmouthed mother, Mari (Brenda Blethyn), and her ungovernable passions have drowned out LV's inner voice, and her outer one too. LV copes with the cacophony, probably much the way her father did--by listening to his vintage record collection over and over and over again. Through these grainy but melodic voices from a less loquacious past, and regular visits from her silent father's silent ghost, LV finds a voice of sorts to express her inner light.

Unfortunately, Little Voice is able to sing in anybody's voice but her own, literally. She develops an uncanny ability to impersonate the vocal stylings of such legends as Judy Garland and Marilyn Monroe. And when blowsy Mari's seedy, two-bit promoter boy-friend, Ray Say (Michael Caine), gets a load of LV's act, he wants to stick the whole dysfunctional drama under a spotlight, hang tassels on it, and take it on the road. But in the end he and LV and all of us learn that in order to find our inner light, sometimes we have to close our eyes and see; and to find our inner voice, sometimes we have to listen to the sounds of silence.

Get Off Your Cross, Someone Needs the Wood

When I'm not writing poems, I'm writing eulogies . . . mine.

7 Leelee Sobieski as Jennifer in My First Mister

There's nothing very special about me. I'm the kind of girl you usually don't notice: I scuttle in with a tray of tea, bow my head, and scuttle out.

7 Tara Fitzgerald as Betty in The Englishman Who Went up a Hill but Came down a Mountain

I'll be in my room, making no noise and pretending I don't exist.

7 Daniel Radcliffe as Harry Potter in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (2001)

Stars: Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson, Maggie Smith,

Richard Harris, Alan Rickman

Director: Chris Columbus

Writer: Steven Kloves, based on the novel by J. K. Rowling

It's kind of difficult to let your light shine out when you're locked in a cupboard beneath the stairs, but as young Harry Potter learns, when you make the most of the opportunities presented to you and stay true to your principles and loyal to your friends, you too can become a dazzling and legendary wizard. And you may even inspire a multimedia empire with licensing rights that could finance the next seven generations.

When we first meet Harry (Daniel Radcliffe), he's completely unaware of his family legacy and totally unprepared for the reception he receives at boarding school--he's just relieved to get away from his cruel caretakers, the Dursleys. While the other students and teachers are either in awe of him or plotting his downfall, Harry simply tries to keep a low profile and hang out with fellow Gryffindor housemates Hermione Granger (Emma Watson) and Ron Weasley (Rupert Grint). But Harry discovers that you can't just brush your bangs over that lightning-shaped scar on your forehead and forget about your past forever. There are a lot of dark secrets in the shadows and evil forces that need to be subdued once and for all--and a lot of sequels to be made and toy store shelves to be filled. Yep, Harry better stop lurking in the corners and start harnessing the power of his resplendence.

Feeling like you're stuck in the cupboard and ready to claim your wand and your destiny? Let Harry Potter remind you of the importance of embracing who you are and where you came from--and developing your skills at manipulating the forces in your universe.

Until the juice ferments a while in the cask, it isn't wine. If you wish your heart to be bright, you must do a little work.


The Eyes of Tammy Faye (2000)

Stars: Tammy Faye Bakker, RuPaul

Directors: Fenton Bailey, Randy Barbato

The lights of the electric church never shined brighter than in the eyes of Tammy Faye Bakker, the terminally perky, perpetually double-lashed mistress of the Christian Broadcasting Network.

This documentary, narrated by RuPaul (who knows a thing or two about casting off bushels himself, even though the light underneath may make some squint), examines the indomitable spirit of the mother of televangelism whose unwavering beacon kept her on course, despite a sea of dysfunction, treachery, adultery, larceny, and public humiliation, not to mention the worst tattooed lip and eyeliner we've ever seen.

Tammy's personal and professional voyage is fraught with difficulty. She endures an unfaithful husband, a ruthless press, an addiction to prescription drugs, and the public's sudden and shocking disenchantment with puppetry as a central metaphor for the human condition. Tammy Faye's personal arc of the covenant ends up landlocked in Arizona,

the home of the New Age movement, which is a dubious conclusion for a Christian morality tale. Yes, Tammy herself winds up literally in the desert, without a husband, a church, or most important, a satellite network or a theme park. Yet despite undergoing the trails and tribulations of Job, Tammy's light continues to shine through the darkness, with the same freakish but unwavering inner glow that is made of more than just Maybelline. And in the end, she is reborn to a new media career, a new agency contract, and a new husband.

So the next time you're feeling like your porch light is flickering, take a look at the world through The Eyes of Tammy Faye, and remember that what's important about shining out is what your light reveals to you, whether or not anyone else sees things the same way. Let Tammy Faye's all-day waterproof mascara inspire you not to give up on the brink of a miracle.

Tammy's Terrific Tidbits

Yes. I have always loved lip liner! I like definition.

It makes my lips pop. I guess I like pop all over! I mean, why blend it all in? If you're gonna blend everything in, why put it on in the first place?

7 Tammy Faye in The Eyes of Tammy Faye

You can't go forward looking in the rearview mirror.

7 Tammy Faye in The Eyes of Tammy Faye

All in all, even if the film was not about me, I would want to take time and go see it for the lessons it conveys. I think everyone, especially young people, should see it and realize that there is still life after tragedy and that the human spirit is strong and resilient.

7 Tammy Faye in The Eyes of Tammy Faye

Devil's Playground (2002)

Stars: Faron Yoder, Velda Bontrager, Emma Miller,

Joann Hockstetler, Gerald Yutzy

Director: Lucy Walker

If ever there were a group of people who needed to squint to find their inner light, it's the teenagers featured in this riveting documentary about the Amish tradition of rumspringa.

At age sixteen, all Amish kids enter rumspringa, a time when theoretically they get "vaccinated" against the outside world by having a small taste of the "English" (as the Amish call anything or anyone who isn't Amish) life before committing once and for all to baptism in the Amish church. In other words, children who have no more than eighth-grade educations, no personal connections outside of the community, and no handle on modern life or pop culture go mad crazy. Yeah, sure, exchanging clothing held together by straight pins for something with zippers is a part of it, but as this documentary shows, so are all-night crystal-meth-fueled raves.

Okay, so there is something admirable about a culture that acknowledges the need to indulge in a little hedonism and sow a few wild oats before settling in. But the contrast between Amish and "English" ways is so great, and the modern world so downright dangerous to an uneducated teen with few rules to rein him or her in and so little self-knowledge, that the consequences for these kids can be deadly. And since all of them are absolutely certain that hell is a real place, and that unbaptized, Kangol-cap-wearing, Tupac-wannabe, crank-dealing teenagers are headed straight to Satan's house, the "choice" of Amish security versus "English" uncertainty is pretty much a no-brainer. When some of the kids--particularly the girls, who have been thoroughly indoctrinated in patriarchal groupthink--actually walk away from everyone and everything they know and embrace an uncertain but hopeful future, it is a testament to their incredible character and resilience.

When you're feeling unsettled and unsure of what you really want, watch this documentary about kids who are far less equipped than you are to lift up that bushel and let the light shine out. See if it doesn't make you a little more confident--and a little more grateful for the insight, knowledge, and tools you do have.

Viewer's Note: Be sure to check out the extra features on the DVD to find out about the triumphs of two of the more courageous girls.

Maggie's Morsels

Safety does not come first. Goodness, truth, and beauty come first.

7 Maggie Smith as Miss Jean Brodie in The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie

Oh, chrysanthemums. Such . . . serviceable flowers.

7 Maggie Smith as Miss Jean Brodie in The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie

We'll leave you alone, but we'll be listening from the kitchen, so talk loud.

7 Maggie Smith as Caro Eliza Bennett in Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood

The Full Monty (1997)

Stars: Robert Carlyle, Tom Wilkinson, Mark Addy, William Snape, Steve Huison

Director: Peter Cattaneo

Writer: Simon Beaufoy

In the northern England town of Sheffield, the steel mill has shut down and there's not much for a man to do except fill out his unemployment forms and show up regularly at the "job club" office to dully report that yes, he has actively looked for work and no, he hasn't found any hot prospects besides nicking a rusty steel beam from the old factory and selling it for scrap. Well, okay, Gaz (Robert Carlyle) doesn't actually report such shenanigans, but he really doesn't have any other ideas as to how he's going to pay his child support. Gaz is content to wander about town aimlessly, hanging out with his friend Dave (Mark Addy) and his son, Nathan (William Snape), until his ex-wife threatens to replace him utterly with a financially stable new husband who can slip neatly into the "dad" role.
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