Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Movie Review: The Most Hated Woman in America

Who is Madalyn Murray O’Hair

By Moristotle

Netflix’s latest streaming release, The Most Hated Woman in America, doesn’t flatter Madalyn Murray O’Hair, nor does it flatter the religious people who hated her for “standing up” (as she put it) for the First Amendment of the Constitution’s guarantee of religious freedom, including freedom not only to believe, but also not to believe. Her lawsuit, Murray v. Curlett, led to the landmark 1963 Supreme Court ruling that ended official Bible-reading in American public schools.
Actors Peter Fonda & Melissa Leo
    The film seemed to me to be faithful to the essential facts. Even its title was taken from a 1964 issue of Life magazine, which noted that she was already receiving the death threats that would continue to come for the rest of her life. But it isn’t a documentary – it’s a gripping drama constructed around Murray’s being kidnapped and held for...a purpose I won’t reveal so as not to spoil your enjoyment of this highly enjoyable film. (And you’d best not click on the links above either!)
    Woven in and out of the narrative of her being held is the story of her life from early adulthood, starting with a scene in which she reveals to her parents that she is pregnant again, to the most recent days of her being the de facto president of the non-profit activist organization American Atheists, which she founded in 1963 to defend the civil liberties of atheists and advocate for the complete separation of church and state. (She had served as the organization’s president until 1986, when her son Garth became president, if only in name.)
Actors Melissa Leo & Vincent Kartheiser
    Murray is deliciously (and bawdily) portrayed by Melissa Leo, whom the cosmetic artists must have been challenged to make up true to the periods of Murray’s life. If I didn’t already know it was Ms. Leo, I might not have been able to guess who it was without a hint or two. In fact, Ms. Leo’s having the role was a main reason I looked forward to watching the film (on Sunday night). However, as one of the reviewers cited by IMDb comments, Ms. Leo may have gone a little “over the top” in her scenes as the younger Murray, with her parents, which could explain why some of the dialogue there seemed “theatrical” to me (not in a complimentary sense). But that’s a minuscule complaint.
    If you aren’t subscribed to Netflix, the opportunity to see this film tonight is a good reason to subscribe today.

Copyright © 2017 by Moristotle

1 comment:

  1. I almost watched that the other night but Janie wanted to watch something else. I guess I need to go back to it.