You don't have to know anything about Ayn Rand to go see this movie. It's a documentary and one of the main purposes of a documentary is to inform and explain. I myself had never heard of her, this late woman who was a writer, philosopher and political activist throughout her life. You don't have to know who she was, because you can learn a little bit more about her by seeing this well-produced documentary.
Recommend this product?
Born in Russia at the turn of the 20th Century, Ayn Rand lived through the revolution as a teenager and went to university under a communist regime. She always knew her ideas were different and that she always wanted to write, but she had to find herself, and rely on her own personal strength to survive and eventually leave Russia for America.
Once in America, she was free to explore her many ideas through the powers of the written word. She wrote novels that became best sellers, and she wrote screenplays that were made into Hollywood pictures.
Her ideas were controversial, and sometimes dismissed by some, but her beliefs flowed through her strong, dynamic main characters of her writings.
I found it interesting to see and find parallels between her work and the more recent work by screenwriter / producer Michael Piller of "Star Trek: The Next Generation," "Deep Space 9," and "Voyager." In fact, one of the characters Piller created for "Deep Space 9" shared the same name and many of similar characteristics to Ayn Rand's character named Kira (I should note that the movie doesn't propose the Star Trek / Ayn Rand parallels - I am proposing them. Ultimately, I'm going to have to seek out her work on my own to draw a more definite conclusion about this).
The film flows well, and keeps you interested, mostly because Ayn did not lead a boring life - she was such a public figure and their is a lot of real life footage available that has been used to represent her story. From old Black & White footage to in-living-color Donahue, it makes the film a fascinating journey.
Some critics have said that this documentary distrots some of Ayn Rand's beliefs, and some of the events that occurred in her life-time. They are basically saying that the film is biased. And it very well maybe, I can't judge as I haven't read her work, however, it does do what any good documentary should do -- and that is to get people to ask their own questions, to get people to search for their own answers. I think that is something Ayn Rand herself would want and the movie "Ayn Rand" does that well.
(Originally reviewed on November 28, 1998)
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