These movies have themes or elements more or less related in some way to the Assembly experience - deception, hypocrisy, tyranny, abuse, spunk, goodness....but good movies in general help people who have been in tightly controlled aberrant groups get re-acculturated. It's been said that "movies are incredibly important in America. That's how people acquire information about the world. Movies create this web that texts traditionally created." Movies also provide the metaphors of our culture. Sites such as filmsite.org have extensive lists of great movies. Readers' recommendations for movies that touched the Assembly nerve are solicited.
1984 Control within utopia
16 Blocks Doing the right thing in spite of the system. Marcia M. of Ottawa sums it up: "Bad cop Jack Mosley chooses to do the right thing, even to the extent of risking his own life, and expose the whole system that he has been party to for most of his career.
Amazing Grace How to find purpose in life--know your own natural gifts, listen to your friends, ask God.
Animal Farm Tyrannical control develops in utopia
The Apostle Delusional preacher. Great psychological parallels with our own apostle.
At Play in the Fields of the Lord "Sincere people create unwitting mischief so that evil people can have their way" - Roger Ebert
Babette's Feast Generosity and joie de vivre break down dour austerity
Blast from the Past A guy born in a bomb shelter in his parents back yard in the days of cold war paranoia, comes out into the real world after 35 years. Heads up, AK's.
Catch Me If You Can Charismatic con artist, based on true story
The Chair (Frank Piretti video) Biblical insights presented in a one-man stage show
Chocolat More to life than self-denial
Cinderella Man The true story of a boxer who was a genuinely good man in the grim days of the Great Depression.
The Da Vinci Code A central character agonizes as he is directed to do evil deeds by a high-ranking spiritual authority. Good Christian analysis of this film at The Truth About Da Vinci.com. The Silas character in this movie is a graphic illustration of the double bind in which Assembly leaders were entrapped. The acknowledged spiritual authority gave explicit orders or/and indirect expectations to treat people or issues in an unscriptural way. The consciences of some leaders became seared and desensitized, while others bore a hidden cilice in their souls for their actions and words.
Dead Poets Society Carpe diem! And the tragic result if your life is controlled by someone else.
The Devil Wears Prada Murphy's Movie Reviews says, " If you have ever held an office job, you probably have encountered the "boss from hell" and Meryl Streep manages to make the character both amusing, scary and touching (sometimes simultaneously). She alone makes the film worth seeing." Not a great movie, but as the reviewer says, the character of Miranda Priestly (!) is worth seeing for former cult members. Read more comments here appropos cult leaders.
Elmer Gantry Con-man preacher
Enough Heroine has had enough abuse and fights back
Everybody Loves Raymond TV series - Assembly-like family dynamics of favoritism and rejection
The Firm Corruption at the heart of the system
Fireproof Saving a marriage
Fried Green Tomatoes Housewife finds meaning in life through meeting and helping an elderly woman. Relevance to Assembly wives in breaking out of limitations. Yes!!
Groundhog Day Finding meaning in a life of endless repetition. The results are the opposite of what happened in the Assembly.
The Island Fleeing the controlled utopian system
Join Us 2007 independent documentary follows four families in real time as they leave their South Carolina Bible-based abusive church and are counseled by Dr. Paul Martin at Wellspring. Film Baby has a good synopsis. Here is a statement by Ondi Timoner on how she became interested in making films about mind control. She is also interviewed on YouTube about her film-making:
John Fischer commented on "Join Us" in a Los Angeles Times article.
The Man Who Would Be King Two guys con people into treating them as kings
The Manchurian Candidate The mother, played by Meryl Streep in the 2004 version, is a case study in malignant narcissism.
Million Dollar Baby Controversial, but look for the love, and who has it - it's not the church leader
The Mission Deeds of greed and acts of conscience
Ordinary People Evil masked as normalcy and how it affects another person. The closing scene is creepily similar to GG.
The Prisoner BBC Television series, 1967. The struggle to maintain individuality in a controlled society
Snow Falling on Cedars Complex, moving film. One theme is doing the right thing when it is very hard, and suffering for it.
Star Trek: The Borg Tremendous pressure to assimilate into the collective, lasting effects in the mind afterwards
The Stepford Wives A town full of too-perfect wives--how did they get that way?? BB comments: "Amazing similarities!" "The assembly annihilated our personalities, for sure! You didn't last if you were keen on keeping your personality...My husband and I woke up after we left realizing that is especially how most wives were" - Kimberly T. Critics seem mostly prefer the 1975 version to the 2004.
The Tale of Two Cities Noble and evil characters in opposition
The Village Control
The Wave A high school teacher demonstrates how easily a group can be induced to conformity and cruelty. Based on the real experience of a high school class in Palo Alto, CA, in 1969. Very relevant! Watch it here, or purchase at The Wave - Alexander Grasshoff - 1981.