Flash of Genius

MPAA Rating: PG-13

Entertainment: +4

Content: -1/2

Greg Kinnear, Lauren Graham, Dermot Mulroney, Alan Alda. Drama. Written by Philip Railsback. Directed by Marc Abraham.

FILM SYNOPSIS: Based on the true story of college professor and part-time inventor Robert Kearns (Greg Kinnear) long battle with the U.S. automobile industry, Flash of Genius tells the tale of one man whose fight to receive recognition for his ingenuity would come at a heavy price. But this determined engineer refused to be silenced, and he took on the corporate titans in a battle that nobody thought he could win.

The Kearns were a typical 1960s Detroit family, trying to live their version of the American Dream. Local university professor Bob married teacher Phyllis (Lauren Graham) and, by their mid-thirties, had six kids who brought them a hectic but satisfying Midwestern existence. When Bob invents a device that would eventually be used by every car in the world, the Kearns think they have struck gold. But their aspirations are dashed after the auto giants who embraced Bobs creation unceremoniously shunned the man who invented it.

PREVIEW REVIEW: Right up front, let me state this is the best film of the year. Admittedly, its only September and the studios have yet to release movies aimed at bringing in Oscar gold. I therefore may have to amend my quote to one of the best films of the year. But heres why Im so enthusiastic over this production, other than the award-worthy performance by its star, the breathless visual and dramatic flow, and the writers lifelike portrayal of a family: its a movie about something. The film concerns ethics.

Now, Im sure, as with most Hollywood biography treatments, we are getting a subjective view of the lead character, but I found the film to be a parable about doing the right thing, no matter the cost. If youll recall, there are a couple of those stories in the Bible. Remember those guys tossed into the furnace for not worshiping other gods? Thats the one I thought of right off. Writer Philip Railsback and director Marc Abraham go beyond telling a story. They are testing us. You can not leave the theater without asking yourself, Would I take the bribe? Would I take the millions offered for my silence? How much is my good name worth?

Its kind of a difficult film to view. Heres this happily married man with six adoring kids and a satisfying occupation brought to near destruction by his obsession with justice. He has been wronged, vilified and dismissed by a corrupted corporation. The stress brings on illness, paranoia, separation from family and some time in a rest home. I know, that doesnt sound like a fun Friday night at the moves. Okay, dont go. Dont let your intellect or moral guidepost be tested. Im sure another superhero vs. CGI effects will also be opening that day.

Preview Reviewer: Phil Boatwright

The following categories contain objective listings of film content which contribute to the subjective numeric Content ratings posted to the left and on the Home page.

Crude Language: None

Obscene Language: Four or five uses of the s-word and one f-bomb; several minor expletives.

Profanity: Eight or so profane uses of Gods and Jesus name; a couple by the lead.

Violence: None, though there is an aura of danger when it seems the lead is being threatened

Sex: None

Nudity: None

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: None

Drugs: Some social drinking; a couple of characters smoke

Other: The leads family prays and is seen going to church, but when their world begins to crumble we are not given any examples of them turning to God. This plus the lead profaning Gods name were letdowns to this reviewer. But the film is still a powerful parable.

Running Time: 119 minutes
Intended Audience: Older teens and adults

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