America's Heart and Soul (2004)
Directed by filmmaker Louis Schwartzberg, America's Heart and Soul traverses across thousands of miles of American soil in an effort to showcase not just the beauty of the land, but the very soul of the United States -- its people. Exploring groups from American Indians to generation-spanning farming families, Schwartzberg endeavors to capture the stories of an extremely diverse population in hopes of displaying their common American dreams and values. Billed as a celebration of the country as told by its people, the documentary also includes the stories of several steel workers, car-show attendees, religious figures, and over 20 other unique individuals. … More
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Critic Reviews for America's Heart and Soul
Forget reality television. This is reality and it's all about people who don't need a head shot to validate their existence.
... a whirlwind tour of the nation through the romantic, colorful, gravity-defying cinematography of director Louis Schwartzberg.
Even if [Schwartzberg's] choices feel somewhat clichéd, there's no doubting the spirit of his subjects, who seem genuinely proud to share their thoughts and feelings for a few, too brief moments.
For an episodic film, America's Heart and Soul is fast-paced and often downright exciting.
In this film even homeless people have something positive to say about the country.
Less evocative and honest in all its 88 minutes than, say, just one of the throwaway establishing shots of Angela Arenivar's dusty Texas-panhandle hometown in last year's Spellbound, a true American movie with a lot more heart and soul.
A place where nobody watches TV, criminals are rehabilitated, and everyone's life has meaning
We watch movies every day that celebrate violence, sex, and crude humor. Now, here's the chance to watch a movie that powerfully presents something worth celebrating: us.
Singing a few rounds of 'The Star-Spangled Banner' is much more stirring, and doesn't take nearly as long.
A clip package of interesting snapshots of landscapes and people whirled by fast enough to look like something meaningful, but essentially no more interesting that a neighbor's vacation video.
If you need a break from all the chatter about Iraq and Michael Moore's latest film, give America's Heart and Soul a try.
After a while America's Heart & Soul turns into an offensive parade of smiling poor people.
Even though, at times, Schwartzberg's documentary exalts the American way of life with the mythical reverence of a Leni Riefenstahl, the experience is undeniably stirring.
Harbors some indelibly arresting images and characters whose stories, even at their most superficial, manage to be authentically inspiring.
Though America's Heart & Soul doesn't break new ground, its apolitical tone and diverse cast may be a tonic for those tired of our country's divisive climate.
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