Paul Goodman Changed My Life (2011)
Paul Goodman's 1960 best-seller, Growing Up Absurd, became a cornerstone of countercultural thinking, alongside books like The Medium Is The Message, The Autobiography of Malcolm X, and The Feminine Mystique. Goodman was a polymath: a poet, essayist, playwright, and psychotherapist. He was candid about his bisexuality while maintaining a marriage and raising two children. Jonathan Lee weaves together old and new footage of those who extol Goodman's virtues, as well as his adamant detractors (often one and the same), including Grace Paley, Ned Rorem, Deborah Meier, William F. Buckley, Susan Sontag, and Judith Malina. An abrasive and contradictory figure, Goodman's influence was nonetheless immense. Today, much of what passes as common knowledge in the fields of education, politics, psychology, urban planning, civil rights, and sexual politics was first posited by him nearly half a century ago. -- (C) Zeitgeist Films … More
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Critic Reviews for Paul Goodman Changed My Life
Paul Goodman Changed My Life, a new documentary by Jonathan Lee, captures Goodman's ubiquitousness, as well as the fashionable intellectual bohemianism of the period...
In this heady documentary, TV footage of left-wing social critic Paul Goodman being interviewed by conservative host William F. Buckley Jr. in 1966 makes one realize how low public discourse in America has sunk since then.
As documentaries go, it's an able introduction that doesn't make its subject nearly as relevant to our current discontents as it could.
"Paul Goodman Changed My Life" is a documentary about a man who changed mine.
But more remarkable than the accolades of his admirers is the (sometimes grudging) respect shown by his opponents and antagonists.
What makes him such an interesting biographic sketch for a film, however, is the way Goodman undercut his own successes.
Lee aims to revive Goodman's legacy, using archival footage and thoughtful interviews with surviving friends and relations to create a portrait of a man who was quite literally too complicated for his times.
Paul Goodman Changed My Life offers memories of the poet and essayist, novelist and philosopher, practicing lay psychiatrist and a founder of Gestalt Therapy. As interviewees recall, he took these roles seriously.
Intensely watchable and informative documentary about visionary New York intellectual Paul Goodman.
Perhaps it's a tribute to the breadth of Goodman's life that even after 90 minutes, it feels as if we've just scratched the surface.
Lee's well-thought-out documentary combines vintage and new interviews with the activist's fans, relatives and lovers.
It has a passionate, almost prophetic sense of the impact that a writer and thinker can have on his times and the future.
Jonathan Lee's talking-head interviewees successfully bear the burden of making the iconoclast's dogged and prickly personality nearly tangible.
I sometimes feel like I like the idea of Paul Goodman more than the reality of most of his writing, but it is this cheering idea of him as utopian sexual and societal prophet that Lee's film brings back most seductively.
Audience Reviews for Paul Goodman Changed My Life
Goodman is a social commentator that I wasn't particularly knowledgeable about. He certainly played second fiddle to the Beat Generation and then later by Chomsky. I feel grateful for this film as a result. Goodman is certainly an intriguing guy and the film makers give him his adequate due.More
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