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Enlighten Up! is a funny, warmhearted documentary that's uneven in spots, but thought-provoking nonetheless.
All Critics (39)
| Top Critics (15)
| Fresh (22)
| Rotten (17)
| DVD (1)
Director Kate Churchill ends up with a non-story in her feature Enlighten Up! when her subject fails to experience the changes she had been expecting.
What's Rosen's dating life got to do with yoga? Nothing really, beyond a director's last-ditch attempt to show dramatic tension in her film before it peters out into inconclusiveness.
Enlighten Up! is a low-key, charming trip.
While Enlighten Up! is entertaining and provocative regardless, it's too bad that Churchill was so focused on whether Rosen was having his preconceptions shattered that she never stopped to consider her own.
This is a peaceful kind of film, not terribly eventful, but I suppose we wouldn't want a yoga thriller. Relax. Let it happen. Or not.
As a movie, Enlighten Up! doesn't really go anywhere.
Weirdly, it's the documentarian who seems to unravel throughout.
Give director Churchill credit for including her own obstinacy in the movie
In the end, both the believer and the skeptic end up less sure of their beliefs than they were when they started. Which must be at least a small step towards true enlightenment, right?
While Enlighten Up! is ultimately just a surface look at yoga, it's still interesting, if not exactly enlightening, to watch the true believer and the jaded New York journo clash their way down the road to, one hopes, some sort of spiritual resolution.
When she inserts herself into the action, she reveals only her own insecurity. It ends up being very enlightening, but probably not in the way Churchill intends.
There's a lot of talk about the downward-facing dog in Enlighten Up, a yoga documentary I'm giving the downward-facing thumb.
Filmmaker Kate Churchill has been making documentaries for nine years and practicing yoga for seven years. For her latest film "Enlighten Up!", she has combined the two in deciding to show a novice being transformed spiritually by yoga which also helps the body.(For Diamond Dallas Page, it is all about the body.) Her guinea pig, Nick Rosen, is a 29-year old journalist who is at a crossroads in his life, having just quit his job.(It might help if he gave up smoking, too.) It is good that an enthusiast like Kate Churchill has made this film since she has a lot of respect for all the different interpretations(My personal favorite is the giggling guru since laughter is the best medicine) that all collide in an inward focus, blotting out the outside world, allowing the practitioner to fully contemplate her soul. That's especially important in New York City, which I just read is the most stressful city, where their journey starts with a single step and continuing, as they collect a lot of frequent flyer miles, to meet with many a guru. In the end, "Enlighten Up!" is an illuminating documentary, maybe just not in the way originally intended.
It was really neat looking at yoga practices in India; clearly the North American practices are more familiar, but also did not affect Nick. Filmmaker Kate was kind of a bitch, and not talented enough to make up for it.
I generally like fictional movies with really good production values. I'm finding that I appreciate some documentaries with very low budgets and elements that I recognize are not perfect. All of the audio and camera work and narrative not being perfect only adds to the candidness of the project and increases the power of the message in certain ways. With the director picking Nick Rosen as the subject of her Yoga movie, I think she chose a very good face and mind for the film. Choosing a young skeptical reporter from New York was a perfect choice for having the movie speak to people like me. I do not practice yoga or know much about it. Through Nick and the director Kate the movie is informative, candid, enlightening, and at times amusing. There are many little jewels of wisdom to pick up from the various yoga instructors that Nick visits. And it is not a film that ends up suggesting that Yoga has some magical power and is the right thing for everyone to practice. The narrative climaxes with an inspiring question session between Nick and a Yogi with a yellowish orange turban. Does something like Yoga change you? Well it can. Even for someone like Nick it has an affect when he's surrounded by it for such a compact amount of time. He is changed for the better. But it is not by Yoga that everyone will find their true selves or happiness. This movie is for people who have Yoga experience and just as much for those who don't!
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