The Nature of Existence - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Nature of Existence Reviews

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½ December 30, 2013
Although i enjoyed this documentary, which deals with the world's religions, during the initial viewing, but as time went by I forgot it even exists. if not for my movie lists I'd never even remind myself of it. I feel this is a pretty good watch but unfortunately there isn't anything stronger here which would stick with you for a longer time.
October 9, 2013
I had to turn this film off before it's end. The director interviewed to many people of ignorance. Try "Three Magic Words" for a much more sensible spiritual documentary.
February 7, 2013
One of the few documentaries that address spirituality with minimal bias, that meaning there is a little bias present. This piece of film really gives one a good sense of the many ways of believing around the globe. I highly recommend this film to everyone that wishes to acquire a broader thought process on what faith is and what it means throughout different cultures.
January 10, 2013
This really just makes me think how silly humans are.
½ December 13, 2012
A good topic; however, I can't get past the first 10 minutes. It is a male focused & male dominated film. In the first 10 minutes two women speak in comparison to at least 15 men. Not sure why Roger Nygard choose to film male leaders exclusively. Perhaps he can make a film about male privilege, among other privileges, and how greater awareness of these privileges (i.e. is he assuming only men are spiritual great thinkers?) contributes to problems in our society.
November 8, 2012
Interesting movie. Interview about purpose of life from all over the world.
July 1, 2012
Serves as a nice collection of snippets, but never allows for enough development of the various ideas and systems it presents. It is essentially a mini-tour of the world with the underlying message being that people have different answers to the big questions.
May 20, 2012
A Little Deeper Than [i]Trekkies[/i]

One of the things which interested me about this was the reminder that, yes, every major religion has the embarrassing people. I cringed when there was the woman going on about how someone was having a Goddess circlet emergency so dire that only Fed-Ex could answer it, because I know that woman. (Not personally, but you know what I mean.) But then there were wrestlers and drag-racers for Jesus, the guy who believes that antagonizing people is the first step to converting them, because it gets them listening to you. (Hint--I tend to think it's the other way 'round, that you get people who used to agree with you to reconsider doing so.) I think that, if you interviewed enough people of a faith, you would find the embarrassing one no matter what faith that is. It's actually kind of a reassuring thought. It's one of the things which I think gives a certain solidarity to moderates, no matter how devout, of any religious faith.

Roger Nygard decided that he wanted the answers to a lot of questions, so he went off to ask them. To as many people as possible. Of all sorts of different beliefs, from Richard Dawkins to one of those crazies who preaches fundamentalist Christianity to mocking college students. (Who declares unironically that God is love, despite the hate-riddled dogma he preaches.) He mostly focuses on the religions which are major in the United States, then going to the countries where those religions have their origins. He doesn't go into much detail about much of any of them, spending a very few minutes each on a lot of people and a lot of issues. He travels to Rome, to India, to Oxford; he talks to scientists, ministers, and just sort of people, including his neighbour's seventh-grade daughter. (She's an atheist and kind of obnoxious about it.) The questions he asks are deep and serious, but the answers he receives aren't always.

This could have been a lot better. The film comes to no real conclusions, leaving you to wonder why he bothered making it at all. The movie started with Nygard's own doubts, but we don't ever really find out what he thought after his search. Did he agree with the seventh-grade girl who demanded of a mall Santa why African kids "get genocide for Christmas"? With the Jainists who wear masks to keep themselves from breathing in insects? The church in Texas determined to be a sanctuary for persecuted gays? The New Age people? Orson Scott Card, Mormon? Richard Dawkins, hard-core atheist? The radicals and moderates of a wide range of stances? And what does he think they have in common; what does he think is different about them? Is there a reason he asked Irvin Kirshner all those questions? I mean, Larry Niven and Julia Sweeney at least create art based on their own beliefs. Basically, this became a clip show of belief, drawing no conclusions and answering no questions, and given that he made it personal, it felt like a cheat.

Then again, if he [i]had[/i] answered those questions, would I like the movie better? After all, I've never much liked being preached to; it's one of the things I don't like about Richard Dawkins. If he let all those people talk just to throw out their opinions, I'm not sure I would have approved. I just needed something a little more coherent, I think, and this movie wasn't interested in coherency. I'm not sure what it was interested in, except maybe getting the widest possible range of people interviewed. The closest it got to judging anyone is a bit of snippiness at the thought that it would have cost him twenty thousand dollars to get a twenty-minute audience with the Pope. ("You know, for the orphans," apparently.) But hey, he says, the Vatican tour is free, and there are dead Popes on display, so that's something, right? I would have liked something more than what we got, though I'm not fussy about what, I'll admit. Just some reaction to what he sees.

Actually, when I was in college, we got a preacher who makes the annoying fundamentalist in this one (Jed Smock) look kindly and rational. Ours actually got busted by the campus police for harassment and may not have been allowed back since. If I remember the story correctly, it's because he was following some girl who was walking away, not one of the crowds gathering around to mock, yelling imprecations about her personal life because of how she was dressed. Turns out the cops weren't about to allow that one to happen. I suppose the mindset was that, if he could persuade one of [i]us[/i] to turn away from our liberal homosexual Satanic ways and follow Jesus, that was better than converting dozens of lesser targets. But he didn't convert anyone; the goal on campus was to figure out how many categories listed as Hellbound on his sign you fit into. And one of my friends checked a Bible out of the school library and read aloud from Song of Songs. Good times . . . .
April 5, 2012
Fast paced and funny, it explores most areas of opinion in the matter of existence and meaning of life from a Satanist to Taoist, Catholic to Mormon, Atheist to Confrontational Evangelical Christian. Director Roger Nygard merely points the camera, asks the questions, and lets its subjects do the talking. I love the balance it keeps in presenting all avenues of expression on the issues, although it also suffers for it by not taking a direction and meandering. Overall, good entertainment and food for thought !
March 11, 2012
Very interesting to see the different viewpoints of different topics from different people of religious background. Why are we here and what is out purpose? No evidence in god but its kind of fascinating to see why people believe is such things. Very fast paced documentary that keeps you interested for the whole 90minutes.
½ March 6, 2012
Had a few laughs and interesting points, but not very memorable.
January 26, 2012
A lot of good questions are asked - and predictably, there are a lot of different answers and no real conclusions.
August 6, 2011
A good film that asks the questions that we've all wondered for so long. The amount of different types of people that are interviewed is pretty special.
½ August 2, 2011
Lots Of Great Questions. Too Many To Focus On Answers Even: ???
July 13, 2011
Intriguing questions that have kept us awake for centuries...explored in a humorous way, inclusive of all views. Of course... only Richard Dawkins is right! ;-)
June 20, 2011
This was ammusing to watch. Lots of crazies out in the world.
½ May 11, 2011
the guy bailed on the interesting part and went for the easy laughs only talking about religion and religious people....
March 29, 2011
Explores all the different religions and philosophies about life and the nature of the universe; but doesn't give an answer or conclusion; leaves it mostly up to the viewer; which I see as a strength and a weakness. Nevertheless; makes for a very compelling experience. Very informative as well.
March 18, 2011
Something to watch if you truly want to make peace with the fact that not all believe as you do.
March 16, 2011
Spiritual, Religious? Christian, or Jew, I believe whether you are a firm believer, or have doubt, this film is one you DEFINITELY want to see. I had a conversation/debate w/ my cousin here on FB last night which provoked me to delve deeper into this very incendiary, yet complex topic which you need to watch w/ an open mind and you will have walked away w/ a more enlightened, fascinating look at what ordinary people, professors and others have to say about Why we are MOST CERTAINLY is a MUST SEE!!! <3
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