America’s Heart And Soul

| July 9, 2004

A visually stunning film, America’s Heart and Soul is a documentary that travels back and forth across the country, telling the stories of American citizens. That premise, however, becomes both the strongest and weakest element of the film.
Initially the roaming aspect of America’s Heart and Soul is intriguing. We are introduced to a dairy farmer from Vermont, aspiring musicians from Boston, an Olympic boxer from Chicago… the list goes on and on. That’s the point, though. The documentary doesn’t stay with any one story for more than five minutes. You get pulled in by a particular character and then without so much as a good-bye, they’re gone forever.
Not only that, but apparently the only Americans worth documenting are the ones that are black or white. This is where the film does a huge disservice to millions of Americans. What about those of Asian descent, Hispanic descent or countless other backgrounds? Where are their stories?
In all, the film does a better job of showing the varied landscape of this country rather than the varied histories of the people who live within it. Watch it for the beautiful scenery and interesting stories but don’t expect to see a fair representation of what it means to be an American.

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