Friday, May 12, 2006

# Posted 12:55 AM by Ariel David Adesnik  

ANOTHER PREACHY, POLITICALLY CORRECT FILM: Except this one, I really, really liked. It was The People vs. Larry Flynt. Of course, it was easier to like Flynt than it was to like Crash, because I agree with its message: Free speech should always be protected, now matter how bad its taste.

Even so, there is a pretty good case to be made for Flynt's merits as a film. Above all, there is the acting. Ed Norton turns in a great peformance as Flynt's timid, eager and brilliant lawyer. Both Woody Harrelson, as Flynt, and Courtney Love, as his wife, make you believe that they care passionately about one another, even in the midst of great suffering (although admittedly, both are prone to a bit of overacting).

Flynt's life story is also compelling. He's a poor kid from rural Kentucky turned smut magnate turned filthy speech crusader. And he took his case against Jerry Falwell to the Supreme Court and won it, 9-0.

Is the film fair to Falwell? Not exactly. In the climactic scene before the High Court, Norton gets to make an extended argument on Flynt's behalf, but we never hear from the lawyers on the other side. But the film tries pretty hard not to take cheap shots at Falwell. He comes off as a stuffed shirt, but one who was deeply offended by Flynt's cruel satire.

Although this isn't a good movie to rent for a first date, I strongly recommend seeing it.
(3) opinions -- Add your opinion

You didn't agree with Crash's message then??

Well, and calling Flynt's life story "compelling leaves out, say, the sexual relations with frozen poultry, the reported molestation of his own child, Flynt's personal existence as a cretinous subhuman, etc. Rah, rah, free speech, but, God, let's try to use some of the actually inspiring cases.
You shouldn't mix up reality and the film.
The film was done by Foreman as a way to celebrate freedom of speech. So the character Flynt was a hero, to send the message that even disgusting or obscene speech has a place in a free country.
In real life, Flynt was a child molester and a slimeball...and I dislike his magazine for it's meanspiritedness, not it's porn.
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