Search - The Father Damien Story - An Uncommon Kindness on DVD

The Father Damien Story - An Uncommon Kindness
The Father Damien Story - An Uncommon Kindness
Actor: Robin Williams
Genres: Documentary
NR     2006     1hr 0min

This program tells the story of Father Damien a priest whose modest beginnings gave way to eventual greatness. Narrated by Robin Williams AN UNCOMMON KINDNESS explores Damien's work with the sufferers of leprosy quarantine...  more »


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Movie Details

Actor: Robin Williams
Genres: Documentary
Sub-Genres: Biography
Studio: Allumination
Format: DVD - Color
DVD Release Date: 07/25/2006
Original Release Date: 01/01/2003
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/2003
Release Year: 2006
Run Time: 1hr 0min
Screens: Color
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 9
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

One of the most touching, heartfelt documentaries I've ever
Z. Freeman | Austin, TX | 01/20/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Having lived on the island of Molokai for several years and visited Kalaupapa a few times, this documentary was especially interesting to me. Several interviews are included, including some with Richard Marks, who is the actual tour guide of the Kalaupapa tour, which was very cool to see.

This documentary covers the life and experiences of Father Damien, a Belgian priest who lived and worked on Molokai for 16 years. He really is one of the finest examples of giving your life for the service of others. The history and the interviews show how Damien dedicated his life to making things better for the outcasts in the leper colony of Kalaupapa. He went to such lengths to work with them and give them the love and affection they needed, that he ended up contracting the illness himself.

An Uncommon Kindness also addresses the myths surrounding Damien that were spread by some in the church and by detractors of his practice. The filmmakers really did a thorough job of covering as much information as they could in an hour. Robin Williams does a fine job narrating the video. He provides the perfect amount of softness and storytelling into his narration.

All around this is a tremendous documentary, and if you're at all interested in the story of Father Damien, you should check it out.

"Worship God, Not Me." - Father Damien"
An 1800s Male Mother Theresa
Jeffery Mingo | Homewood, IL USA | 08/13/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)

"In the 1800s, a Belgian priest helped abandoned Polynesian lepers and died from the disease while assisting them. He did this work despite laypeople, Protestant clergy, and Catholic clergy that tried to sabotage his efforts.
I had the mistaken belief that the Hawaiian leper colony was a helpful thing where all Anglophone lepers could seek assistance. "The Simpsons" episode on the topic further clouded my view. This documentary shows that this is all lies and that thankfully a cure for the illness was found in the 1940s.
The documentary may remind one of AIDS activists, both living and deceased, especially those who had or have the virus themselves. Hearing of Father Damien also reminded me of my admiration for Father Desmond Tutu. In a time when the Catholic Church is receiving bad press due to abuse accusations, this film may remind many of valiant clergy members of the past.
This film lacked the cheesy reenactments of most modern documentaries. Instead, it showed the many paintings of the Father and his flock. Some may find it hard to hear Robin Williams play a part in a serious subject. I admit that this work made my eyes water and I think it is purposely meant to be a tearjerker.
The film begins with Belgians repatriating the Father's coffin to Europe. Before this, I had only known of Native Americans asking the American government for their deceased and South Africans asking the French government for the remain of Sarah Bartmann/the Hottentot Venus. In short, I've heard of people of color asking white leaders from remains. Here it happens the other way around. In the end, we learn that his remains are in both Belgium and Hawaii.
I only have two critiques of this work. First, I am worried that it may rely upon "great white hope" ideas, the same that work in movies about white teachers in mostly-minority schools. Yes, the Father deserves much praise. However, colonialism and imperialism is to blame for the spread of leprosy among these indigenous peoples. Native Hawaiians didn't want to abandon their sick relatives; white settlers demanded it. Damien was helpful, but it would be nice if we didn't have an oppressive and white-supremacist past that allowed a tragedy like this to happen. Secondly, all the academics interviewed were white. I imagine that in the Hawaiian Islands there are several scholars of color who could have said profound things about the Father and the epidemic. I would have liked to have heard their voices and seen their faces.
This documentary will be powerful for many: Catholics, indigenous people, progressives, public health advocates, history buffs, and many others. I am pleased to have learned about this important and selfless man."
Love and leprosy
Daniel B. Clendenin | | 01/24/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Narrated by Robin Williams, this 60-minute film tells the story of the Flemish priest Damien de Veuster, better known as Father Damien, who followed God's call to serve the leper colony on the Hawaiian island of Molokai. Beginning in 1866 the government segregated lepers to the barren island of Molokai where they were abandoned to hostile, isolated and horribly primitive conditions, with no housing or even potable water. In 1873, at the age of 33, Father Damien arrived to serve the 600 dispossessed people. Passionate, driven, and the object of baseless criticisms from Protestants, Father Damien provided for the material needs of the people (housing, food, medical care) as well as their spiritual needs. He even built their coffins and dug their graves. Sixteen years later, in 1889 he died there of leprosy. In 1995 Pope John Paul declared Father Damien "blessed" (beatified), which is the second of three stages to canonization as a saint."
An Exceptionally Interesting Missionary Account
Artist & Author | Near Mt. Baker, WA | 05/22/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I write this only a few weeks after a big uproar over the political support of a Presidential candidate by a well-known Protestant pastor who has referred to the Roman Catholic Church as "The Great Whore," an "apostate church," the "anti-Christ," and a "false cult system." Once my wife and I were coming out of a Christian book store chatting with another customer about one of the items in the store. We must have sounded somewhat righteous to her because she asked what church we attended. When we told her we were Catholics, she was so stunned she literally could not talk, and nearly fell over. It simply just couldn't register in her mind that any Catholic would find anything of interest in a 'Christian' book store.

This documentary should be required viewing for any Evangelical or Fundamentalist Protestant who thinks like that pastor or that book store customer. Could there be any better example of Christian love than Fr. Damien who, by his love of his Savior was so willing to love literally 'the least of these?' Didn't Christ Himself not say that there is no greater love than that of one who lays down his life for the sake of his Redeemer?

My wife and I thought this was an exceptionally well done documentary. We could hardly believe a hour has so quickly passed. Anyone who likes missionary stories will enjoy this program. After seeing this program, don't forget to get 'Molokai: The Story Of Father Damien' as well. That is a dramatization of his life. Both are exceptional accounts of a dedicated Christian missionary.

Other great missionary stories (most on DVD, some on VHS only, and a few I'm not sure of; most available through that you might enjoy are:

--At Play in the Fields of the Lord
--Beyond the Next Mountain
--Black Robe
--Count Zinzendorf: Prophet of the Heart
--David Livingstone - Journey to the Heart of Africa
--Eric Liddel, The Story of
--Father Kino Story, The
--Hudson Taylor (Christian missionary to China)
--I Heard the Owl Call My Name (1973)
--Inn of the Sixth Happiness
--Keys of the Kingdom
--Last Flight Out
--Life of Don Bosco (1939 - B&W)
--Lilies of the Field (1963 - B&W)
--Man from Aldersgate: John Wesley
--The Mission
--Mother Teresa
--A Nun at the Crossroads (1970)
--Other Side of Heaven
--Padre on Horseback (1977)
--Satan Never Sleeps
--Sheffey (19th Century circuit riding preacher)
--Eric Liddell - An Olympic Gold Medalist's Lifelong Race to Spread the Gospel
--Xavier Missionary & Saint"