Escape with a family's getaway
Lausten Austin | Austin, TX United States | 02/07/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Reel Paradise features a family of four intelligent, talented, articulate people from America-parents John and Janet Pierson, daughter Georgia, and son Wyatt, who go to Fiji to reopen an abandoned movie theatre.
The effect they have on the culture of the island and the effect the island has on them produces a story that grabbed this viewer from the outset and held me to the end. Frankly, when I see two adults who are willing to tackle a project so far out in left field like this and then two children who are so witty and able to adapt to new surroundings in such a hurry, I have greater respect for my fellow human beings.
Director Steve James gives an unsparing view of the stresses and strains - and the triumphs -- of being in this situation. And the Piersons are to be commended to letting the lens peer into their homelife. Frankly, I think that they shine through the whole process. And as for Wyatt and Georgia, if I had kids, I could only hope that they would be so bright.
This film intrigues the viewer on several levels:
--Seeing the reaction of the Fiji natives to the films.
--Observing the adaptive capabilities of the Piersons.
--All the subplots like the Catholic Church's negative reaction to the Piersons giving the natives free admittance to the films and Wyatt's taking over the announcing one night, not to mention the landlord scene.
If you want to spend a couple of hours immersed in another culture, Reel Paradise is a great way to do just that."
Extraordinary film & extra
Marcy Garriott | Austin, TX | 12/29/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Loved it; it's at once compelling, complex, and authentic.
I highly recommend the "commentary" audio also -- Steve James and doc subject Janet Pierson intertwine comments in a way that reveals the subjectivity inherent (but not always obvious) in any documentary film. Steve's discussion of the subtleties of story-telling craft and Janet's nuanced comments on perception transcend the specifics of the film to shed light on documentary in general."
An American Family Experiences Life in Fiji
Jane | Florida | 04/05/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I was totally entertained by this film about an American family who leave their comfortable life in New York to spend a year in Taveuni, one of the Fiji islands. The impetus was Dad's need for a little time off from his career in independent films. Dad, John Pierson, known as the independent film "guru," purchases an old movie theater and shows free movies to the natives of Taveuni.
I enjoyed learning about daily life on the island and seeing the natives' reactions to the movies; but most interesting was watching the personable and articulate Piersons experience life in a world so exotically different from their own. Janet, John, Georgia, and Wyatt are shown as four distinct individuals, and we get intimate views of their interactions with one another as well as with their Taveuni friends and neighbors. Actually, I wasn't surprised to find how good "Reel Paradise" is. It was directed by Steve James who made the equally absorbing basketball documentary "Hoop Dreams.""