I saw this film 20 years ago and it is still indelibly etched in my brain. But the reasons it still resonates for me today is that this is not just a film about "nuclear winter." This film creates for all of us comfortable middle class Americans a credible, empathetic scenario for what all of those in other countries must be going through as their lives and families are devastated by man's inhumanity to man. Is the pain that this White upper middle class mother feels any more tragic than the cries of a mother in Sudan or Iraq or anywhere where families are the victims? This film made their pain very real for me in my two-level apartment as I munch on snacks that after a full dinner with my computer and stereo blaring.
This is a film about despair and hopelessness. It is relentless and futile. The moment when Jane Alexander accidentally jars the answering machine while looking for batteries still causes stabbing pains in my heart. Unfortunately, it is a timeless story filled with universal emotions. Is there a value to being made to empathize with those whose children slowly die in their arms (whether from nuclear winter or hunger?). I feel that this movie changed me 20 years ago and I have since tried to do whatever I can in my modest ways.
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