14 July 2003 | Sardony
I saw this once 20 years ago; I've never forgotten it.
It's been TWENTY YEARS (!) since I've seen this movie in a theatre, and I've never yet forgotten it. If any movie can be said to be life-changing, this is it. TESTAMENT was first shown in theatres, and the film's power became front page headlines for quite some time. People were crying in theatres, and article after article told of how this extremely powerful film affected people. This was not hype; the emotional strength of this movie is genuinely powerful.
For myself, I held back as best I could from crying in the theatre (me being a 23 year old guy seeing it with two (married) friends). But the effect on me was apparently visible immediately: when I walked out of the theatre and passed thru the line of people waiting for the next showing, a woman, who was laughing with her friends, happened to look at me and her face went completely serious. I very nearly hugged her right there, this stranger. When I got home, I cried for about two hours. The film's themes affected my, at the time, concerns about love, relationships, and such like.
One scene I'll never EVER forget, the most devastating: the 13-ish year old daughter asks her mother, "What's it like?" MOTHER: "What's what like?" DAUGHTER: "Making love." The mother (Jane Alexander -- my God, what a performance!) tells her in a very frank and beautiful speech, and the daughter caps off that scene with a devastating remark that just kills you and got my tears flowing (I probably couldn't hold back at that point).
Before making TESTAMENT, director Lynne Littman had made only documentaries, so maybe that "realism" style added to the power and believability of this movie. One of my all time favorite supporting actors is in this film, and he does a fantastic job: Mako. He and the young retarded (Down Syndrome?) boy who plays his son make a phenomenal team. They're my favorite characters: so full of innocence, father so full of love, strength and pain. Agh... my god my god... what a movie. Whew.