7 July 2004 | rsoonsa
COMPETENT HANDS WORKING TOGETHER TO CREATE A SATISFYING FILM.
The setting opens in September, 1984, during the devastating famine that ravaged Ethiopia, leading to nearly a million deaths from starvation due to a drought that extended over one and one half years, evaporating springs and destroying crops along with grazing land for herds in a nation also burdened with a savage civil war between a Marxist government and communist rebels. Into these circumstances arrives an idealistic young doctor from Philadelphia (Ally Sheedy) who believes that she can make a difference to the residents of a small village organized as a haven for refugees ministered to by a Roman Catholic priest (Zia Mohyeddin) and nun (Judith Ivey in a nicely done turn) who are attempting to supply food and hope to local inhabitants, albeit with fading success. This didactic feature shot in Kenya is co-produced by male principal Ted Danson, and with Paulist Father Elwood Kieser serving as executive producer for his Paulist Pictures, in collaboration with ABC for television release and, as might be anticipated, religious and humanitarian issues are to the fore, yet the acting, cinematography, well-crafted script by Michael DeGuzman, and direction of Robert M.Young are all very fine indeed, with a romantic affair between the doctor and a free-lance journalist (Danson) not scratchy in the least, but instead tastefully and realistically portrayed; in all respects, an effective and worthwhile production.