31 March 2010 | jvmu1999
An insult to the Amish Community and the families affected by this tragedy
I've never written a review before, but I feel compelled to with this movie. I live in Central PA, I've spent most of my life here, and I work in the media. I remember this tragedy very, very well. I didn't want to watch this movie, but I was visiting a house where it was on. The Amish way of life was very poorly portrayed, it's almost as though the filmmakers did no research. From the little things, Amish don't have curtains on their windows or decorative plates in their homes, to larger issues, no Amish person spoke on camera to the media, they had a spokesperson. They tried to make Ida more like a modern, non-Amish woman in her personality in order to make it easier for those of us outside the Amish lifestyle to understand her better. I know this is a Lifetime movie, but did they have to make her seem like a battered woman seeking help from an outside source to escape. Really?? I remember no mention of a sister being shunned, I can guarantee the media would have been all over her as someone who could go on camera, so I really believe that was a fictional element added to the story to add more conflict. The Amish community pulled together and wanted to handle this tragedy on their own, with no outside help. They never turned to the media, only sending statements through a spokesperson when the media wouldn't leave them alone. The group of grandfathers who went to Roberts' house never spoke to the media, nor would they! They asked people to stop sending money, but millions of dollars came in. Some was accepted to help build a ramp into the home of the one girl who was left in a vegetative state. The only help they asked for and accepted were rides to the hospitals (they were all too far away to take the horse and buggy) and the use of construction vehicles to tear down the original school in the early hours of the morning. There was no reporter who struck up a relationship like that with one of the mothers. The local media has a lot of respect for the Amish and their beliefs. While they were there to get the story, they kept their distance. They didn't do things like shoot Ida's husband straight on and follow him while saying "Do you think that's a father?" The Amish don't allow photos of themselves to be taken and as such, the local media knows how to shoot them (ie from behind or from a distance) in order to allow them some space. For those of you who think this was a correct portrayal of the Amish, just remember it was very skewed to make a more compelling movie, however, with this story nothing needed to be added or changed to tell a heartbreaking story. The authors of the book that the movie was based on publicly distanced themselves from this movie and donated all the money they were given to charity, not even they wanted anything to do with this. Unless you lost a child in a horrific way, none of us can truly understand what these families went through. But the Amish community is very different from those of us outside the community. Different in their beliefs and their lifestyles. By trying to make Ida more like us so that we understand what she's going through was an insult to what all these families went through and how they dealt with it. It's a good thing the Amish don't have televisions so they were spared any image from this movie. Oh, and not only was it poorly researched, but the writing and acting was terrible!