11 January 2019 | Front-Row-Reviews
CHEER! - (8 stars out of 10)
The stage curtains open ...
Jane Fonda has lived a life seeking validation. As a daughter, as a mother, as a woman ... as a person. She grew up unhappy with herself, her body, her looks - she sat in the back of acting class hoping she wouldn't have to be up front and center. Losing her mother at a young age, and losing her father on an emotional level. But when Lee Strasberg told her she had talent, real talent, she received her first real validation. This was a major turning point for her and set her on a life path for more.
There has been a lot of controversy surrounding the photo of her sitting/smiling on the NVA anti-aircraft gun. So many have asked, how could she possibly not have noticed what she was sitting on (her stating that she had been "fooled" into being placed there)? The obvious answer is that she knew. She was bright, intelligent, outspoken, observant. She was an activist. There is no way she didn't know what was happening at that moment. Do I feel it was a betrayal? No. And I'll tell you why. Whether she realizes it or not to this day, she was seeking validation ... as a voice and a moral choice. She was trying to end the war showing the senselessness behind the bombings, the POW situation, and the frightening possibility of the dikes being destroyed which would lead to thousands of deaths. I am one who believes she wasn't against her own country. She was against the war. So when she sat down on that gun that day, her voice was being validated by those immediately around her, and she was desperately hoping for the same reaction from her own countrymen, to look at the overall picture and make a sound moral choice. It drastically backfired. I'm not defending her actions, I am just trying my best to understand them. She has apologized numerous times on numerous occasions. It's her biggest regret. Funny, considering that she stated in the documentary that her regrets were not from things that she had done, but rather from things she had not done. Except in this case.
The documentary showcases her three marriages, the reasons for their divorces all three times - all three VERY different relationships. Again, her seeking validation in very different ways.
Finally, she reached a point where validation was no longer important. Acceptance was. Not being accepted by others around her, but being ABLE to accept things as they are. Finding and being happy with herself, and then moving forward. Her son expressed in the film that he would not change her in any way. She is who she is, and now that she knows who she is, she is doing her best to helps others who have lost their way, such as the adoption of Lulu. She was able to reconcile things with her mother, visiting her grave site over 60 years after the fact.
I really wasn't interested in what she accomplished on the silver screen. Her awards speak for themselves, her acting abilities are clearly seen. She is very good in front of the camera. It is what was behind the camera that I watch these documentaries for, and as such, this one delivers. I enjoyed hearing her own thoughts reminiscent of days gone by, her life's journey and the life yet ahead for her. This was presented through her eyes and mouth, an auto-documentary if you will. I felt it was honest, fair and unbiased - and would recommend it without hesitation.