8/10
A very interesting but jumbled production
25 February 2019
Warning: Spoilers
I'd never heard of James Randi before watching this documentary so I can't speak to its veracity. The only reason I gave this an 8 instead of 10 was I found the production a bit jumbled an confusing but perhaps it's simply because I knew nothing about the James Randi before. What I definitely found was an interesting story about an intelligent, articulate man who changed lanes when he realized that people were being hurt by real conmen like Peter Popoff, the so-called faith healer who blatantly abused people's faith for personal gain and profit. But one thing I took away is that we as humans have to be responsible for what we believe. One person said we will believe not what we want to but what we need to. I find a lot of truth in that concept. I am an atheist and baffled by the millions of people who believe in the bible (among other religious texts) what is to me a book of fairytales that, like all myths and fairytales, comes with potentially significant lessons. I am puzzled by reviewers objecting to the coverage of Randi and Jose's gay relationship (which I figured out pretty early on in this film) and I do not think he (Randi) was deceived by Jose. I think Jose revealed his story in private to a man he loved and trusted, a man whom in return, chose to support the choices made. The love and trust between them is so apparent, I think he knew of Jose's deception and supported it, if nothing else, because he realized the true danger Jose would have faced in Venezuela. Should Jose have taken a different route? Not for me to decide. What I saw was a 25+ yearslong love affair, no more no less. In this day and age, it's easy to forget that Randi grew up and lived through decades of homophobia and Jose fled a horrificly homophobic culture, truly a matter of life and death. Randi had a very public profile and I think it took incredible courage to come out at the age of 81. I was so relieved that Jose was not deported to Venezuela - in which case two lives would have been shattered, irreparably. I admire Randi for exposing liars and admire him more for making his own, probably most difficult personal truth public. I checked Wikipedia and am glad that Randi is still alive and wish the two of them many more happy years together. Bravo!
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