I don’t normally tout or slam films—they’re fine, but I’m not a big movie person and it takes something special to get my attention. Finding Nemo did, if you recall, and there are a few big-people movies that stand out in a crowd, but by and large I feel concern for our society and the amount of attention and time we give to something unreal. And movies are, for the most part, unreal. They’re a means of escaping the real. (Television is the true enemy—but that’s a post for another day.)
Then, there are movies that don’t fit the mold. Some biographies, historically accurate movies, movies that do not come to exist for the same reasons that pop culture creates films. One such example is The Unforeseen.
I’ve been waiting to rent The Unforeseen for about 2 years—at least it feels as if that’s how long it’s been on my “wait” list in Netflix.* I saw it previewed on PBS way back when, and my curiosity was piqued. It was presented as a pretty fair-minded, multi-sided documentary about suburban sprawl.
And it succeeds, in my opinion anyway. It’s very good. It made me think about the issue from different angles; it forced me to consider all the factors that go into building most modern-day housing developments. It provided the basics in understanding how these projects are funded, and who benefits the most, and which beneficiaries take on the greatest risks. It gave a face, a voice, to all the different players in that drama. It will break your heart a little, and make you angry a little. It’s poetic like a Cormac McCarthy book, and it tells a story that almost anyone living in America today has been affected by.
Would it cause you to change your mind about buying a home in a “sprawl” development? If your mind is made up and you love the house, then I doubt it. But if you’re just considering it, or if there’s another of these housing plans in the works near you, I can see where it might light a fire under your bum.
So, when you get a chance, I’d recommend you see it. But ladies, be prepared: Robert Redford (who helped produce it) makes an appearance, and you may be shocked to see how time has worn him down. There remains very little evidence of the Sundance Kid.
* Didn’t want you to think that I was contradicting myself—we have the bare-bones Netflix package, which permits 2 movies per month, not at the same time…and we sometimes remember to watch that many.