It’s the film Religulous WANTED to be. For one thing, while it was occasionally funny, Maher’s film had an agenda. Maher thinks religion is bad. Period. And his comments throughout the film get more and more heavy-handed to reflect this. Roger, on the other hand, goes out around the country – and eventually around the world – in a quest to understand faith and religion… because he GENUINELY wants to understand. Like most of us, Roger has a few basic questions: Why are we here? Is there a God? What’s the meaning of our lives? So he seeks out people of every faith (and some who don’t believe as well) for their ideas and opinions. His list of interviewees includes priests, preachers, shaman, rabbis, clerics, wise men, holy men, medicine men, gurus, academics, scientists, philosophers, writers, directors, waitresses… you name it. The list of names is extraordinary (you’ll recognize very many of them), but you’ll be just as surprised and engaged by those you don’t recognize.
In the film, just about everyone Roger wanted to interview was willing to talk with him except the Pope… who is more than happy to speak with you for the nominal “donation” of $20,000. (Roger told me after the screening that the only other person who decided not to speak with him – at the very last minute – was physicist Stephen Hawking, apparently because he was “tired of the God question.”) There are truly thoughtful ideas, insights and discussion here, along with plenty of good-natured humor – some really great laughs. The journey is charming and highly entertaining – even hopeful. Roger has a wonderful way of seeking out and finding some of the most interesting people you could imagine, and letting them be themselves on camera, without pre-judging them for his audience. You get the sense that he really likes or at least appreciates everyone he met (even if he didn’t end up agreeing with them) and you will. There are truly thoughtful ideas, insights and discussion, along with plenty of good-natured humor – some really great laughs. The journey is charming and highly entertaining – even hopeful. Roger has a wonderful way of seeking out and finding some of the most interesting people you could imagine… too.
Be sure to check out the film’s official website, where you can watch the trailer and deleted scenes, find a list of upcoming screenings and more. I really enjoyed The Nature of Existence. I highly recommend it.
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