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Movie Review: "Illusion"

by Stephen Simon


Wouldn’t it be wonderful if......????

What if I could go back and change just one thing....???

Those questions have been asked in some classic spiritual films over the years, including most obvious IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE, in which George Bailey (played by the legendary Jimmy Stewart) thought the people in his life would have been better off if he had never been born. It took an angel-in-training named Clarence to show him the truth of his life, and what a powerfully positive impact he was on all those around him.

In writer/director/star Michael Goorjian’s brilliant film ILLUSION, another great movie star, Kirk Douglas, gets a chance to look at the akashic records of his own life, and begins a powerful odyssey of redemption.

In ILLUSION, Kirk plays Donald Baines, a bedridden, successful film director who is in the final stages of his life; A life that has been full of financial and career triumphs, but not personal happiness. Surrounded by nurses, he is, dying alone, isolated from family and friends, regretting his personal sacrifices.

Drifting off to sleep, he is suddenly aware of a presence in his room. Someone he recognizes, but can’t quite place. Almost instantaneously, the scene shifts to a movie theater where Donald’s bed lies in the middle of a sea of seats. His “Clarence” turns out to be Stan, a former editor that had served Donald well in films before, however, an editor who has been deceased for quite some time. Stan lovingly explains to Donald that our lives are all stored on what might be viewed as “soul on film,” the akashic records of our lives. Stan shows Donald a reel from his own life, which focuses on the son Donald secretly had early in his career. Donald had never embraced or even acknowledged that he had a son, and the life that he sees on screen reflects just that; A young man who had been rejected by his father.

ILLUSION then unfolds as Donald becomes more and more concerned about the life of his son, and where it is inexorably leading. Can he intercede? Can he change the story of his life?

Kirk Douglas is an international treasure, not just for his 70 year body of film work, but also for his courage and character as a man. Several years ago, Kirk suffered a debilitating stroke and it seemed impossible, except to him, that he would ever be able to act again. His powerful will to live and again ply his craft as an actor led him into intense rehabilitation and, in ILLUSION, we see him give a powerful, proud, vulnerable, humorous, and, above all, courageous and career-defining performance. (On a personal note, I was privileged to have known Kirk when I was a child growing up, and it is gratifying beyond words for me to see his personal and professional triumph in ILLUSION.)

Michael Goorjian plays Kirk’s son in the film and also wrote the screenplay and directed the film. Michael is a brilliant young actor and more than holds his own in a film with Kirk Douglas, no small feat for any actor. Even more importantly, Michael’s direction of both Kirk and himself is sensitive, perceptive, dramatic, and completely assured. The result is a powerful, beautiful, and engrossing spiritual film.

Movies like ILLUSION don’t come around very often anymore.

It is destined to be a classic film in Spiritual Cinema.

Members of The Spiritual Cinema Circle will receive ILLUSION as part of the May 2007 DVD collection. For a limited time, new subscribers to The Circle can receive a free trial membership (for a nominal shipping fee) by visiting: www.spiritualcinemacircle.com/free or by calling: (800) 556-0129.

ILLUSION will be available in stores nationwide on May 29, 2007 or through GAIAM (www.gaiam.com) for $14.98.

Stephen Simon is a veteran producer/director whose distinguished career also includes the presidency of two major production companies and the development and production of a myriad well-known films such as: “Smokey and the Bandit,” “Somewhere in Time,” the Academy Award winning “What Dreams May Come,” and the Emmy-nominated Lifetime movie “Homeless to Harvard: The Liz Murray Story.” He is the author of two books: The Force is With You: Mystical Movie Messages that Inspire Our Lives and Spiritual Cinema: A Guide to Movies That Inspire, Heal and Empower Your Life. Simon is also co-founder of The Spiritual Cinema Circle and served as producer/director of the film adaptation of Neale Donald Walsch’s bestselling book, “Conversations with God.”

Coming Soon...Living Luminaries (on The Serious Business of Happiness) Living Luminaries is an inspirational new film featuring insights on obtaining true “happiness” from some of today’s most prolific spiritual luminaries, best-selling authors and contemporary thinkers including; Marianne Williamson, Eckhart Tolle, don Miguel Ruiz, Michael Bernard Beckwith, Rev. Robert A. Schuller, Venerable Tibetan Lama Chodak Gyatso Nupka, Rabbi Nachum Shiffren and civil rights advocate Geronimo Ji Jaga (formerly Pratt). To locate a screening near you please visit: www.spiritualcinemanetwork.com


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