Sunday, September 12, 2010

Jonestown: The Life and Death of Peoples Temple. 3.5 stars.




Matt just reminded me that we'd wanted to review this documentary that we saw a couple of months ago. I love Netflix, and have been adding every movie that I've ever wanted to see, and documentaries on every topic I'm interested in. I've always known that something happened in Waco, Texas, but never knew what, with my Amish upbringing. So we watched a documentary on that (informative, and shocking, but nothing special), and after that, it suggested that I watch this. After reading a brief description, I moved it to near the top of our queue. It was really, really interesting. It's so crazy how it all happened. During the beginning, you're like "Wow, you're right, Peoples Temple sounds great, Jim Jones is pretty cool, I'd join that." Then you hear some of the random stuff like how he taught that everyone was homosexual except him, and you're like "Oh, huh, well he's still doing all of this other great stuff, so we'll forgive that one weird thing." Then there's the self-sufficient communities that are so neat, and the great programs for all the elderly, and how charismatic and nice he is, and how much good his program was doing for so many people. Well, then they go make a nice little community in the jungle, and he turns out to be this freaky whack job who's a total control freak mind washing nutcase freak job. Matt and I both thought it was neat that there were really no "Expert witness" testaments for the film; it was mainly victims, and family members of victims, and maybe one or two other people who'd been involved in some way who were respected professionals. It wasn't researchers, or expert historians, or novelists, or anything like that. Anyways, it was so interesting to see how nothing like this happens really suddenly (unless you're the Manson family, he he), but people get indoctrinated into something bit by bit, and then something like this happens, and you can look back and see that there were a lot of warning signs, but the people were still mostly happy and cared for. The details are getting a little fuzzy, but please take out of this that this was not a mass suicide (for the most part), but a mass murder. They gave the cianide laced Kool-Aid to the children while people were still panicking, and because the children were dying, the mothers didn't want to live without them. Soo... if you're in the mood for something really depressing, but pretty fascinating and well done, watch this.

4 comments:

Haley said...

Sounds crazy. From his picture it looks like a documentary about a really bad Elvis impersonator.

Emily said...

Sounds interesting- and depressing. I know nothing about this except that People's Temple rings bells. I should probably see this.

Matt said...

"and he turns out to be this freaky whack job who's a total control freak mind washing nutcase freak job."

Emily said...

I was TOTALLY going to comment about the use of "freak" three times in one sentence and "freak job" twice. B- you're my hero.