End of the World Flicks

Ive recently put a bunch of nuclear holocaust DVD’s on my Netflix queue. Last night I got the first one, a movie from the 80’s called Testament. It was much, much better than I thought it would be. It was centered on a family in a remote town north of Santa Rosa in California. Dad died in the SF blast, and mother was left to care for the three children. Recognizable faces included Lucas Haas in his first feature, Rebecca DeMornay and Kevin Kostner (both in supporting roles) and a few others. No setting in the movie was subjected to direct attack, so the risk to the characters was radiation.

The motif of the movie was the effect nuclear war has on our children, and I gotta tell you, the producers knocked one outta the park with this one. It was stirring without being overly graphic, and no part of the real loss to the family was left undepicted. I think the scene that is going to stick with me forever is the one where the 13 year old daughter is having a private conversation with her mother about her father. She asks her mother if she remembers the time she “walked in on them,” and then asks her mother what sex is like. Her mother gives a very motherly answer that is simultaneously evasive and full of information. As I watched the scene I told myself that she is asking that question because she is going to die before she gets to experience it for herself. A few scenes later her mother is sewing the daughter’s feet up in a winding sheet made of a bed-sheet.

I have always been moved by good Armageddon fiction, and some of my favorite books and movies deal with the destruction of massive numbers of population. I recently reviewed Morrow’s So This is the Way the World Ends, on my book review thread. This is the rare movie that in my opinion matches a good book in quality. If you can handle it, this movie is very much worth the effort.

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