If this summer’s movie season has seemed a bit dull after the parade of liberal propaganda we enjoyed in 2004, not to worry. Hollywood is gearing up to release a slew of fall films specializing in half-truths and no-truths tailor-made to have audiences (or at least critics) wringing their hands in Anglo guilt till Oscar comes home to roost.
First up: The Constant Gardener, a piece of agitprop so thinly disguised as a love story only the most pseudo of intellectuals could take it seriously. The plot revolves around Justin, a trembly, teary British diplomat who falls in love with the much-younger anti-war demonstrator Tessa after she disrupts a speech he’s giving in defense of British involvement in Iraq. So charming is her tirade, Justin can’t help but marry her and carry her off to Africa with him. But instead of settling into marriage and motherhood, Tessa continues to make her husband’s life difficult by insulting dignitaries and prying into conspiracies wherein big pharmaceutical conglomerates push lethal drugs on hapless African test subjects. Naturally, the drug companies, with the British government’s blessing, have no choice but to hire contract killers to take Tessa out (this is not a spoiler—the film moves backwards from Tessa’s death). As Justin sifts through the clues Tessa left behind, he realizes he’s been a company dupe and vows to see her work through to its completion. But he can’t do it alone, and once those homicidal pill pushers start gunning for him, the only people Justin can turn to for help are workers for the U.N. and Amnesty International.
The Constant Gardener’s moralizing is so heavy-handed it negates its own stunning cinematography and a truly inspired performance by Rachel Weisz. If a religious film had characters uttering lines as unbearably didactic as they do here, it would be rightly excoriated. As it is, since it’s evangelizing the masses in liberalism, the film has critics from Variety, The New York Times and hundreds of other left-leaning publications falling over themselves to throw roses at its feet.
Megan Basham is the author of Beside Every Successful Man: A Woman's Guide To Having It All
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