Saturday, March 29, 2014

The Passion of Ayn Rand - Movie Review

Recommended by a friend a long time ago, I was wondering what this passion of Ayn Rand was and it could be made into a movie. I did not read too much of Ayn Rand and often wonder how my life would have been if I had read her books when I was young. Perhaps it was all for the better. And maybe the time has come now. I catch myself staring at Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged each time I walk into a bookstore these days. I do admire her the courage and clarity she brought in her thoughts and do remember reading a play, January 16th or something like that.

Once again, the film is adapted from a book (get this producers), this one by one of the major players in the story, Barbara Branden. The story starts with a young and impressionable couple meeting Ayn Rand at her home in California, how she is taken in by young Nathaniel whom she considers her intellectual heir. Nathaniel and Barbara, his fiancee marry, and that's about when Ayn Rand discovers she is in love with Nathaniel. She moves to New York to be close to him and then what does the lady do? She calls her husband and Nathaniel's wife and proposes that she and Nathaniel have an affair in the interests of god knows what but that their lives otherwise would go on as normal. Would they give permission? Though they hate the idea, the two spouses realise that its better to agree. A stormy affair between the two, the ending of her 'Atlas Shrugged', Nathaniel's dalliances with another woman and the subsequent breakdown of his relationship with both Ayn and Barbara constitute the rest of the story.

Interesting to hear how the lady named herself (after the typewriter). Interesting to see her ideas on the affair and how she deals with it. Interesting to see the reactions of Ayn Rand's husband O'Connor (great performance by Peter Fonda who shrinks by the day) and Barbara. But what was the idea really? That Ayn Rand wrote her greatest work because of the affair? Or that she had certain ideas about life and principles which did not really hold? Anyway, her life. Nathaniel comes across like a weak man but that's what Ayn Rand does to all those in the room, dominate them totally. So he had no chance anyway. Helen Mirren is wonderful as Ayn Rand and Julie Delpy fits Barbara's role perfectly.


Hmmm said...

Had read Ayn Rand's three novels as a teenager, and this movie was probably the beginning of an eye opener for me to come out of the Rand's hypnotic influence on my so called thinking. Yet now looking back, even I wonder what this movie was all about, except that Nathaniel's wife had written the book on which this film is based. On film based on books, there used to be this separate channel called Hallmark, which aired movies that were ONLY based on books...such is the influence of books in the Western films. But for good or worse, at least Hindi producers dont seem to mind Chetan Bhagat these days. Good to read about the film :)

Harimohan said...

Nice to see you back Hmmm. Nothing like the story to hold the movie together. I did not know that Hallmark was only based on movies made from books. Interesting.