...engaging and discerning culture, as a way of life...

October 29, 2006

Thank You for Smoking - 7

If you are avoiding this film because it is about smoking, then you are out of luck. Not one person lights up a cigarette in the whole picture. While the film's main character is a lobbyist for the Tobacco companies, the central idea of the film is sophistry. The film is a story of spin; how to say things in a way that is persuasive by putting your point in the best light, while helping the other person think that they are wrong. Nick Naylor (Aaron Eckhart) is the PR man for a research institute funded by Tobacco attempting to claim that smoking is not hazardous and should be the past time of everyone(hey its just good for business). William H. Macy is great as an incompetent Senator, and Rob Lowe nails the part as a Hollywood studio bigwig. This film is full of satire and hyperbole as it pursues this line of thought. In counter-point to this, is Naylor's responsibility for his son, who is living with his mother and step father. He is trying to teach his son about the spin that is put on all of life, and how uncritical most people are in trying to figure out the truth. The key point is that you can't make people want to choose for themselves, they have to come to it themselves. This film does a good job of showing the hilarity and often backwardness of our culture to truly engage in conversation that matters. Rather we spin and counter-spin our opinions which can make us numb to the info glut that bombards us. The value of this film is that you can't help but start thinking, and critical conversations are bound to ensue.

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