Movie Mom

Movie Mom


Flash of Genius

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Middle School
MPAA Rating:Rated PG-13 for brief strong language
Profanity:Brief strong language
Nudity/Sex:Mild sexual references
Alcohol/Drugs:Drinking and smoking
Violence/Scariness:Reference to accidental injury, tense family confrontations
Diversity Issues:None
Movie Release Date:October 3, 2008
DVD Release Date:February 17, 2009

Americans do love our underdog stories and this one has the ingredients. There’s a David — an engineering professor named Robert Kearns (Greg Kinnear), who had a “flash of genius” and invented a gadget that all the geniuses in Detroit had been trying to figure out — an intermittent windshield-wiper to provide better clarity of vision when driving in the rain. Jackpot, right? No, there’s also a Goliath, and no giant is bigger and no overdog is overdoggier than the Detroit auto industry, circa 1960′s. And it really happened. Kearns sued Ford Motor Company for stealing his idea and pursued them for decades, representing himself in court. When they offered him millions of dollars but refused to give him credit for the invention, he turned them down. Integrity and pride, those are important elements of the underdog story, too.

Director Mark Abraham gives the film a gritty authenticity, evoking the era without overdoing it. And he gives the story its grittiness, too, showing us the price Kearns and his family pay for his dedication and stubbornness. Lauren Graham is a pleasure as Kearns’ wife. No one on screen today does a better job of portraying an intelligent, warm, sexiness. Kinnear shows us Kearns’ honesty, stubbornness, pride, and vulnerability. The courtroom scenes are exceptionally well done.

If there’s a fine line between genius and insanity, there’s an even finer one between genius and obsession. This film is a thoughtful, sympathetic, but clear-eyed portrayal of what Kearns gained but also what he lost.



  • Lola

    As a major Greg Kinnear and Lauren Graham fan, I am extremely excited to see this movie. It seems like it will have more substance and depth than the cliche underdog stories that have flooded the theaters. Do you think that Flash of Genius has any potential for winning awards? I hope so- I’ve been waiting for Graham to get recognition since her Gilmore Girls days.

  • Nell Minow

    Thanks, Lola! I think this is a quiet performance that will be under the awards radar — awards tend to go to over the top portrayals of the disabled or criminals or people who at least get to completely lose it on screen. But I am also a Gilmore fan, I agree with you that Graham is one of the best, and I hope some day she gets a starring role that will let her show all that she can do.

  • Gary

    You have an error of fact in your review. Dr. Kearns sued Ford Motor Company not General Motors.
    I place a great deal of trust in your reviews. An error of this nature brings into question how closely you watched the original movie. Ford Motor Company was mentioned frequently in the course of the movie and was a major subject of the movie, General Motors was mentioned hardly at all, if ever. To allow an error like this to continue unacknowledged might bring into question whether you, or the website that sponsors you, are pursuing a bias.
    Please, check the facts your reviews more closely prior to publishing them. If there is an error that makes it through the editing process, the review should be later amended to acknowledge the error.

  • http://blog.beliefnet.com/moviemom/ Nell Minow

    Thank you, Gary! I am so grateful to you and will correct the mistake immediately. I am lucky to have readers who point out my errors and have a standing offer of a copy of my book to anyone who finds ten. So you only have nine to go! Many thanks again and best wishes.
    The real-life Kearns sued all of the auto companies, including Chrysler, GM, and Mercedes. But the film focuses on his successful suit against Ford.

Previous Posts

What's Up With My Family? -- App Helps Middle Schoolers Navigate Life
Middle School Confidential™ 3: What’s Up with My Family? is a new IOS app, the next installment of the series for tweens and teens. The third edition continues the story of Jack, Jen, Chris, Abby, Mateo, and Michelle—a tight-knit group of friends in middle school—who are realizing that growi

posted 3:59:49pm Aug. 20, 2014 | read full post »

The Simpsons Binge Watch: Every Episode Plus the Movie
Get your food delivery menus ready.  Unplug your phone.  All 552 Simpsons episodes will be broadcast in order, starting tomorrow. [youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qq4w74r8HKY#t=27[/youtube] The new season starts September 28.

posted 3:59:35pm Aug. 20, 2014 | read full post »

Interview: Bo Svenson
Bo Svenson is an actor, writer, director, judo champion, and, as I was lucky enough to find out, an enthralling guy to talk to, turning an interview into a wide-ranging conversation. Svenson was

posted 3:59:35pm Aug. 19, 2014 | read full post »

Tribute: Don Pardo
Don Pardo's face was not familiar.  But his voice was instantly recognizable.  We mourn the loss of one of the great announcers in broadcast history, who died on Monday at age 96. The cast of "Saturday Night Live," where he served as announcer from the beginning, celebrated his 90th birthday.

posted 12:44:03pm Aug. 19, 2014 | read full post »

Interview: Gayle Forman of "If I Stay"
Gayle Forman is the author of If I Stay, the source for this week's movie starring Chloë Grace Moretz as Mia, a talented young cellist in a coma following a car accident.  As she hovers between life and death, she remembers incidents from her life with her family and with her rock musician boyfrie

posted 8:00:16am Aug. 19, 2014 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.